Category Archives: Exhibits & Events

Christian Louboutin: Designer, Artist, Magician.

The extraordinary Christian Louboutin exhibition at the Design Exchange continues for another two and a half weeks, winding up on September 15.

This career-spanning celebration showcases twenty years of the French shoe designer’s theatrical, fantasy-forging creations, from Cinderella-worthy filigree stilettos, to heeled and tasselled leather boots, to a wealth of footwear for men (no less coloured, textured or studded, but with fewer 9-inch heels in evidence…).

“Fetish”, a darkly sensual side gallery of limited-edition, almost unwearable (and certainly unwalkable) shoes featured alongside their erotic photographic counterparts, was created in collaboration with filmmaker David Lynch.

For a less sadomasochistic experience, you can watch Dita Von Teese perform a cheeky burlesque every 30 minutes in the exhibition’s main gallery – a nod to the influence of showgirls and music halls on Louboutin’s work. Okay, so she’s just a hologram – courtesy of technological illusion makers Musion – but if you blur your eyes just a touch, it’s really quite convincing.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Christian Louboutin has designed a range of exclusive memorabilia, available for purchase at Swipe DX for the duration of the show. Items include a luxuriously soft, cashmere-and-modal scarf, a gold-brass keyring and necklace featuring iconic shoe and purse charms, a selection of glam notebooks and note cards, Louboutin tattoos, and his Little Red Guide to Toronto (complete with fold-out map).

Also available for purchase is the impressive monograph Christian Louboutin. Published by Rizzoli, this 304-page volume boasts gold-edged pages, elaborate fold-out binding and a stiletto-wearing pop-up. With interviews, behind-the-scenes photographs and a full catalogue of Louboutin’s work, it offers a comprehensive overview of the designer’s life, artistic and personal journey, and the intriguing history of his signature red-soled shoes.

Christian Louboutin by Christian Louboutin (with photographs by Philippe Garcia and David Lynch): $160
Christian Louboutin Tattoo Sheet: $9.95
Christian Louboutin’s Little Red Guide to Toronto: $22.50
Christian Louboutin Kaleidoscope Notebook: $44.95
Christian Louboutin Loubi Print Notebook (with sticky notes): $44.95
Christian Louboutin Kraft Notebook: $54.95
Christian Louboutin Note Cards (set of 8): $59.95
Christian Louboutin 20th Anniversary Keychain (with shoe charms): $174.95
Christian Louboutin Sweet Charity Necklace (with purse charm): $284.95
Christian Louboutin Scarf: $274.95

The Big Sale. It's Big, and It's a Sale.

Well, it’s finally starting to feel like spring, and we all know what that means:


No? Okay then, let’s try:


That’s right. In honour of the season and its renewing, motivating forces, we’ve decided to comb through our collection at the 401 Richmond store and reduce prices on a selection of products, books and magazines for pretty much all of the next month. It’s the inaugural Big Sale, and it’s aptly named, unlike our former annual Sidewalk Sale (which we were never actually allowed to have on the sidewalk).

Big Sale offerings include Bodoni’s mammoth Manual of Typography from Taschen;
$5 back issues of magazines and annuals such as Communication Arts, Archive and Print; a mixture of classic and contemporary products from Nava, Arzberg, Umbra, imm Living and Rosti; information-loaded digital weather-station clocks designed by Philippe Starck; past issues of the architecturally uplifting 2G Magazine (which has – rather sadly – just gone digital with the newest issue, so grab those printed copies while you can); and some elegant one-off pieces of silverware (because really, who says you need a table setting of four?).

We’ll be discounting these items, and more, right through to Sunday, May 26, when we’ll be open for the final day of Doors Open Toronto. (Another excellent reason to visit the 401 Richmond building, and Swipe in particular.)


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit Swipe at 401 Richmond Street West, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or email us at

If You're Happy and You Know It, Come to Swipe!

Update: Our pop-up, Swipe DX, (at 234 Bay Street) has closed as of January 6, 2014.

The other Swipe. Yes, you heard (read) right. Other.

It’s funny how often we’re asked if we have another location. “Don’t you have a store down on…?” Or, “I’m sure you have a place up in…?” “Nope,” we’ve always replied. “You must be thinking of someone else.”

Well, as of right now we’re (temporarily) changing our tune, and returning to our old stomping ground, with the opening of Swipe DX | Books + Objects, our brand-spanking-new pop-up boutique at the Design Exchange: Canada’s Design Museum. Think of it as a mini Swipe. Swipe condensed. A Swipe espresso.

The shiny little space at Swipe DX will follow the same ethos of good design and high quality that has always characterized Swipe, with a savvy lineup of products, gifts and curiosities, and a streamlined selection of books on advertising and design, urban issues, architecture and interior design.

It’s a taste of all the good stuff. And it’s popping up for the duration of The Happy Show: acclaimed graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister’s latest exhibition and the culmination of ten years of typographic investigation and happiness exploration (“via meditation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals”), on view at the Design Exchange from January 9 to March 3. (Tickets available via the DX website.)

Swipe DX hours are: 12pm to 5pm, 7 days a week. You’ll find us at 234 Bay Street, Toronto. For further information, contact us via the details to the right.

It’s the perfect (other) downtown drop-in spot for birthday shopping, or essential-for-the-office shopping, or I-needed-to-do-something-interesting-on-my-lunch-break shopping, or I’ve-got-to-meet-yesterday’s-deadline shopping. Or just for a browse and a chat. Whatever your reason, we hope to see you there soon.

Oh, and Swipe Design | Books + Objects, the main store, at 401 Richmond? We’ll be business as usual, with bright new books and sparkly new products in this happy, happy, happy, happy, happy new year.

Twice the Swipe. What could be better?

A Very Swipey Birthday

It’s not every year you turn 25. Especially when you’re an independent, physical bookstore in an increasingly virtual market. But this month we’re passing the quarter-century mark and we couldn’t be more honoured and excited. Without the loyalty of our customers, we couldn’t have reached this point, and we’re more than grateful for your ongoing interest and support.

Today’s Swipe – the light-filled, colourful space cocooned within the 401 Richmond art hub – is a far cry from the mail-order company that co-founders Tina Hadjidimitriou and David Michaelides opened in a Ryerson Avenue office in 1987. Back then, Tina visited creative agencies with catalogues in hand, took orders, and personally delivered the books. The pair opened their first retail store on Berkeley Street in 1989, with a focus squarely on advertising and design.

A successful bid to run the Design Exchange store in 1994 meant a five-and-a-half-year stint as Swipe/indx, with inventory expanding to include objects as well as books: examples of good design – classic, contemporary and notable – by both Canadian and international designers. These were the days of Swipe’s iconic-ad-mimicking campaign by Chiat/Day, under art director Gary Holme. “Our little store isn’t so much of a novelty anymore,” read the Swipe take on the famous “Think small” Volkswagen ad: “In fact, some people who visit our little boutique don’t even think 1,000 books on advertising and design is any big deal.”

Swipe (and its 1,000 books) moved to 477 Richmond Street West in early 2000, and finally relocated to the larger, current space at 401 Richmond Street West in 2008.

Today, Swipe still offers an impressive selection of books on advertising and design (from layout, to marketing, to typography, to textiles), and a diverse collection of design objects. Add to this our extensive range of publications on architecture, green design and urban issues, our high-quality gift items and our carefully chosen books and products for children, and you have one of the most eclectic and idea-packed stores in the city, if not the country. (Possibly the continent?)

So, happy birthday to us! We love what we do, and we’re thrilled to keep doing it. We’re already looking forward to turning 50, and with your continued support, we know it’s just a matter of time!