When Saks asked if I’d like to join the media tour two days before the Calgary location opens, of course I said, I’m in! Literally. Please enjoy my video tour… just a little longer than a New York minute. That’s a Fifth Avenue reference, folks. Meanwhile, my Manhattan zip code game is strong. (The video explains what I’m talking about). If I do say so myself!
Tucked into the old Target location, across from the Starbucks on the ground floor, and beside the Orange Julius upstairs, is the new Saks Fifth Avenue, scheduled to open at Chinook Centre in Calgary next Thursday.
First of all, who knew Orange Julius was still even a thing? Glad we’re taking it up a notch at the mall that regularly ranks in the top ten busiest shopping destinations in North America. Soon, who knows… I may even get a phone that takes better photos.
But, as usual, I digress. Saks is coming! It’s only the third location in Canada. The other two are in Toronto. Don’t be confused by the Saks Off Fifth locations dotting our nation. This is gloat-worthy. Because once again, we are landing a major retailer before Vancouver. (Cough, Nordstrom, cough). And the New York-based department store (if the Fifth Ave in the name didn’t give it away) is in the Holts zone of haut shopping heaven.
Saks doesn’t care about the price of oil. In fact, they just revamped their Houston location. Saks is planning to love our lust for luxury longtime.
In this frigid February, we could use the boost. Who needs high-tech when you have good ol’ fashioned shopping therapy? Sorry Amazon. (Just like the Eskimos and their words for snow, we Canadians have a thousand different meanings for the word “sorry.” And some of them are passive aggressive. Albeit polite… on that icy cold surface.)
Plus, there’s an opening gala. Super-exclusive VIP and all that. See you there!
ECCO, the Danish footwear company, rolled out their tastefully understated grey carpet this week for their new store at Chinook Centre, featuring street wear styles so suave you’ll forget that they’re also… comfortable.Retail Division Manager Ron King prefers not to use that word. “Comfortable conveys the wrong image,” he says. Ie — these are not your grandma’s shoes. In from Toronto to help launch the store, he shows me the super-lightweight, super-soft leather that signals ECCO’s core craftsmanship.Watch out CTV Calgary. Bob Sumner is considering a new career in shoe modeling. And who thinks jumping up on new yak-leather benches is socially acceptable? But you can tell from the lack of raised eyebrows that it’s standard fashion blogger behavior — when one is amped up about ECCO’s just-launched Soft 7 leather high-tops. Light as a feather!
It’s Beauty Trend Event weekend at Nordstrom. Shopper faithfuls in the US have long enjoyed this princess-for-a-day pampering while being introduced to the latest and greatest in makeup and skin care. Now, with our first-in-Canada Nordstrom at Chinook Centre, Calgarians can too.My first stop was the Armani area. Nordstrom carries a bevy of high-end beauty brands that you can’t get at most other retails spots. The lovely owner of these hands gave me a facial massage with Giorgio’s luxurious moisturizers. Then another person joined Team Pamper, giving me a hand and arm massage with Joe Malone’s decadent scented body cream. Heavenly!Camille Cunningham, who moved from the States to manage the Cosmetics Department, showed me this Hidden Gem, as the realtors all love to say. A full-sized treatment room, where Nordstrom offers complimentary 30 minute facials.Then it was on to the brow department, where Britney did brilliant work with Anastasia products. She only used pencil and gel to whip my caterpillars into shape, but she also has a way with wax, on women and men too.
In Dior, the beautiful Arina did my makeup. And introduced me to primers. I vaguely knew that they have been around a while, but didn’t realize that they can help coverup and makeup stick more, which is a big issue with my nose scar. Makeup just seems to slide off that skin graft. I will do some test-drives on the samples I discovered in my goody bag and let you know how it goes.Two hours and two horses later, it occurred to me that perhaps I should check on my makeup. So I selfied in the dusk for this grainy shot. But look at those brows — the staying power is impressive considering I’d been wearing my polo helmet for an hour.
The Beauty Trend Event runs today and Saturday at Nordstrom. Give them a call — they may still be able to fit you in for complimentary makeup, skincare and fragrance consultations. Even if they can’t, there are about a zillion gift-with-purchase deals on at the store. Have fun!
To commemorate its newly-minted relationship with Canada, Nordstrom goes commando. A Commando-brand crystal thong, that is.Ok, you have my attention. What’s going on, Nordstrom? Turns out they’re giving the girls a great fit in the name of supporting breast cancer. Certified fitters are available for appointments all day October 3 and 4, with two bucks from every bra bought going to Rethink Breast Cancer. Nordstrom and participating brands (including Betsey Johnson, Spanx and Hanky Panky) will pony up $5,000 minimum. Like a little music with your lingerie? The DJ starts spinning tomorrow night at 5:00.
Taking the neighborhood between Le Chateau and RW&Co up a notch, WEEKEND Max Mara opened its doors this morning at Chinook Centre —just in time for the weekend.Vancouver has three of ’em, but this is the first WEEKEND Max Mara in Calgary. Invited guests were treated to an informal fashion show to get a grip on the brand’s style MO.Bright colors and florals borrowed from the 80’s are cycling into resurgence.The black and white stripe story is back, just like it is every spring. But Max Mara, which makes its own fabrics and runs its own factories, gives it a high-end twist. In business journalism I believe they call that an industry vertical. But we don’t need to worry our pretty little heads about that…… especially when the stripes are horizontal.Catherine Guadagnuolo, founder of the Vestis Fashion Group which licensed the store in Western Canada, shows off a cashmere wrap coat. Coats are the core of the Max Mara brand and have been worn by multiple princesses, both real and of the tabloid variety. However, Kate Windsor and Kim Kardashian weren’t in attendance today.She also assured me that the parkas and scarves on display weren’t shipped in especially for Calgary’s psycho summer weather. Those stylish Italians just wear scarves all year long.No unique design details for Cowtown in the 1660 square foot space. In the interest of brand cohesiveness, all decor was brought in from Italy. Presumably, so were these super cool mannequins. This is only our first taste of Max Mara. Their luxury store is slated to open at Chinook in November of next year. Welcome to Calgary!
Hold the anchovies? Who says that? Not Double Zero.
The popular Stephens Avenue pizza joint created a new white anchovy crostini concoction to celebrate the opening of their brand spanking swanking new location, in the north end of Chinook Centre.Executive Chef Robert Jewell, slinging the pie in the sky here, sings the siren song of the white swimmers. “You don’t have to bring the sexy to anchovy, to me they’ve always been sexy. It’s one of my favorite things to snack on. We’re trying to open customers up to it.” He says they’re more subtle than sardines. If that doesn’t get you you, maybe the super-luxe price tag will: $45/kilo. Prepared the Double Zero way, the little fishies pair nicely with Prosecco.But let’s get to the real reason we’re here: the pizza. Plagiarizing directly from the 00 website, “Double Zero is named after the finest grade of flour on the planet.” Since I know flowers better than flours, I’ll just take them on their word.Wondering why this dude with the beard is lurking everywhere? He’s all over 00. The tables, the walls, even the advertising. We’ll get to that in a minute. In the meantime, check out the ‘za. Super affordable and super good……once it’s served it doesn’t stay on the plate for long. The one with the bacon was my personal fave.The media party was wisely contained to the downstairs bar/bistro area, but upstairs the restaurant was rocking! Even though it has only been open since Monday.Packed with beautiful people, can Double Zero sustain the Opening Week clientele standards once mall rats get wise to their fresh new dining option conveniently located right next door to Tori Burch? Although Chinook shoppers are pretty cute.Back downstairs I thought I’d tracked down The Dude. Not Jeff Lebowski, but the bearded bro in all the promo. Turns out it was a different beard, belonging to a different dude: Jon Molyneux of the uber-tasty Concorde Group. But he revealed the wine list cover model is Peter Feenstra of Tank Design, a Friend Of The Restaurant, like everyone featured in the arresting black and white wall murals. Feenstra also designed all the furniture in the restaurant.Thanks for the party, Double Zero! Not only did I learn beards are optional here, it turns out that 2 x 00 = feel good, taste good math.
If your internal compass always seems to point to Tiffany’s, there’s a new reason to head to Chinook Centre.Walk through those heavy doors into the hush of the hallowed jewelry hall and you’ll forget you’re at the mall.Invited for a sneak peak at the newest necklaces, bangles and earrings in the store, I got distracted by the eyewear.I know, probably a little more low-maintenance than you’re expecting, considering the gems on display right in front of me, but just look at these! Perfect for my upcoming polo trip to the desert.But to get me back on track, Sarah Geddes from Sass Communications ushered me into a back room reserved for customers who want to purchase their carats and karats in private. As Sarah put it, “A lot of nervous men have been in this room.” Today, it’s reserved for a select few, chosen to view the latest pieces of the Atlas Collection to arrive on the Calgary map.Crafted in 18 karat yellow, white or rose gold, as well as sterling silver, 30 new pieces have been added to the collection. Still using the signature Roman numerals symbolizing strength and freedom, these ones are cleaner, sleeker and more modern. I liked this smaller rose gold pendant to the right.The pendant I actually tried on was so large I didn’t even get the entire piece in the picture. Hashtag: second-rate selfie.Inspired not by Greek mythology but rather the clock held by Atlas outside Audrey Hepburn’s favorite store on Fifth Avenue, the iconic collection was introduced in 1995. With a $145 starting price point, it’s tempting to start your own collection.Because who doesn’t need a little Tiffany in their life?