Holding court on the corner of Toronto’s Bay and Bloor intersection since the 1970s, the Maison Birks boutique is an iconic landmark on the Mink Mile. Recently, the store underwent a complete renovation, evolving alongside the neighbourhood as it welcomed even more luxury names. “Maison Birks as a company is steeped in history yet constantly evolving,” says company president and chief executive Jean-Christophe Bédos. “We have totally transformed our store in order to meet today’s clients’ expectations in terms of retail experience.”
It’s a transformation that’s visible from inside and out at the store, most notably via the floor-to-ceiling windows, which give the place a bright and airy effect uncommon in a boutique stocking such high-net-worth goods. At the refreshed jewellery counters, the store continues to carry long-time favourites such as Cartier, the Birks in-house collection and Van Cleef & Arpels, which has its own street-facing entrance. The bridal section offers a relaxed setting for a couple or group of friends to try on rings.
One new addition that’s exclusive to Maison Birks in North America is Chaumet, a French jewellery brand founded in 1780 and famed for being the official jeweller to Empress Joséphine. Chaumet operates around the Napoleonic-inspired pillars of power, love and nature. “Of course, behind this is an emblematic object – the tiara,” Chaumet CEO Jean-Marc Mansvelt says. “If you think about the painting by David of the coronation, you’ll see that all the ladies have tiaras.” To that end, Chaumet has reinterpreted the royal spirit of the empress in rings, bracelets, necklaces and even modern-day crowns.
Maison Birks, 55 Bloor St. W., Toronto, 416-922-2266, maisonbirks.com.
A new Canadian company has a solution to keep dog walkers, joggers and cyclists safe after dark. Noktillu offers reflective iron-on designs that can be applied to your existing everyday clothing. The stylish designs are made using 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material, which is used by EMS, police departments and firefighters. With multiple patterns such as stripes, flowers and hearts, Noktillu is ready to be added to everything from backpacks to dog collars and running pants, making wearers more visible and less vulnerable while they’re enjoying the great outdoors. For more information, visit noktillu.com.
Fashion has gotten even more functional with the launch of Kors x Tech. This new capsule of high-performance apparel and accessories for men comes courtesy of U.S. designer Michael Kors. As an extension of the Fall 2019 Michael Kors Men’s line, Kors x Tech is designed for the global traveller, combining sporty silhouettes with adaptable fabrics that feature UV protection. The collection includes a tracksuit and car coat with a built-in accessory charger, as well as carry-on accessories such as backpacks and duffel bags with strategically placed compartments for devices. For more information, visit michaelkors.ca.
Spending an evening doing a puzzle at the cottage is a tried-and-true summer pastime, and one that a new Canadian puzzle company is aiming to be a part of. Four Point Puzzles is a Toronto-based puzzle maker that launched their first puzzle design this week. Their debut is the 1,000-piece moon puzzle, a realistic image of the moon that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch and the first time that humankind set foot on the moon. What’s even more unusual about this puzzle is its round shape, which is 26.5 inches in diameter. For more information, visit fourpointpuzzles.com.
A group of Toronto high schoolers are making waves and winning awards for their feminist fashion line. She Clothing Co. was started nearly three years ago by four Grade 11 students at Havergal College. This social enterprise uses fashion as a vehicle to promote feminism and conversations surrounding female empowerment. Selling sweatshirts, ball caps and T-shirts with slogans such as “Equality Now” online, the students have raised funds for various organizations, most recently through a scholarship for a new STEM program for girls at the Jean Augustine Centre. In June, She Clothing Co. was awarded Startup Canada’s 2019 Ontario Region Young Entrepreneur Award.