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Meet the new Fashion Santa, not the same as the old Fashion Santa. (Chrisl Nicholls/Yorkdale)
Meet the new Fashion Santa, not the same as the old Fashion Santa. (Chrisl Nicholls/Yorkdale)

Santa, maybe? It’s Yorkdale versus the original Fashion Santa in this festive fracas Add to ...

Last week, the Internet nearly lost its Christmas cookies when Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre revealed a new Fashion Santa. Model Adam Martin (pictured above) would be taking over from Paul Mason, who originated the role of a hip St. Nick in 2014 – and catapulted into the social media stratosphere thanks to Justin Bieber’s selfie with Mason’s seasonal persona posted on Instagram last year. Mason’s take on Kris Kringle was a far cry from the holy jolly Santa of yore, and coincided with a new interest in Canada’s cool status. The country was credited with reinventing the festive figure in a way that was cheeky and chic.

The news of this season’s change was reported on as far away as Hollywood, where gossip site TMZ shared a video interview in which Mason expressed his frustration with the casting switch. “I made this character based on my life,” he said. “My mom passed away and I stopped shaving and grew the beard. No one can make up this stuff and no one can create a character unless you are that character, in a way.”

In a classic case of he-said-they-said, the case of Fashion Santa has now become an intellectual property matter. Mason said that there was a disagreement between the mall and him over who owned the rights to Fashion Santa. Lucia Connor, marketing director for Yorkdale, explained that it was a breakdown in communication that led to the change in direction.

“After two successful years, Yorkdale reached out to Paul multiple times since spring for its Holiday 2016 marketing campaign,” she says. “We held off until very late in the season before moving forward with this current campaign in the hopes that Paul would continue to collaborate with us. When he didn’t respond, we moved forward in October to create the 2016 holiday campaign.” A representative for Mason – who has appeared in campaigns for Saks Fifth Avenue and Montauk Sofa – told The Globe and Mail he is travelling and was unavailable to comment for this story.

Mason and Yorkdale’s partnership began when the model was brought on board for a holiday campaign to raise money for the SickKids Foundation. Yorkdale will continue to donate $1 to SickKids for every selfie shared with the hashtag #YorkdaleFashionSanta (the campaign raised $10,000 in 2015). One of Mason’s supporters, on the other hand, has taken to using the hashtag #ImWithPaul to rally his online fan base and make the case that, to them at least, there’s only one Fashion Santa.

THIS WEEK’S STYLE HAPPENINGS

For the very nice on your list, Saint Laurent recently unveiled a second Canadian location after opening its first freestanding store in Vancouver last July. Located in a new wing of Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, the 3,000-square-foot space stocks ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, jewellery and sunglasses for men and women. Expect to see an evolving aesthetic as recently appointed creative director Anthony Vaccarello’s pieces for spring 2017 hit the racks. For more information, visit www.ysl.com/ca.

Montreal-based luxury accessories brand Want Les Essentiels is invoking sartorial desires of a new sort with its first women’s footwear collection. The five-piece line was created for the stylish woman on the go, and includes a wedge derby, a sneaker, an ankle boot, a crepe derby and a zip boot in a smart, neutral palette of Bordeaux, black, mocha and white. Available at the brand’s boutiques in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and New York and online, the collection’s prices range from $350 to $695. For more information, visit www.wantlesessentiels.com.

As holiday craft fair season ramps up, one not-to-be-missed Vancouver show is Toque. Running from Dec. 2 to 4, the event is also a fundraiser for Western Front, an artist-run centre for contemporary art and music established in 1973. Attended annually by 2,000 visitors, expect to find handmade cards, textiles, jewellery and ceramics, as well as a limited-edition artist-designed tea towel commissioned for the event from artists including Jason McLean, Cindy Mochizuki, Jeff Hamada, Julie Morstad, Instant Coffee, Sylvain Sailly, Arvo Leo and Casey Wei. For more information, visit www.front.bc.ca/toque.

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