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4 Holiday Shopping Hot Spots

Find something for everyone on your list – plus some fresh design inspo

By Eric Mutrie

Whether you’re seeking out sneakers or hand soap this holiday season, we know just where to send you. The city’s best new boutiques showcase great gifts inside dazzling interiors – meaning you may walk out with as many design ideas as you do stocking stuffers.

Below, we round up four recently opened shops that branch out beyond our usual furniture and decor focus – but feature delightful, inspiring interiors nonetheless.

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For superb-smelling soaps: Aesop
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dl-1116-aesop2Aesop’s serene apothecaries beckon to well-groomed aesthetes who love clean lines as much as clean hands. Designed by local firm Superkül, the Australian beauty brand’s Rosedale location references the natural qualities of the skincare products on offer, which are known for their alluring herbal scents.

Orderly rows of the company’s cleansers and toners are interspersed with lush plants on white metal shelving that recalls a garden trellis. A feature wall behind the checkout counter is painted in a high-impact aqua-green hue (also used to great effect in a ritzy bathroom project we recently featured), while brass faucets and lighting add some bling.

Best bet: Fend off flu season germs and dry skin with Reverence handwash ($51). Finely milled pumice exfoliates to ensure paws stay in smooth shape through to next spring. 1116 Yonge St  416 944 3136  Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-6  aesop.com

> Looking for more bathroom vanity supplies? Check out our 2015 gift guide for beautiful designophiles.

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Photo by Scott Norsworthy.

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For the commuter short on time: Shinola
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dl-1116-shinolaclockThis Detroit-based brand reflects the entrepreneurial energy fuelling its city’s ongoing revitalization. By putting former auto industry employees back to work making luxury watches, bikes and leather goods, Shinola creates American-made goods that take the Motor City back to its manufacturing roots.

The company’s name is lifted from a shoe polish brand, and its Toronto shop – designed by Shinola’s in-house team – shows no shortage of refined shine. Bikes dangle from the ceiling alongside lighting made from industrial pipe elements. A watch bar showcases band and face options, while the rich texture of leather impresses against white walls and white oak millwork.

Best bet: A series of colourful clocks designed in collaboration with General Electric ($495) are a fun, oversized take on Shinola’s signature wrist watches. 1000 Queen St W  416 531 6600  Mon-Wed 11-8, Thu-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-8  shinola.com

> Looking for more gritty gear? Check out our 2014 gift guide for weekend warriors.

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For the on-the-move cool kid: Livestock
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dl-1116-anonymousism-1Stocked with limited-edition Nike and Adidas sneakers galore, this apparel and footwear shop’s latest location brings edgy urban streetwear to Roncesvalles.

Since the shop was envisioned by Vancouver lighting designer Lukas Peet (whose ANDlight pendants are on offer at Klaus), it’s no surprise that innovative LED fixtures take the spotlight. Thin black anodized steel fixtures hang are hung rhythmically throughout the store, illuminating a space that contrasts super-minimalist displays with the rich textures added by the storefront’s original wood floors and brick walls. A modular rail system allows clothing racks and glowing shoe shelves to be reconfigured on the fly as seasons change, while glass showcase displays set in concrete frames present products with dramatic sci-fi-like austerity.

Best bet: Don’t let lame socks detract from cool kicks. Patterned jacquard-knit designs by Tokyo’s Anonymous Ism run steep ($38), but elevate your feet to Tokyo levels of cool – and keep them toasty. 406 Roncesvalles Ave  647 347 8046  Mon-Sun 11-8  deadstock.ca

> Looking for more stuff with street cred? Check out our 2015 gift guide for indulgent urbanites.

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For the dreamy bookworm: Warby Parker
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dl-1116-warbyparker-2 Call it the Le Corbusier effect. Perhaps in homage to that famous four-eyed architect, many designers – perhaps even a few with perfect vision – adopt cool glasses as part of their trademark look. Now thanks to Warby Parker, finding that signature pair is a whole lot easier. The optical experts at the brand’s Toronto boutique serve up not-so-nerdy professor-esque eyewear at student-friendly prices.

Defined by a palette of brass, marble and walnut, the Queen West space has a retro-glam vibe that matches the vintage-inspired frames on display. A “Reference Desk” sign above the checkout counter and various stacks of well-worn books add to the old-timey library feel, as does a Maira Kalman mural depicting a dapper cast of bespectacled individuals working their way through a good read.

Best bet: Even if you aren’t headed on a beach vacation this winter, the tropical stylings of the Roland sunglasses in rose guava ($150) are sure to put you in a sunny mood. 684 Queen St W  437 889 0046  Daily 11-7  warbyparker.com

> Looking for more scholarly staples? Read our 2015 gift guide for the organizational enthusiast.


Categories: Hot Spots
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