News broke Friday that the Quebec clothing chain planned to liquidate and shut down its remaining 123 stores, finally putting an end to the once-popular retailer dogged by dwindling sales.
Getting its start as a menswear source more than 60 years ago, the Montreal retailer has gone through countless transformations — including a brief stint as a goth lover’s paradise — but really made a name for itself as the go-to place for chic outfits young Canadians would wear on a weekend.
While Le Château has largely been ignored by Canadian shoppers in recent years, the announcement reminded people just how beloved the stores were when they were teenagers, when it was at the forefront of high-school fashion and a staple of mall culture.
#LeChateau is closing and I'm gutted; devastated; inconsolable. I can't be held responsible for how much debt I accrue shopping the final day sales. Please respect my privacy during this difficult time. 😥
— Smash 💕 (@macsmashley) October 23, 2020
There’s so much to unpack about why Le Château figured so heavily in our lives. Let’s talk a walk down memory lane:
First, it was THE “prom store” for Canadian teens
Looking for semi-formal clothing that would cost an after-school job’s paycheck or a month’s allowance? Le Château was where it was at. Always shiny, always satiny, many sequined and often ruched; it was the perfect attire for running around your local hotel ballroom, only to later collapse in a heap of underage drunken tears because you caught your crush making out with your other crush. No? Only us?
My prom dress was from the Le Chateau warehouse for twenty bucks. That place was a gem. Why is this trending? Are we discussing Quebecois tackiness and flammable clubwear you can hose off after you throw up from peach schnapps?
— Zoe Whittall (@zoewhittall) September 28, 2020
— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports) October 23, 2020
Best $80 bucks teenaged Kelli ever spent was on a prom dress there. Au revoir, Le Chateau! pic.twitter.com/bPNVFxVny9
— Kelli Thompson (@keltron76) July 7, 2020
Some of HuffPost Canada’s staff shopped for their formalwear there, including associate editor Mel Woods, senior video producer Shetu Modi, and lifestyle editor Maija Kappler.
RIP Le Chateau and specifically this dress I wore to my 2011 winter formal. pic.twitter.com/ieMEiYZTp0
— 🌸🌹💐 Melsommar 💐🔥🐻 (@intothemelwoods) October 23, 2020
RIP TO LE CHATEAU, AN ICON. I bought my prom dress there for $70 as a (questionable) attempt at rebelling against my school's prom culture, where everyone wore $500 ball gowns.
(The sun was definitely in my eyes, and tragically I kept up the platinum blonde another few years.) pic.twitter.com/8pGa7Yd3X0
— Maija Kappler (@MaijaKappler) October 23, 2020
Le Château was a bastion of ’80s and ’90s style
The ’80s and ’90s saw the birth of so many very distinct music and fashion eras, and Le Château was there to dress you for every single one. Need a polka-dot rayon-button down to go with your extra-wide houser jeans? No problem. Got a new pair of Doc Martens you’re dying to pair a babydoll dress with to hit up the Pearl Jam concert? Just down the aisle. Need a black-lace tunic to wear over your goth-perfect all-black ensemble? Check the sale rack. PLUR-worthy fun fur? Yes, yes, YES.
I used to work at Le Chateau Fairview Mall while in University. I made so many good friends and worked with amazing people. I will always have fond memories of Le Chateau, and our crazy holiday parties. https://t.co/ajQfxX7FQc pic.twitter.com/l5Y0abkcHD
— Deep into History (@DeepintoHistory) October 23, 2020
So long, Le Château. Thank you for helping make my 80s teen fashion dreams come true.🎩⛓🧷💋 pic.twitter.com/QhHhP3VXGd
— Nic D (@bluegenes003) October 23, 2020
In the 80s if you wanted to look #NewWave or #NewRomantic this was the place to go in the mall. I rarely had the money to get anything there that wasn't super ugly on clearance but I did window shop a lot to get ideas for thrift store lookalike buys. #RIP #LeChateau pic.twitter.com/NaNrA1WBfF
— It's a Lockdown Life For Us (@PanicandChaos) October 23, 2020
Le Chateau really was that girl... we will miss her pic.twitter.com/LvubWBXPwb
— Lil Ms Springfield (@casonsharpe) October 23, 2020
— Graham_TO (@global_graham) October 23, 2020
Shopping there always made us feel like cool kids ...
Le Château was the original must-have fast-fashion stop. It’s only right to pour one out for the store that paved the way for H&M, Zara and Hot Topic ... Roll call to all “Electric Circus” stars!
— Dallas Dixon 🌈 (@DallasDixon) October 23, 2020
Growing up in small-town Chatham, Ontario, our downtown record store and #LeChateau in the mall were my only connections to the alt music and black-heavy wardrobe scene outside of trips to Toronto.
— Sally T (@sallyjaybird) October 23, 2020
Oh man. I remember strolling into 6th grade in an outfit I got from Le Chateau Junior Girl and feeling like a baddie. I think it was blue pants with white stripes down the sides and a red/white/black colour block tank. Who doesn’t have memories of shopping at @LeChateauStyle ??
— Lindsay Irene (@MsLindsayIrene) October 23, 2020
When I was in my 20s, I saw a Canadian Idol contestant wearing a top and later saw it in Le Chateau. I bought it and wore it when two friends and I dressed up like the top 3 Canadian Idol contestants that year. (Yes, it was the infamous Kalan Porter year.) https://t.co/eHPnBQb5PY
— Tanis Howler’ween 🌕🐺🎃 (@TanisFowler) October 23, 2020
This makes me a bit sad. I remember travelling the 2 hours to Halifax with a friend to buy my first ‘grunge’ skirt at Le Chateau (it paired well with my combat boots) 😉💙 https://t.co/vkWioYu3Nm
— Buttercream Vintage Clothing (@ErinKGross) October 23, 2020
... Even if the styles didn’t age well and the clothes didn’t last
Were some of our choices questionable? Maybe...
Memories of their clothes falling apart after wearing them twice #LeChateau
— Mark Candler (@MarkCandler) October 23, 2020
Bye bye Le Crapeau. #lechateau. I will miss your poorly made blouses, your pinching shoes and pants that never properly fit
— chelle (@chelleatlarge) October 23, 2020
At least the shopping atmosphere was unforgettable ...
— Moore Pathammavong (@mpathammavong) October 23, 2020
Stay informed: Canadian news everyone’s talking about. Story continues after the slideshow.
le chateau is trending and its my time to ask this question: does anyone remember the store being decorated like alt goth nightclub in the 90s and then out of nowhere they switched it up to be designed like a discount Dior store?
— S H A N T E L (@The_shantel) September 28, 2020
We all had that one item we were obsessed with
— CJF (@PoweredbyPoodle) October 23, 2020
Le Chateau is closing. I worked there in 2006 and just found this scarf from back then a couple weeks ago. I loved this scarf omg pic.twitter.com/ZbpmULlyFA
— Cathee with a C (@_cousinlarry_) October 23, 2020
One of my first jobs in the late 90's was as a cashier at Le Chateau; back when the sold furry leopard spot bellbottom pants. I loved those pants. https://t.co/MfJPYFXTwA
— Screaming inside my heart (@BunnyHunting) October 23, 2020
— Chris Jancelewicz (@CJancelewicz) October 23, 2020
But, as the song goes, it’s closing time ...
It’s hard to say goodbye to a place filled with so many memories. Thankfully, a fellow bygone Canadian retail legend (or at least, a parody account of it) is welcoming Le Château into the marketplace afterlife with open arms.
It’ll be OK, Le Chateau. You can always live forever here on Twitter. https://t.co/2ylklUrklW
— Zellers (@TheZellersStore) October 23, 2020
Adieu and thanks for all the memories, Le Château!
MORE ON CANADIAN NEWS
Also on HuffPost:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost Canada and has been updated.