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End of an era: Le Chateau is bankrupt and will close all stores

Le Chateau, for 60 years a staple at malls and of our adolescence, will close all of its 123 stores.

Dwindling in popularity for some time, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was the death knell for the Montreal-founded fashion retailer.

“Its already evident impact on consumer demand for Le Chateau’s holiday party and occasion wear, which represents the core of our offering, has diminished Le Chateau’s ability to pursue its activities,” the company said.

Canadians from coast to coast reminisced nostalgically about their connection to the brand.

The pandemic has forced many Canadian mall staples to file for protection from creditors. They include Reitmans Canada Ltd., Aldo Group Inc., DavidsTea Inc., Mountain Equipment Co-operative, Moores the Suit People Corp. and Laura’s Shoppe Inc. 

Le Chateau’s shuttering means around 1,400 people will soon be out of work – 500 at the company’s head office and 900 at stores.

Even if many of us hadn’t shopped at Le Chateau in many years, we’ll remember it fondly. It symbolized the promise and insecurity of going out. For me, in Toronto, there were two things I’d do before a night out: buy booze at the LCBO and an outfit at Le Chateau. Going in there was like stepping into the costume room of Night at the Roxbury. Everything was an impression of what Europeans wore a decade ago. In other words: Canadian contemporary.

Now it will be just another nightlife institution gentrified, by fast fashion, out of existence.

Christian Nathler

Christian Nathler is a contributing writer at Notable Life.