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Four cosmetic brands that are taking experiential shopping to new levels

French brand has opened the Coco Game Center at Holt Renfrew Bloor in Toronto, a Japanese-arcade-inspired pop-up.

KITTY HOLLAND

The increasingly visual nature of our social interactions online, along with the renewed emphasis on self-care, has proven to be a boon for the beauty industry. Last September, the NPD Group reported that the Canadian beauty industry had grown by 9.4 per cent to $1.13-billion (YTD). As the consumer appetite for skincare, fragrance and cosmetics continues to grow, brands are finding creative ways to engage with their existing clients while hopefully attracting new ones. Increasingly, that's through brand-awareness initiatives at the retail level, as companies experiment with new in-store concepts to woo beauty junkies.

Here are four that stand out for taking experiential shopping in new directions:

Chanel Coco Game Centre

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Chanel is turning to Tokyo for the launch of its new Rouge Coco Lip Blush, a two-in-one gel for lips and cheeks. The French brand has opened the Coco Game Center at Holt Renfrew Bloor in Toronto, a Japanese-arcade-inspired pop-up that includes Chanel's very chic take on Pong and Guitar Hero. On until April 15, this interactive pop-up is exclusive to North America, and offers visitors a completely immersive escape into the world of Chanel.

Flawless by Friday

This Toronto-based skincare brand is participating in Cadillac Fairview's concept pop-up CF Flower Market spaces. Running now until April 1 at CF locations across the country, the Flower Markets were inspired by open-air markets of Europe. It's the first time that Flawless by Friday is taking part in a temporary retail setup, and will be present at 14 locations across Canada including Montreal, Toronto, London, Ont., Markham, Ont., Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Fume Scent Lounge

With the intention of revolutionizing the traditional perfume sales model, where clients are often approached and spritzed on their walk through a department store's cosmetics section, beauty brand Coty has opened a permanent Canadian retail space dedicated to fragrance. The Fume Scent Lounge is located inside the Hudson's Bay at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. Alongside fragrances by Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Miu Miu, Bottega Veneta and more, the lounge features curated playlists, non-spray inhalers and a quiz to find custom scent suggestions.

Atelier Cologne

French Maison de Parfum Atelier Cologne is joining the Toronto retail scene with its first Canadian boutique. Opening April 14 at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre, the 625-square-foot space will stock 141 products (soaps, shower gels, body lotions, candles) as well as fragrance consultations and product personalization such as leather case engravings. It's also launching a biannual print magazine to share its brand story and world with Canadians.

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This week's style happenings

Italian home-design company Scavolini is opening a new Toronto showroom. In addition to its famous kitchens, the Toronto showroom at 1330 Castlefield Ave. will include bathroom concepts as well as pieces for other parts of your home. For more information, visit scavolinitoronto.com.

Nordstrom Rack is making its Canadian debut with three new locations this spring. Opening at Vaughan Mills in Vaughan, Ont., this week and in May at One Bloor in Toronto as well as Deerfoot Meadows in Calgary on April 26, the off-price division of Nordstrom offers clothing at as much as 70 per cent off. Additional locations will open their doors this fall in Edmonton, Mississauga and Ottawa.

From March 22 to 26, NovaScotian Crystal is hosting a rare sale. The Halifax-based company is Canada's only maker of mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal, and this online sale will feature their Craftsmen's Favourites in all categories at 25 per cent off. For more information, visit novascotiancrystal.com.

Just two weeks after presenting its Fall 2018 collection in Paris, Saint Laurent has opened its second Toronto store. Located in Holt Renfrew Bloor, the boutique has its own dedicated street entrance and stocks men's and women's products from all categories, including ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, sunglasses and jewellery.

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