Five years ago, Chantelle Harley quit her nine-to-five HR gig in Edmonton to study fashion design at the Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver. She spent a few years working on her own bridal line before deciding she’d rather own a boutique. “This way I have the best of both worlds,” she says. “I can showcase other Canadian designers, and still put out a collection on my own schedule.” She found her dream building—an abandoned 1915 heritage property that used to be the city’s Telephone Exchange—last March (it was in the midst of a drastic restoration process), and took possession in July. She spent months building out the industrial space to her more homey tastes (“I wanted it to be bridal–meets–Restoration Hardware,” she says), and officially opened the doors to The White Gallery at the end of October.
Her vision was a sophisticated, grown-up space in which Edmonton brides can browse styles they likely won’t have seen elsewhere. “I ultimately look for uniqueness and pieces that aren’t overly traditional,” she says. She exclusively stocks Canadian designers, since she realized at school that the country has no shortage of bridal talent. While looks range from modern to boho, her favourite designer in the shop right now is Christopher Paunil, whose high-fashion gowns are only carried at her boutique and at Kleinfeld in Toronto. Overall, shoppers can expect to drop anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000 in private appointments—but can trust they’ll be exposed to the freshest north-of-the-border bridal looks out there (ahem, like Paunil’s ever-so-chic Dulce gown).
12021 102 Ave., Unit 202, 780-288-6637, thewhitegallery.ca