Our friend Isabella Althoff knows a thing or two about having fun, and especially doing it in style. She’s a name to know in the local fashion scene, and isn’t stopping there. After she jumped at the chance to spend her summer in Montreal, we asked Isabella to share her experience with us. Click through to see why she calls Montreal so incredible.
What brought you to Montreal?
IA: I ended up here because I was offered an amazing opportunity to work at Aldo’s head office in Montreal this summer at a Visual Presentation intern; working in Creative Development, Visual Merchandising and Communications. Packing began almost immediately.
I had been working at an Aldo store in Richmond as a Sales Associate and Key Holder for almost five years, ever since it became my first job. I have always loved the energy of when I come into work and what the company stands for: Love, Integrity and Respect. I’ve learned a lot working there and have discovered a lot about myself.
When I moved to Montreal, the only French I knew was “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you” and “can I please have a cup of coffee.” That didn’t help much, but luckily I have the best roommates to help me get settled. I’ve been in Montreal now for almost two months, and have completely fallen in love with this city. It’s the perfect blend of Brooklyn and Paris. The perfect playground.
My new game plan: moving to Montreal the day after I graduate. Even if I have to bring more suitcases than I can carry.
What do you love most?
IA: Constant positive energy
Everyone is friendly and welcoming
Everyone just wants to party
Art embedded in the city
No worries on time
LARPERS (Live Action Role Playing – ers)
Almost everyone is a foodie (and takes pictures of their food… )
Amazing street art every corner
People do whatever they want. It’s awesome
Can you describe the city in just five words?
IA: Inviting, vibrant, optimistic, creative, free
What are the best places to eat in Montreal?
IA: For Breakfast or a coffee break, Pikolo. Their freshly-ground-on-the-spot coffee is amazing, and so are their chocolate croissants. This is the perfect spot for a quick snack or long work day. At their one year anniversary, they had a fun DJ, free raspberry cake and half off coffee.
For lunch, Fou’DIci. The grocery store is good to pick up some snacks/lunch and and eat in the park.
For dinner, Jardin Nelson. The atmosphere here is amazing. Pretty outdoor terrace, live jazz band, huge inverted umbrellas that light up at night and plenty of flowers. The melon sangria and cranberry nachos are the bomb.
For dinner, Taverne Gaspar. This comfort food spot overlooks the Saint-Lawrence river in Old Port. Good music, good food, and Edison lightbulbs.
For dessert: Juliette & Chocolat. This place is the shit. Chocolate from all over the world in all forms: milkshakes, crepes, sundaes, a sweeth tooth’s heaven. My kind of heaven.
For a drink: La Distillerie. This low key Montreal pub serves delicious mixed drinks in mason jars. They only let enough people in to fill their seats, so it’s perfect to just hang out with friends and listen to good music. The Fred Caillou is my favorite.
IA: For paper goods: Papeterie nota Bene- This stationary shop has everything you could dream of, perfectly organized in the store. They carry fine paper, pens, office supplies, and travel notebooks, and journals in every color from countries across the world. Some brands they carry include Whitelines, Moleskine, Lamy, Rhodia and Canteo. The owner is super nice and uses the upstairs of the store as an art gallery to support local artists’ work.
For vintage: Eva B- This is the craziest but funnest thrift experience I’ve experienced to date. Right when you walk in, you’re offered tea and chips, and bras are hanging from the ceiling. Three floors are pure madness, and treasure.
Rokokonut- Walking in, it feels like you just jumped into Blue Hawaii with Elvis. Vintage finds from the 60s and 70s and right next door is its sister store, Kitsch “n” Swell, which carries comic books, furniture, and knick knack goodies. I mean, how could you not like a place called Rokokonut?
For local boutiques: Michel Brisson- Stunning menswear boutique designed by Montreal architects Saucier & Perrotte. I don’t care that it’s menswear, I want to wear all of it. They carry Acne, Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, Theory, Pierre Hardy and I could go on and on.
OLDgOLD Boutique / Heritage- Heritage is the sister boutique of OLDgOLD, and carries a mix of brands and vintage pieces. I really like their quirky jewelry and leather bags. I want to buy everything there.
Rooney- Cool menswear boutique carrying brands such as Monitaly, Naked & Famous, Moscot and Gitman Vintage. I love their store layout and how it reminds me of home. Richmond, VA.
Lola & Emily- Cute little boutique carrying brands such as Filippa K, Free People, Ca Va de Soi and Essential. Their store display was precious and the girls working there were really sweet.
As an added bonus, Isabella shared her summer playlist. These are the songs that will always remind her of her time spent in Montreal:
Fineshrine – Purity Ring
The World Is Ours – Catcall
Break My Heart – La Sera
Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) – The Vaccines
Dolly – Fruit Bats
Time’s All Gone Pt. 1 – Nick Waterhouse
Runaround Sue (feat. Greg Banks) – G-Eazy
Shuffle – Bombay Bicycle Club
Close to Me – Teams vs. Star Slinger
Phone Sex (feat. Grimes) – Blood Diamonds
Friend [Lover] – Evenings
Si tu vois ma mère – Sidney Joseph Bechet