Globacor Articles

Toronto Star Luxury Guide May 5, 2010

Retail Therapy in Toronto’s Best Shops

by Rita Zekas

Today, luxury refers to everything from designer burgers (blame Daniel Boulud, who kick-started the pricey ultra-gourmet burger phenom in New York in 2001 with his $27 combo of foie gras, black truffles and red-wine braised short ribs served with a side order of attitude) to Bentleys.

Luxury means not taking public transit. Conspicuous consumers have the driver and the Bentley; a limo is too P. Diddy. Big spenders live large in residences like one of the new condo/hotels springing up in the city faster than celebs in rehab. Entry level in the Ritz- Carleton Residences is $1.595 million escalating to over $11 million; Shangri- La is $550,000 to over $13 million; Trump International Hotel & Tower is $885,000 to over $14 million; and at $30 million, the West Penthouse at the Four Seasons Hotel Private Residences is the most expensive condo in Canada. Even if it’s pie in the sky, odds are they won’t be baking it themselves from scratch. Some condos are deliberately designed with minimal working kitchens: “Hello, room service.” All the condo hotels have restaurants attached and there is always upscale take-out from Pusateri’s Fine Foods or The Shops at Summerhill, formerly known as The Five Thieves because of their outrageous prices.


But does Mama want to buy a bag or look like one? Never mind putting on a happy face. Women want to put on a tight one. Will women spend $1,000 on a face cream? They’ll spend $1,200 on one, according to Tracie Chiarella, skin-care buyer at Holt Renfrew, whose luxury brands are La Prairie, Sisley, Creme de la Mer, Cle de Peau, Amore Pacific, Revive and Darphin. Top of the line is La Prairie Cellular Platinum Rare priced at $1,200 for 2 ounces; White Caviar Illuminating Cream at $570 for two ounces; and Cellular Radiance Cream for $725 for two ounces. The Platinum Rare provides hydration and adjusts to temperatures, which makes it ideal for hot flashes. Are women buying into it? You betcha. In 2009, Holt’s sold 296 pieces of Platinum Rare at $1,200 a pop. The jar lasts four to six months. Sisley Supremya is $850 for two ounces and is a night cream. They sold 94 units from August to January when it was first launched so it is considered performing well. The jar lasts two to three months. Crème de la Mer, formulated originally to heal scarring, is $300 for two ounces and Holt’s top performer in the luxury line. In fact, Chiarella says that in 2009 despite a shaky economy, La Mer, Sisley and La Prairie beat their sales figures from the previous year.

These skin care lines are topical. And now for the knife styles of the rich and famous, where plastic surgeons do the nip and tucking. An alternative for the knife phobic are the non-surgicals performed by dermatologists like Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK on Avenue at 108 Avenue Rd., who “refresh” skin without slicing and dicing. DLK is a skin-care facility dealing with everything from birthmarks to stretch marks. Be gone unsightly wrinkles, acne, cellulite, sagging skin and tattoos.

The most popular procedure says Kellett, is Botox: “Fast, simple and easy with no down time.” Botox for crow’s feet is $300 and lasts three to four months.

A summer tune-up of cellulite treatments is $800 for a series of eight — just the thing for that new $740 swim suit. Injectable filler in crow’s feet and cheeks is $5,000, still less than a Birkin or a pair of Christian Louboutin boots, and lasts six to eight months.