Apple recently opened the doors to its new Vancouver store, a two-storey location that doubles the company’s footprint in the downtown area. Sitting at an angle to the intersection of West Georgia and Howe Streets, the store’s floor-to-ceiling windows face the Vancouver Art Gallery, a nod to the role that Apple’s tech tools play in creative industries. On the store’s ground level, merchandise including the range of Apple watches and their assorted straps can be explored with the guidance of Apple team members who, combined, speak some 36 languages. A skylit staircase leads to the store’s second floor where customers can take part in free Today at Apple sessions or convene on stadium-style seating.
Apple Pacific Centre, 701 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, 778-373-1800, apple.com.
Hip to be square
Whether it’s the continuing influence of Y2K nostalgia or the emerging balletcore aesthetic favoured by designers like New York’s Sandy Liang, square-toed shoes are officially back. Montreal-based footwear brand Maguire (maguireshoes.com), which won the emerging talent award for accessories at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards in October, launched the square-toed Palma ankle boot seen here back in 2020. At the time, founder and designer Myriam Belzile-Maguire says the style “was considered a very edgy, fringe boot because of the square toe.” But with its comfortable memory foam insole, the style has since become a bestseller.
In the age of experiential retail, holiday window displays still present a highly visible opportunity for retailers to go all out. “Now more than ever, retailers want to provide experiences that make the customer feel something and, of course, take advantage of the opportunity of being showcased in social media platforms and ‘go viral,’” says Raul Tovar, co-founder and creative director of WindowsWear. The marketing tactic has come a long way from vignettes of Santas and candy canes, with retailers employing high-tech enhancements such as augmented reality and gamification to woo passersby. Take The Bay, which launched a digital tool that transports Canadians into the windows of its downtown Toronto store from anywhere across the country through a QR code. Other stores are partnering with visual artists to create memorable, one-of-a-kind displays. Hermès tapped Montreal artist Jannick Deslauriers to interpret its 2022 theme “Lighthearted!” as a creative display at the Toronto flagship. In a playful move, Louis Vuitton partnered with master Lego builders on a series of window and store displays anchored by arrangements of bricks in the brand’s signature Damier pattern. As WindowsWear’s Tovar points out, these elaborate concepts endure in a digital world because window shopping works. “Products displayed in store windows and pop ups tend to sell out,” he says.
Toronto-based Nlaka’pamux designer Warren Steven Scott has expanded his creative output to eyewear through a collaboration with Canadian retailer New Look (newlook.ca). The Avenue x Warren Steven Scott collection taps into the designer’s style signatures, including the use of acrylic and a vibrant colour palette. It also honours his community, with each of the 21 styles being named for friends, family, clients or mentors.
Beauty brands tend to mark the holiday season with elaborate sets that compile bestsellers and new releases into collections of sampler-sized products. For skincare buffs, it doesn’t get more luxe than a petit cadeau from Clé de Peau, the pioneering luxury skincare and cosmetics brand owned by Japan’s Shiseido. This option contains an eight-piece introduction to Clé de Peau’s comprehensive skincare collection, with miniatures that cleanse, hydrate and treat skin to reveal its radiance, including its signature the Cream.
Clé de Peau Beauté Little Luxuries Set, $700 at Nordstrom (nordstrom.ca).