The Room opened in 1937 in the Robert Simpson Company department store at the corner of Queen and Yonge Streets. The St. Regis Room—as The Room was originally known—offered Canadians, for the first time, directional high fashion based on haute couture produced by the best Paris designers, including Jean Patou, Maggy Rouff, Elsa Schiaparelli and Mainbocher. In keeping with the custom of a Parisian atelier, the St. Regis Room hosted twice-daily “Fashion Reviews,” where society doyennes and important women would gather to acquire their lavish wardrobes.
Simpsons had then been acquired by Hudson’s Bay Company, and by 1991, The Bay occupied its flagship location at Queen and Yonge, where The Room continues to thrive. Bonnie Brooks, president of The Bay, appointed Nicholas Mellamphy as The Room’s creative director in 2009. Like Steele, Mellamphy has supported the rise of young Canadian and international designers—including Prabal Gurung, Christopher Kane, Jeremy Laing, Erdem Moralioglu, Thomas Tait and Jason Wu—buying their collections before they became international names.
Brooks also commissioned the interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg to conceive a new, sleek minimalist retail space for The Room. Stretching to over 22,000 square feet, it is a vast expanse, but it has an intimacy that conjures both the atmospheres of a luxury boutique and a gallery.
Fittingly, The Room hosts events on site that novelly celebrate fashion popular culture. God Save the Queen, a two-day event in October 2010, honoured the special relationship The Room has long enjoyed with British fashion designers, displaying multimedia installations of the leading London talents who attended, including Erdem Moralioglu, Mark Fast, Mary Katrantzou, Giles Deacon, Jonathan Saunders, Charlotte Olympia Dellal, Nicholas Kirkwood and Marios Schwab. In April 2011, When Tommy Met Anna exhibited 81 original images that Style.com’s street fashion photographer Tommy Ton captured of Italian fashion legend Anna Dello Russo.
In fall 2011, The Room opened in the Granville Bay Store Vancouver. Next year, The Room will open in Montreal. Its reputation no longer restricted to Canada, The Room is now a globally known luxury name.