Chain of clothing stores, famous for its quality and excessive use of the colour black in most of its designs.
Club Monaco opened its first store in Toronto in 1985 and expanded into one of Canada's premier clothing store chains. The original principal owners of the stores included the fashion designer Alfred Sung and there was a time where you could find plenty of Sung branded wares at a Club Monaco store. In fact, many of the first generation designs were labelled "Club Monaco - Alfred Sung".
Unfortunately, Sung fell on some hard times and sold out his share of the chain (in recent interviews, he says he got screwed on the deal by the other partners). Club Monaco continued with its expansion and in 1990, they opened their first store outside of Canada in Beverly Hills. They've since opened several other stores across the world, including Hong Kong.
In 2000, the chain was bought by Ralph Lauren and that's when the store started its downhill slide. Whereas the chain was once famous for its quality for a good price, the buyout by Ralph Lauren turned it into somewhat of a high-end store with prices hiked up for many of its goods. Due to sliding sales, there has been a huge turnover recently in the management of the company but the chain still stands as one of the top stores in Canada.
What will you find at Club Monaco?
Well, the running joke is that you'll always find Chinatown there as the store counts the young Chinese clients as a major slice of its customer base.
However, if it's clothing that you're looking for and not yellow fever, you will find mostly casual wear that doesn't sacrifice class for comfort. We're talking t-shirts, sweaters, jeans, khakis, shirts, blouses, skirts, and dresses. Club Monaco is a lot like Benetton and more like its Sisley subsidiary but with more design choices.
But, like I said earlier, they are also famous for its overuse of black. It's like a store for beatniks and goths at times but it's also had better days with more colours, albeit of a subdued nature.
Finally, they've always got great music at their stores. I always hear stuff like Massive Attack, Morcheeba, Portishead, Kid Koala, Coldcut, etc.