Ever since the French retail giant Sephora opened its new flagship in Toronto's Eaton Centre on Nov. 20, local beauty mavens have had an extra 3,700 square feet in which to indulge their fancies. Located across the hall from the store's previous location, it offers a slew of flashy new features, including an extensive lash bar, eight tricked-out nail stations and a cutting-edge fragrance playground dubbed the Sensorium.
"We're excited to reveal our latest and greatest in this new location," Lori Castagna, Sephora Canada's vice-president of merchandising and marketing, enthuses, noting that the company opened its first Canadian store at the Eaton Centre in 2004.
Of the new Toronto outlet's many offerings, the sci-fi-esque Sensorium, which features tablet computers and automated fragrance-spritzing flowers, is among the obvious highlights; here, customers choose fragrances based on their emotional and aesthetic responses to scents rather than consulting traditional note charts.
Visitors to the new store will also find a fully stocked lash bar offering opulent designs from Shu Uemura and Make Up For Ever. Demo lashes are provided on wands, which customers can hold up to their eyes to "try on" looks. Sephora employees are also on hand to apply lashes once they have been purchased.
Throughout the store, shelves are weighted with a wide range of hard-to-find brands, including Amore Pacific, Atelier Cologne, Nude, Ciaté, Nails Inc. and Illamasqua. Make Up For Ever, which has a devoted cult following, has taken up residence in a store-within-the-store.
At the nail studio – sure to become a locus for the manicure– obsessed – candy-coloured displays show off the latest polishes and accessories. There are also eight Ready Set Polish stations, each displaying a nail trend and step-by-step directions on how to get the looks.
Attractions aside, Sephora's Toronto expansion – the latest in a spate of bold operational strokes by both foreign and Canadian style brands – is yet another sign of confidence in this country's retail scene. "Our Canadian clients," Castagna says, "are blessed with both American and European influences and know what's happening in the beauty arena. They definitely know what they're looking for when they come into our stores."