Filed under: Shopping Safaris

Benelux Beckons: Intro

Fashion Junkie scopes out the mind-blowing Benelux style scene. Read all about it in this special shopping safari report, live from Antwerp and Amsterdam.

Part I: Dutch Treat (Amsterdam)

Looking for an unbelievably cool urban getaway? Cash-in those frequent flyer miles for a jaunt to Amsterdam – a surprisingly stylish destination that has much more to offer than just sex (Red Light District), drugs, cheese and clogs. A culture-infused Dutch capital filled with Old World charm, romantic canals, floating flower markets (think tulips galore), monumental museums (Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Rijks and the Anne Frank House) and mouth-watering frites, it’s the jaw-dropping designer fashion that will make your heart flutter. So grab a Heineken, hop on that bike rental and get ready to cruise the streets (and shops!) like a local.
-By: Dara Fleischer

the only way to trek around town

Photography  Photography © Michael Thieberg

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Fashion Junkie’s Magical Manicure

  • PIR Cosmetics
  • Cult cosmetics, skincare, haircare, fragrance, special f/x make-up and exotic escape manicures
  • 25 Belair Street, Toronto (Yorkville)
  • 416-513-1603
  • Bay
  • Click here for a store map!

Eeeeeuuuwww! What have you done to your hands Fashion Junkie? In a matter of minutes, I’ve unconsciously ripped every cuticle right down to the bone. What can I say, nothing beats the stress of urban living. I’ve already cut out chocolate, coffee, and even yoga won’t help my panic-stricken state. C’mon Fashion Junkie, get a hold of yourself! Breathe… inhale, exhale. Talk about total calamity. I’ve got a trendy party to crash tonight and hands that look like hell. Hmmm… I could hide the damage with a pair of sexy silk gloves. Nope. Way too cheezy. Think Fashion Junkie, think! Of course, Pir manicure to the rescue… the coveted nail salon in Yorkville touted for their Exotic Escape Manicure Bar. Sounds too good to be true, right? Follow me and I’ll show you co-owner Joanna Black’s manicure magic.

Don’t expect a typical manicure here, ok? In case you didn’t know, Pir Cosmetics is the hottest new concept to hit Toronto. This small ground-level shop is every beauty junkies dream. Neatly stocked with cult beauty brands including Shu Uemura, special f/x make-up for film sets, Two Faced, Taut, Joe Blasco and other hard-to-find brands you’d normally find at big beauty stores in the U.S. Catch my drift?

I’m so side-tracked from the serious cosmetic selection, I nearly forget what I’m here for. I hear a faint voice echoing in the distance, “are you ready to embark on your journey?” Ok, what drug is being slipped into my Perrier? Yeah, right!

Whew—all this beauty under one roof is making my heart beat a mile a minute. Gotta sit down and focus. A quick glance at the nail menu and I’m in total ecstasy. Joanna asks me to choose from one of four exotic destinations abroad including The Mediterranean, The Orient, The Middle East or The West Indies. Hmmm, should I cancel my vacation plans to Miami now? I’m dying to visit every location but only have time and money for The Middle East… manicure that is ($38). Besides, I couldn’t really handle those long flights abroad anyway. “Think Lawrence of Arabia and lose yourself in the mystical horizons and starry nights of the Middle East. The lavish scents of bergamot, sage and cardamon tone and condition hands while calling forth a hidden hedonism.” Not bad for a one hour fix, eh? A light sip of Perrier with a wedge of lemon and I’m ready to embark on my journey abroad.

Middle Eastern music wafts from the speakers while my nails are gently cleansed and filed to perfection. I notice I’m surrounded by martini shakers and immediately get a mad craving for a dry martini. C’mon Fashion Junkie, they’re for the special floral peppermint elixir that soothes your hands. Next, I’m super relaxed as my hands soak in a colourful floral elixir. You definitely don’t get this kind of treatment at your drop-in Korean nail salon. Moments later, a fine, natural exfoliation scrub is gently applied to soften my sand-paper hands. They’re really dry, ok?

As if I’m not already in heaven, I’m told to get ready for the ultimate pampering experience with an invigorating hand and arm massage. Too bad this isn’t covered by health care. I’m wishing this would last forever!

A quick rinse and I’m ready to choose from a rainbow of top-of-the line Shu Uemura colours. This Japanese line is known for its’ superior quality. But of course quality means ca$h. For a long-lasting manicure, it’s a smart idea to buy a bottle of polish for do-it-yourself touch-ups at home. With one bottle of Shu Uemura polish at $24, you’d better choose wisely.

I’d look tres glam with any of these sexy sparkle polish, don’t ya think?

A refreshing spritz of Shu Uemura Deep Sea Water and a dab of moisturizing oil for the finishing touch. Wow! I’m amazed how smooth and silky my hands look and feel. At $38 a pop, I’d better stop abusing my cuticles. Yeah, right. Better put aside ca$h for my next trip to The Mediterranean pronto. Off to the party I go…

Top Colour Tips From Pir: Colour can heal the mind, body and soul, so listen up!

Red counters depression, lethargy, exhaustion and discouragement. Blue relieves fatigue and exhaustion and also helps meditation and reflection. Yellow stimulates creativity, enhances intuition, relieves headaches and harmonizes the nervous system. Green provides a feeling of tranquility, harmony and peace, reducing insomnia or irritable states.

Photography  Photography © Zack Medicoff

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Fashion Junkie’s Purse’nal Touch

  • Jeanne Lottie
  • 106 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto, Canada
  • 416-975-5115
  • Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.,Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

I’m so depressed, I must have the fashion blues. The leaves are turning and I have absolutely nothing new to wear for fall. Talk about total fashion calamity. Worst of all, I desperately need a durable, diva-esque bag to hold my Blackberry, lap top and other Fashion Junkie necessities. What’s that I see? A hot pink sign and store window shaped like a purse that says “Jeanne Lottie”? Hmmm… a funky hand bag store in the heart of Toronto’s trendy Yorkville district seems too good to be true. I’d better check this place out pronto.

Established since March ‘99, this dreamy ground level concept store is known for much more than affordable bags and accessories. Case in point: the funky Asian-style interior and Feng Shui vibe alone are worth the trip.

I feel right at home by the Zen tea bar with over 18 choices of tea. My favourites are the hand bag shaped chocolates at the cash, the soothing water fountain and plants located by the rock garden (all for sale!). Her bags are sold in stores throughout Canada (Brown’s), the U.S. (Betsey Johnson, Venus, Ann Taylor) and Australia.

The translation of Jeanne Lottie, in Chinese is Jun Lok Tai, or true happiness. I’m happy as can be surrounded by Jeanne’s assortment of hand bags in every conceivable colour, shape and style. I’m dizzy (but still very happy) from all the stunning designs including black and white pony, hot pink and brown leopard, beaded evening bags, grey flannel and mohair, plastic totes with hologrammed fish, metallic pet bags, orange bags with fuzzy pom poms and many more. Never mind Kate Spade (hand bags)—owner Jeanne Lottie, (a.k.a. Jane Ip) designs much hipper and functional bags and accessories. You’ll go crazy over her prices which range from only $40-$100 per bag! Talk about lucky find, eh? Ssshhh!!! It’s our secret, ok?

Mirror, mirror in my hand, who’s the fairest in this land? “Why, Fashion Junkie, of course!” These adorable make-up mirrors are selling like hot cakes. Buy ‘em while their still in stock! (Make-up mirror with beads, $30)

Jeanne also designs fabulous fake mohair scarves and matching bags such as this. I feel so glam in this fuzzy number and it is sneeze proof for all you allergy sufferers. What do you think? (Black mohair scarf, $35, hand bag with fake Mongolian lamb fur, $45)

Jeanne’s mission is to make sure every customer feels right at home. I know she’s serious when she tells me to squat next to Molly the cow for this strange photo op. In case you’re wondering, this muff is made with real mohair, $250. Yes, Molly’s for sale too, $500. Any takers? Mooooving right along…

Jeanne is such a god! Her philosophy is “buy more for less.” Don’t ‘cha just love this woman?! Forget about those pricey designer baguettes you’ve seen in all the latest fashion magazines. Jeanne’s inexpensive collection changes every season so you’ll have serious variety to choose from including this super stylish evening bag ($60) without draining your bank account.

It’s hard to believe Jeanne’s a self-trained designer! This metallic pet bag is so smart and stylish—if only I could convince my hubbie to buy that chocolate brown daschund I’ve been eyeing at the pet store. (Silver metallic pet bag, $50)

Ditch that old leather case and answer your calls in style. This sexy beaded cell phone holder is perfect for a swanky night on the town or that P. Diddy Hampton’s bash I’m praying I’ll get invited to. Oh well Fashion Junkie, don’t hold your breath. I guess I’ll buy it anyway. (Beaded cell phone holder, $25)

No need to work yourself into a tizzy cuz you can’t afford one $2100 Fendi baguette bag with sequins For only $60, you can buy an entire collection of stylish and practical Jeanne Lottie evening bags. Photo of Dara and Jane Ip, founder of Jeanne Lottie..

I’m hoping Jeanne will give me a lifetime supply of her amazing bags for writing this story. Yeah, keep dreaming Fashion Junkie.

Photography  Photography © Zack Medicoff

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Filed: Shopping Safaris, Toronto