The products we're lusting after for spring 2017.
This new take on Miu Miu’s debut fragrance keeps lily of the valley and the patchouli-like Akigalawood as top and base notes while adding a white floral heart for a scent meant to evoke the first day of spring. Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue Eau de Parfum Spray ($105 for 50 mL), at sephora.com.
When Target left Canada, so did beloved brand Pixi. Now it’s back (hurrah!), and for the first time, skincare is available in addition to cosmetics. Our pick: this just-launched physical (sugar cane) and chemical (lactic acid) exfoliant. Pixi Beauty Peel & Polish ($34), at shoppersdrugmart.ca.
Organic mongongo oil, high in moisturizing fatty acids and derived from the South African manketti tree, is the star in this blend of fast-absorbing oils. Apply strategically (on wind-chapped cheeks, for instance) as the weather changes from cold to, well, slightly less cold. Physicians Formula Organic Wear Bright Booster Oil Elixir ($20), at shoppersdrugmart.ca.
If you’ve maxed out on Millennial-coloured products (you know the shade), may we suggest this powdery hue as an alternative? OPI Infinite Shine in Suzi Without a Paddle ($16.95), at chatters.ca.
Two satin (peachy beige and gold) and two matte (caramel beige and pinky red) shades comprise Chanel makeup artist Lucia Pica’s face palette for spring. Chanel Coco Code Blush Harmony ($70), at chanel.com.
This hue is our favourite of the 10 shades of seriously-long-wearing liquid lipstick and gloss. CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Colour + Gloss in Coral Crave ($12), at walmart.ca.
Holding a can of dry shampoo close to your scalp and spraying will not do you any favours. Batiste applicators are designed to disperse product evenly from 30 centimetres (think half an arm’s length) away, and particles are sized to penetrate the hair shaft, nixing oil right from the roots. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry ($9) at walmart.ca.
The latest foundation from Giorgio Armani marries the technology of the brand’s oil-based Maestro Fusion with the long-wearing pigments in its liquid eyeshadows for a high-coverage formula that feels like a serum. Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation in 3.5 ($70), at sephora.com.
Holt Renfrew's Bloor Street store
Armed with a fresh vision and strategy, the 180-year-old Canadian department store is making a statement.
It’s a week before Christmas, and Holt Renfrew’s flagship on Bloor Street in Toronto is a buzzing hive of well-heeled holiday shoppers seeking out last-minute gifts and gowns amid the glorious chaos. Next door, 11 floors above, I’m sitting in a quiet, stately office with Holts’ president, Mario Grauso, and fashion director, Ketevan Gvaramadze. Both are new to the company—barely four months into their roles—but they are already reminiscing about the latest Fashion Month, spring/summer 2017. The industry’s biannual pilgrimage, running from New York to London to Milan to Paris, affects every business decision Grauso will make for the next six months. “For me, that’s where it all starts,” he says. “It’s where all the ideas come together.” This explains why, just a few days after starting at Holts, Grauso headed off to the shows—a glam but exhausting circuit of back-to-back presentations, re-sees (an opportunity for editors and buyers to have a closer look at the collections) and market appointments. It’s a full-on schedule that leaves you physically drained but creatively supercharged.
Unsurprisingly, one of the hottest shows on the fashion calendar made a major impact on Gvaramadze. “Oh, my God, Balenciaga...” she says when I ask what her favourite show was. “It was everything for me. It made my Fashion Week.” Grauso shakes his head. “But the girls couldn’t walk in the shoes!” (He has a point. Spandex-encased stilettos are tricky.) “Yes, but you have to dream!” she counters. “It’s important to look at things that inspire you.” Creative clashes are part of the process, it seems. Grauso admits it’s a bit “like a negotiation with your family about how you’re going to decorate the house.” After the pair returned home, many hours were spent debating fashion fantasy versus reality, for both the shop floor and their revamped spring magazine, a 195-page lookbook that serves as a snapshot of the season. And, being the first magazine under Grauso’s leadership, it will also act as his unofficial debut – Canada’s first glimpse of the new Holt Renfrew.
When Grauso was announced as incoming president last July, insiders weren’t exactly surprised. He is the former president of Joe Fresh—which, like Holt Renfrew, is owned by the titans of retail, the Weston family—and, with over 20 years of experience as a fashion exec at the Vera Wang Group and Puig, he is well known in the industry.
New appointments aside, big change was bound to happen one way or another at Canada’s oldest high-end department store. With Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom venturing north of the border and Simons expanding beyond Quebec, the luxury landscape in this country got a lot more crowded in 2016. It’s a new reality that Holts had been bracing for since 2015, when it began shuttering its smaller outposts—a strategy implemented so it could focus on multi-million-dollar expansions at its major stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto’s Yorkdale and Bloor Street locations as well as a massive merger with Ogilvy in Montreal and a swanky new opening at Square One in Mississauga. That one is an extravagant behemoth: 12,077 square metres with towering ceilings and marble floors, a personal shopping “apartment,” a master tailor and a leather artisan who will add custom embossing to your handbag. Grauso also promises that Holts will offer more concept shops showcasing the world of the designer: Look for Brioni and Loro Piana this year.
These changes allow Holts to offer a deeper assortment of products from a wider range of brands, but, much like other big retailers, it still has challenges to face. “Canada doesn’t have the large base of high-end shoppers that the United States does,” says Maureen Atkinson, senior partner at Toronto retail consulting firm J.C. Williams Group, who adds that in a market of limited growth size, the more you cut the pie the smaller the slices. “If all these companies are targeting the same established luxury customer, there certainly isn’t enough business for them all.” In other words, it’s not a bad idea to find another pie, a.k.a. a new customer.
This is partly why Grauso immediately thought of Gvaramadze when he found out he would be joining Holt Renfrew. The Georgian-born stylist, with her platinum pixie cut and penchant for wearing Gosha Rubchinskiy tees with oversized Céline trousers, is an unusually edgy choice for Holts. And that’s the point. “Ketevan is always pushing fashion,” says Grauso. “She has this eye and an ability to mix streetwear with more obvious designers in an interesting way.” In case you missed that, he said “streetwear”—which implies youth. It’s an idea that comes up again and again in our conversation. It’s also a deliberate shift away from the retailer’s more traditional persona. “We’re definitely considerate of Millennials,” says Grauso. “They love luxury, and I want them to see Holts as a place to look at fashion and get inspired – whether they’re able to buy it yet or not. How young people are shopping now is a new chapter that we, as a department store, have to consider.”
Speaking of how Millennials shop, Holts knows that it has to up its e-commerce game, stat. The 180-year-old retailer launched beauty online in 2015 and accessories in 2016, and the aim is to roll out select ready-to-wear categories later this year. “We got into it a little late, so we’re trying to play catch-up,” admits Grauso. “But it’s not just about rushing and getting things up; I want it to look a certain way. It has to be true to the new message of Holts.”
That’s one reason its magazine (and its toned-down aesthetic) is so important. “It’s more than just a catalogue,” says Grauso. “It informs everything else: the windows, the website, the ad campaigns.” Gvaramadze, who also handles the look and feel of their Instagram account, gives a definitive nod. “It’s our point of view,” she says. “It’s who we are.”
And who is that exactly? “Holt Renfrew has always brought the newest and best fashion to Canada; those are our roots,” says Grauso when asked about his vision. “We’re just going to be tougher [with the DNA]—editing the roster and bringing on new designers who are having a moment.” This will include investing in more boundary-pushing brands (Comme des Garçons, Sacai) and creating a dedicated space for them in all Holt Renfrew locations. “Young people are really thinking outside the box, so [creatively] advanced designers are going to be key,” says Grauso. “These are brands that touch both mother and daughter. When a collection can do that, it becomes really important to us. There’s something for everyone, but it’s an edited something for everyone.”
Ruth Negga's doll like features are a makeup artist's dream.
If you're a celebrity, the day before the Oscars likely includes the following:
1. Hydrating facial with plenty of massage to help deport clogged pores and get those cheekbones poppin'.
2. Your workout of choice, whether it's muscle-lengthening Pilates or a cardio session that will get you in the acceptance speech zone (will also help with loser face prep).
3. A spray tan.
4. A brow tint/wax.
5. Eyelash extension application, if you're going that route.
6. A good blow out. Most hair stylists love second day hair (more on that later) to help add some grit to an updo that will land at the top of a best beauty slideshow in the next day.
But what about the day of? Celebrities book time with their go-to hair and makeup people, but a lot of that happens early on in the day. Hours later, when they're exiting the 'stretch and about to stomp the red carpet...those people who got them "red carpet ready" are back in the hotel suites where they prepped said celebs, hopefully a glass or two deep and ready to watch the big show. So what's a celebrity to do? Here, our fave tips from the image makers who prep and prime the celebs.
"I don’t get to go with them to the red carpet. I have to trust the universe. I send them off with concealer, lipstick, Q-Tips and sometimes one of those tiny little Beautyblender sponges with a little bit of foundation on it [wrapped] inside a tissue. But that's only if there’s space for that — sometimes there isn’t. I send Q-Tips because they are the perfect little fix-it for something around the lips if things are moving, or to clean-up any fall out from eyeliner or mascara. It's just the best way not to disturb the rest of the makeup. And I definitely use a primer. I used the new NARS primer, and it gives a beautiful base — it has this satiny finish, it’s an airy feel. That’s usually what I do on days like today when I know that makeup needs to last for hours. — Makeup artist Rachel Goodwin, who works with Emma Stone and Michelle Dockery
"Nicole Kidman wore my new Charlotte Tilbury Dry Sheet Mask (launching next month in Canada) before she had her makeup done for the Golden Globes and obviously she looked amazing, I mean her skin was like wild and then you put that on and it was even more glossy and luminous and amazing and dewy and incredible. — Makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, who has also worked with Jennifer Aniston, Kate Moss and Jennifer Lopez.
"Clean hair has no guts—it really doesn't. It doesn't hold a wave, it doesn't hold a curl. Even if I'm doing an updo, I even spray dry shampoo on my hair pins with Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoo. It powder and starch in the formula gets in there and creates a good kind of friction so it won't slip out. Every single bobby pin has to count. When I do an updo on Mary-Kate Olsen, she wants an updo that doesn't require more than five bobby pins. And it drove me crazy that she said five because the biggest rule is, hair pins always have to be in an even number, you can do 1, 3 or 5 you have to do 2, 4 or 6! If you cross them to really really hold, so that's when I was like ok… I tried spraying hairspray on the hairpins first but its so wet that it really will slip out of get or get that awful texture." — Celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend, who has worked with Jennifer Lawrence and Hailee Steinfeld.
"Before leaving for the show, take a picture with your phone with the flash on—that will help give you an idea of how the makeup will react on the red carpet. To keep lips impeccable and to minimize the touch up, use an ultra-long wear lasting lipstick as Chanel Rouge Double Intensity. The flash from all the cameras on the red carpet makes the glue from the false lashes very visible. To conceal that, I apply a matte black liner (try Chanel Calligraphie de Chanel Longwear Intense Cream Eyeliner) on top of the false lash strips to eliminate the undesirable shine reflection. In your bag, you'll need to bring Q-tips and blotting papers. — Chanel makeup artist Julie Cusson, who has worked with celebrities such as Jessica Paré and Isabelle Huppert.
"Prescribe to your biggest issue, and pick a shampoo and conditioner based on that. It will make styling so much easier. And deep condition! People are so lazy and don't want to do masks that take ten minutes in the shower. I tell them to put John Frieda Miraculous Recovery Deep Conditioner (launching soon in Canada) in their hair and go to sleep with it. Or do it on while you do chores. But do it, because it makes such a difference when you get down to styling." — Hairstylist Harry Josh, who works with Olivia Wilde and Gisele Bunchen.
"Dry shampoo can be used to prevent flatness and stickiness. I spray it into an actresses' hands and have her pat her open palms along the back of her neck. If she's wearing her hair down, dry shampoo like Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo will prevent the hair from sticking to her neck. I've also used it on men underneath their tuxes, right down the middle of their back where they really feel the heat. This keeps the area dry. I did it with David Beckham."—Peter Gray, hairstylist who has worked with Kate Bosworth and Cate Blanchett.
Beyoncé on The Formation World Tour in 2016.
Worst. Day. Ever.
We'd hate to be customer service at Coachella right now. Organizers of the music festival have confirmed that Beyoncé will no longer be headlining the concert this April, breaking the hearts of the Beyhive.
The singer, who is expecting twins with hubby Jay Z, is "following advice of doctors to keep a less rigorous schedule," organizers said in a statement, adding that the Bey will perform in 2018 instead. (Setting calendar countdown now.)
To cheer us all up, last night Bey posted this Insta photo of her and Blue Ivy with the deer Snapchat filter from the NBA All-Star Game.