Smythe Comes to Calgary With an Elegant Minimalist Boutique

The brand’s first foray into Western Canada is a sleek and modern backdrop for the clothier.


When Toronto designers and friends Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe launched their ready-to-wear brand Smythe 20 years ago, they had one goal in mind: to create the perfect women’s blazer. The brand opened its new bricks-and-mortar storefront in Calgary at the end of February, a welcoming minimalist space that marks Smythe’s first foray into Western Canada.

Creating the boutique’s interior was a collaboration between Lenczner, Smythe, and Calgary-based designer Nam Dang Mitchell—a trio that “clicked right away,” according to Mitchell. “We are all attracted to clean, chic design that is classically rooted. They wanted their new store in Calgary to reflect their brand but also have its own character.”




The new boutique in Calgary’s CF Chinook Centre is Smythe’s second in Canada, following the opening of a Summerhill Toronto location designed by Tommy Smythe and Ashley Botten two years ago. Rather than create a visually identical space, Mitchell took the essence of the original shop, gleaned through a visit to Toronto, and added her own style to it. “We wanted to bring the same elegant minimalism they had established there to the new store,” she explains. “They also wanted to keep the palette neutral so that the colours of their changing collections would really stand out each season. Other than that, they really encouraged me to be creative within the brand identity. We wanted the stores to be sisters, not twins.”




The neutral and sophisticated interior, which is just under 1,500 square feet, combines warm limewashed walls with grey flooring and wood accents. An oval counter draws the eye with maroon tiling, and a step down holds a curving biophilic black-and-white lamp by famed Italian architect and designer Gae Aulenti. The lamp, Mitchell says, is “the heart of the space and just captures that classic 1970s chic. Smythe is all about celebrating women, so it seemed right to highlight such an iconic female architect.”



A modern seating area in the centre of the store features a rounded white bouclé sofa with foldable wooden ends, a black-and-white marble side table, and a low-slung leather seat. Along the perimeter, black clothing racks are suspended from the ceiling or protrude from dark-wood bases, and curved wall edges make the space feel bespoke. A sleek entry table welcomes customers with a large vase of blooming branches.



To preserve the feeling of an intimate boutique in a large mall setting, Mitchell created a cash desk that functions as an island with rounded edges to encourage gathering around it and a seating area meant to feel like a living room. Rather than the typical all-glass façades displaying styled mannequins of most mall stores, Mitchell chose a picture window, offering a homey peek into the serene setting within.





Smythe, Lenczner, and Mitchell first teamed up in September for the February store opening, which the interior designer says at first caused “mild panic” due to the rapid turnaround, but things went smoothly thanks to an aesthetic alignment from the start and a seven-week build by Pink Construction Management and Marquis Project Management. The resulting Smythe boutique offers a peaceful and elegant backdrop to the timeless and functional pieces the brand has become known and loved for over the past 20 years. “Calgary was an obvious choice when locating our second store,” Smythe and Lenczner say in a statement. “We wanted to give her the most beautiful Smythe experience, a place to explore and appreciate the brand first-hand.”