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Hermès

Where Loves: Holt Renfrew’s Holiday Window Display

By ANA TAVEIRA

photo: Holt Renfrew

The snowflakes may be yet to fall, but another seasonal signifier is on full display in Toronto: the high-end establishments of Bloor-Yorkville have unveiled their enchanting light displays and charming decorations. The neighbourhood is already bustling as holiday shoppers get a head start checking off their lists at some of the most desirable international retailers—from Hérmes to Roots—and luxurious local designer boutiques. Unsurprisingly, one of the strip’s most heavily trafficked locations is posh department store Holt Renfrew.

Celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, the venerable company is thoroughly contemporary, but also respectful of traditions. One such tradition? Its annual holiday window display. This year’s concept, thoroughly thought out and beautifully executed by the Holt Renfrew visual merchandising team, sprawls across seven wide panes of glass and features mannequins decked out in the season’s must-have fashions and accessories, skating on imaginary lakes and riding well-heeled horses. Tracy Peters, Holts’ senior manager of national visual merchandising, describes the windows’ theme, “Let it Snow,” as rekindling feelings of the first time you saw the fluffy white stuff. With hundreds of hand-cut snowflakes the display triggers a sense of whimsical winter nostalgia.

photo: Holt Renfrew

If you like what you see, the designs on display are of course available inside the multi-level store. Footwear can be a great gift for friends, family and even yourself—how about Burberry boot to keep your toes warm, or some Louboutin pumps to draw attention at the office Christmas party? Designer accessories like ties, handbags and fragrances are also timely buys. Or perhaps you’re partial to seasonal favourites like sweaters, toques, scarves and jackets. Whatever your pleasure, Holts is sure to satisfy.

In the spirit of the season, the store has also paired with Italian label Missoni to provide a charitable gift. Limited-edition Missoni-designed plush bears and elephants are now available at Holt Renfrew locations across Canada; proceeds from the sale of these beautiful stocking stuffers help support OrphanAid Africa.

Yours to Discover: Day Six

Winter’s on its way out; it’s time to get a head start on exploring. Guide yourself with our specialized itineraries, or contact one of Toronto’s many tour operators to delve deeper into this multifaceted metropolis. And don’t forget to check out previous Yours to Discover posts, here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four.

Harry Rosen

SARTORIAL STROLLS
Get kitted out and catwalk-ready in Toronto’s most fashion-forward locales.

CANUCK COUTURE The touring fashionista’s must-visit strip, Bloor Street West, between Yonge Street and Avenue Road, is home to a bevy of Canadian-owned retailers with global cachet, including Holt Renfrew—Toronto’s answer to Saks Fifth Avenue—fine menswear mecca Harry Rosen, and distinguished beaver-emblazoned brand Roots.

INTERNATIONAL ICONS Bloor Street also showcases standalone shops representing world-famous fashion houses, including French favourites Chanel, Hermès and Louis Vuitton, Italian labels like Gucci and Prada, as well as German stalwart Hugo Boss. Be sure to accessorize your new ensemble with baubles from Birks, Cartier or Tiffany & Co.

Eleven

SINGULAR STYLE Moving north from Bloor into tony Yorkville ensures encounters with boutiques offering personalized service and unique, on-trend attire. Ladies are encouraged to try 119 Corbo, Eleven, Hugo Nicholson and the Pink Tartan store Seventy-Seven. Finery for fellows is found at Nicolas Men and Anti-Hero, among others.

INDEPENDENT SPIRIT On Queen Street, west of Bathurst, you’re sure to make a contemporary fashion “find.” For women, Robber is one of many inspired indie shops that curate new looks by emerging and established designers from Canada and abroad, while Preloved offers more relaxed garments made from reclaimed fabrics. Modish men stride into Green Shag for bespoke shirts and suits, and attention-grabbing stores like Ruins, which stock exclusive labels in gallery-like settings.

The professional image consultants of The Refinery offer a variety of weekly shopping tours that take you to chic boutiques throughout the city.

Cool Clothes for Chilly Conditions

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should forsake all sense of style.
With this seasonal wear—everything from hats and boots to gloves and goggles—
you’ll be weather-ready whether you’re taking a stroll in a winter wonderland
or battling a blizzard.

Shop the World in Toronto

The globe’s most coveted brands—and our own national favourites—are readily available right here in YYZ. Click any of the slideshow images below to view Where Toronto‘s favourite international items for the holiday season.

Styled images with colour backgrounds photographed by Luis Albuquerque. Off-figure styling by Daniel Onori/Plutino Group.

TIFF List: 3 Styles for the Red Carpet

The Toronto International Film Festival is ramping up for its 35th excellent year, with more than 300 movies showing between September 9 and 19. Follow this space in the days leading up to TIFF 2010 for features on much-anticipated premieres, the Bell Lightbox—the festival’s exciting new headquarters—and scads of sites at which to spot visiting celebrities. During the festival itself, we’ll bring you details on each day’s film offerings plus what to do before or after your screening.

Gotstyle

TODAY: A-LIST ATTIRE
It’s rarely enough to be just a great thespian. One has to look the part, too. Toronto’s world-class selection of shops ensures the stars are dressed to the nines for their moment in the spotlight.

1 The luxe looks donned by Hollywood’s leading ladies can be found along Bloor Street West, home to international boutiques including Prada, Gucci and Chanel, plus high-end department store Holt Renfrew, which collects all manner of designer duds. Hermès, Cartier and others provide the jewels and accessories. Or for that timeless Audrey Hepburn look, go slightly north to vintage couturier The Cat’s Meow.

2 Men in the George Clooney mold—respectful of the classics, but mindful of modern trends—are rakishly attired by the likes of Nicolas Men and Harry Rosen. The latter’s bespoke tailors are sought-after, and have outfitted the likes of Dustin Hoffman and Christopher Plummer. Custom suits at King West’s Gotstyle are also in high demand—master tailor Joa Cavalcanti has designed for Leonardo Dicaprio, Daniel Craig and Daniel Day Lewis.

3 For stars who really want to shine, many on-trend shops offer youthful, eclectic apparel. Denim specialist Over the Rainbow has long catered to clients such as Ryan Reynolds and Renee Zellweger, while Julia Roberts was recently spotted perusing at Preloved. Canadian brand Roots also has hipster cred—its latest iconic collection was designed by artist and author Douglas Coupland.

Tomorrow: 10 Celeb-Approve Nosh Spots

Behind the Scenes at a Photo Shoot

Today, our art director Paul Kittmer and I are at a photo shoot for our upcoming issue of Essential Toronto, a perfect-bound glossy annual publication that is in select hotel rooms and which accompanies our monthly Where Toronto publication.

We’re working with Toronto-based photographer Luis Albuquerque and stylist Daniel Onori of the Plutino Group, both of whom we’ve worked with before on several occasions. (You can see some of their handiwork from our last photo shoot, a spring/summer shopping guide for our April and May issues here: First Class, Business Class and Coach.)

Whenever I tell people that I’m going to be at a photo shoot, the first reaction is always one of awe. People think it must be very glamorous to be on set at a photo shoot. But the truth is, it’s not as exciting as it seems—sorry to burst any bubbles. The day can actually be long and even a bit boring as there is a lot of waiting around—for Paul and I at least. The really hard work is being done by Daniel whose very big task it is to pull the assorted items together into a coherent vignette. Often, what Daniel starts out with isn’t the final image. There is a lot of “tweaking” going on: a sweater comes out and a button-up shirt replaces it, a belt that was previously rolled up is now uncurled, or a shoe is moved from one corner of the page to another.

Periodically Luis takes test shots so that all of us can see what it might look like on the page. We each offer our two cents, fancying ourselves stylists, too. “Can we move that watch? It’s lost there” or “Can we take those sunglasses out? It’s too busy in that corner.” When we look at these test shots, we also talk about where text might be placed and we think about little details like should the suitcases both open on the same side or should they open on opposite sides? Which image do we want to start the story with?

My favourite part of the day? Playing with the various goodies that have been loaned out to us. (It’s probably as close as I’ll ever get to some of these very expensive items.) And since I’m not above dropping names: Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Paul Smith, Tori Burch, Christian Louboutin, Hugo Boss, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel are just among some of the designer items we have in our posssession.

I can’t show you what the final photos look like—for that you’ll have to return in September to find out! But our photo gallery has a peek at the photo shoot in progress.

Photos by Linda Luong, except where indicated.