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From Chanel’s new skincare line to a cozy cocktail bar in Picton, Ontario, here is what’s making news this month


Chanel’s new skincare collection finds inspiration in classic proportions

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The golden ratio has been setting the standard of ideal proportions since it was first identified in Ancient Greece. Now, Chanel is applying its principles to skincare. For its new collection Le Lift Pro, which includes a toning concentrate that redefines the cheeks and jawline and a cream that boosts volume, an architectural approach is applied to maintaining the structure of the skin.

The line’s key component is an enzymatic ingredient produced by small bees, which was identified at Chanel’s open-sky laboratory in Costa Rica. “It has exceptional properties on the skin’s extracellular matrix – the corset of the skin – a structure that is essential to the architecture of the face,” says Armelle Souraud, international director of scientific communications at Chanel. She explains that, over time, skin loses its ability to maintain its structure. The result is the face’s youthful V shape sagging to become more of an A. Combined with a series of specialized application techniques that include facial massage, Souraud says Le Lift Pro’s ingredients “lead to a significant increase of the quality of the skin matrix and its capacity to maintain skin in tension.”

To help with application, Chanel offers a sleek tool inspired by professional massage techniques. “Its ergonomic shape facilitates the penetration of the treatments and redefines the volumes and contours of the face to help restore the appearance of the youthful triangle,” Souraud says. – CAITLIN AGNEW

Le Lift Pro Crème Volume, $230, Concentré Contours, $240, limited edition massage tool, $108 at Chanel beauty counters (


The whimsical world of Christian Louboutin extends to kids and pets

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Soon the whole family will be able to wear red soles. Inspired by the graphic illustrations of cartoon comic book superheroes, LoubiFamily brings a colourful imaginary world by French designer Christian Louboutin to life through a new product line for the young – and the young-at-heart.

“The idea for LoubiFamily was born during lockdown. For the first time in a long time, I got the chance to spend several months in the same place with my closest friends, my daughters and our dog,” Louboutin says. “I wanted to explore the idea of adulthood for children and childhood for adults, transposing fabrics and colours and playing with details.”

The collection includes shoes for children and adults as well as pet accessories, all incorporating Louboutin’s signature red. The Melodie Chick ballerina flat features the same scalloped edge as the Hot Chick Pump. This recognizable Louboutin silhouette is reimagined for a younger audience in five versatile hues with a snap button closure. For four-legged friends, leashes, collars and harnesses are embellished with spikes in a style reminiscent of the Carasky collection of studded leather goods. For pet playtime, there’s even a replica of the spiked Louis Shoe, the only Loub you’ll actually let your dog chew on.

LoubiFamily will debut in New York, London and Shanghai this month before its worldwide rollout. A flagship store for the collection is scheduled to open in Paris in 2023.

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In New York, Fendi celebrates the 25th birthday of a true fashion icon

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Can a single sartorial moment kickstart a cultural phenomenon? The quarter century history of the Fendi Baguette bag would suggest it’s possible.

The Baguette’s sleek design, conceptualized by Silvia Venturini Fendi and paired with a redesigned logo by Karl Lagerfeld, helped make it one of the first It bags of the aughts. But for many outside of the fashion world, their first introduction to the bag was seeing it tucked under the arm of actor Sarah Jessica Parker as New Yorker Carrie Bradshaw on the third season of Sex and the City. When a thief demands she hand over her bag, Bradshaw corrects him. “It’s not a bag, it’s a Baguette,” she says. The quip cemented the accessory in fashion history and pop culture.

It’s no wonder then that Fendi’s current creative director Kim Jones chose the Big Apple to host the Baguette’s 25th anniversary in September. The show was a parade of reinterpretations. Versions of the bag were stitched onto baseball caps and silk socks or shown as pockets on sweaters and jackets. There were a range of collaboration versions too. Tiffany & Co lent their signature blue to purses and clothing pieces, including an opera coat worn for the show’s finale by supermodel Linda Evangelista. Japanese luggage brand Porter created a utilitarian take in hard-wearing bonded nylon and Parker herself co-designed a sequin version.

The biggest moment of the night was a 10-look finale by designer Marc Jacobs, whose iterations reflected the designer’s penchant for grandiose silhouettes. It was the kind of headline-making spectacle that’s likely to keep the Baguette top of mind for another 25 years.

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Picton’s Russ & Co. might be Canada’s most handsome cocktail bar

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Russ & Co.Handout

Entering the warm glow of Russ & Co., a dimly lit boîte tucked under the marquee of the Regent Theatre on Main Street in Picton, Ont., is like stepping back in time. The painted tin ceiling, burlwood panelling and shelves arrayed with an artful clutter of books, antique trophies and taxidermy seem of the same vintage as the circa-1918 cinema. But this cozy cocktail bar is the new kid on the block.

Together with artist Christine Flynn, who designed the bar and is also a partner in the business, owners Russ Coughlin and Rob Laine wanted “to create a space that feels like it has been there for years,” Flynn says. The room is lined with elaborate cabinetry that once outfitted a turn-of-the-century pharmacy in Hungary. “It came in what felt like a million pieces,” she says recalling the painstaking installation. “Now it looks like it’s been here forever.” That apothecary elegance was the cue for everything from vintage glassware to gallery walls of photos found in local archives.

Likewise, Russ & Co.’s cocktail menu evokes the past through twists on the classics. The Viva Chile is a Pisco sour that swaps in bourbon-infused vanilla bean simple syrup and adds a warming note via a dash of vanilla-fig bitters. Sex in the County, its popular take on the Cosmopolitan, is in autumn mode, transformed by cranberry-infused simple syrup and bourbon-infused vanilla bean into a sultry sipper.

For holiday, the Pumpkin Spice Sour is a softer take on a whiskey sour with subtle hints of pumpkin pie filling, while Blood in the Water, an easy-drinking gin cocktail named in homage to Prince Edward County’s surfers, features a green chartreuse rinse and blood orange aperitivo. Through the winter, expect more experimentation such as a cold-brew martini featuring Cherry Valley’s Stone Temple Coffee.

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Kwento captures a sense of whimsy in cakes

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Food entrepreneur Shannon Nocos didn’t intend to make a name for herself through baking. But like so many others during the pandemic, she found her Toronto business, Kwento, needed to adapt and happily found success in that switch. “The items that I was making were smaller portions,” Nocos says of the tantalizing treats, from tarts to Sapin-Sapin – a rice and coconut dessert dish from her ancestral Philippines – that composed Kwento’s initial offering. While all delightful, they weren’t what customers were craving in that moment.

So Nocos pondered what larger-scale delicacies she could create and landed on quirky cakes. “I had to pivot in a direction where I thought, okay, what can I do where I’m still practising what I’ve learned to some extent and I’m still being creative?” Kwento now sells almost 200 cakes a month including vegan and gluten-free options that capture the decadent direction of her imagination.

In contrast to the social media-driven trend of cakes-that-don’t-look-like-cakes, the Kwento aesthetic is gregarious, nostalgic and very cake-forward. Icing playfully cascades, fringes and swoops. Cherries, occasionally dipped in glitter, as well as flowers and sumptuous fruits are often used to top her show-stopping goodies.

Kwento’s cake flavours range from carrot to Ube or Pandan chiffon, options that point to Nocos’s passion for her heritage. This celebration of culture is also evident in non-edible products. The Toronto-based artist duo Munggo has rendered Kwento’s cakes in a sweet lineup of stickers, a T-shirt and a tote bag. – ODESSA PALOMA PARKER

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