What’s new in beauty, fashion, travel and more


Here’s what’s new and noteworthy from the Style Advisor desk, from Japanese-inspired skincare to Chanel’s spring collection.


One of the world’s first concept stores prepares for its next evolution

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It’s unclear whether Carla Sozzani, the Italian multihyphenate who launched the fabled concept store 10 Corso Como in 1991, knew what an enduring impact its premise would have – or, what changes it would undergo throughout its still-unfolding history.

Reputed to be a first-of-its-kind idea that came to unify artistic programming along with retail and hospitality components under one chic roof, the Milan address and its brand was acquired by entrepreneur Tiziana Fausti in 2020. This past fall, its new owners announced that a massive project to re-envision, redesign and renovate the iconic space was underway.

Interdisciplinary agency 2050+, founded by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (formerly a partner at OMA), was tasked with evolving 10 Corso Como’s lauded reputation as a cultural hub. New “environments” in the building will be unveiled in different stages beginning this spring. Along with exclusive product launches – past 10 Corso Como collaborators include Giorgio Armani, Kvadrat/Raf Simons, MM6 Maison Margiela and K-Way – shoppers will see a schedule of public exhibitions and events roll out.

Within 10 Corso Como’s updated walls, expect to see a string of shows activated by art critic and curator Alessandro Rabottini, as well as fashion-focused exhibitions curated by Alessio de’Navasques, a lecturer at Sapienza University in Rome. A selection of rare books, global magazine titles, design and tech-centric pieces will be part of its product lineup. Given its firm place atop the annals of design-minded spaces, it will all be worth the wait.

For more information, visit 10corsocomo.com.


The villa Noailles in the South of France grounds Chanel’s spring collection

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The villa Noailles in the South of France grounds Chanel’s spring collectionHandout

Rain pounded the cobblestone streets of Paris’ left bank on the morning of Chanel’s Spring-Summer 2024 ready-to-wear show. But inside the Grand Palais Éphémère, a temporary exhibition space set up in the Champ-de-Mars while the Grand Palais proper is revamped for this summer’s Olympic Games, projected collages of oversized florals and images of the south of France filled the walls. Along with a runway cast wearing beachy stripes, multicoloured tweeds and bold hues, it was an uplifting statement of the vibrant season to come.

“This Spring-Summer 2024 Ready-to-Wear collection is an ode to liberty and to movement and tells a story that has its origins in the gardens of the villa Noailles,” noted creative director Virginie Viard in the presentation’s show notes. The International Style home, constructed in 1923 on the Mediterranean in Hyères by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, is often the backdrop for Chanel’s culture-focused moments, including sponsorship of Hyères’ annual International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories. For Viard, however, her main focus was the property’s landscape including a geometric grid of beds that are studied by garden aficionados for how they soften modernism’s stark angles.

“Sophistication and informality, the tweed throughout the collection, sportswear and lace: I tried to bring one thing and its opposite together in the coolest way possible,” noted Viard. “And the gardens and swimming pool of the villa Noailles, that exceptional setting, lend themselves to that rather well.” These varying elements that anchored the collection’s wanderlust included jackets in striped terrycloth, colourful Bermuda shorts and camera-shaped bags in the house’s signature quilted leather.

For more information, visit chanel.com.


With an upcoming location in Toronto, Monos’s retail aspirations travel beyond its West Coast base

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Vancouver luggage company Monos is on a roll, one that by all appearances is as smooth as the 360-degree spinner wheels on its suitcases. The brand not only weathered the pandemic’s travel restrictions but, in the past two years, has been in rapid expansion mode, one that’s informed by the Japanese concept from which its name originated. “Mono no aware” is the “profound appreciation of fleeting moments,” says Kathleen Westerhout, senior director of product at the company, “and we really take that into consideration for how we build the brand.”

Spring 2022 saw the launch of a clothing line, a capsule of T-shirts and long-sleeve tops, shorts and pants made in Vancouver of cotton with a bit of stretch that offers the kind of comfort and ease that’s perfect for air travel. Last year, the company added a small collection of linen pieces meant to be worn in the heat. “They’re great styles to travel with to warm places or to just lounge in the warmer weather here,” Westerhout says. Last year, Monos also established a brick-and-mortar presence in Vancouver, opening a spacious shop with grand arches that evoke the feeling of emerging from a jetway into the airport at a new destination. It’s what Amanda Calouro, senior director of retail expansion, calls “a little bit of escapism within the city.”

This year, Toronto will get its own shop, on Ossington Avenue. “We’ve really leaned into the localization of Ossington’s Portuguese heritage, so there will be a bit of a unique flair to the design palette,” Calouro says. Suitcases, packing accessories and clothing will be available as well as a new monogram lettering service that will enable shoppers to personalize a luggage tag.

Toronto’s Monos store is scheduled to open in the summer of 2024. For more information, visit monos.com.


London’s revamped Old War Office houses the first Raffles in England

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The Old War Office is known for many things, among them, being Winston Churchill’s station while he was Secretary of War and, later, where decisions were made for D-Day. It was where MI5 and MI6 were conceived and was a frequent hideaway for James Bond author Ian Fleming, who would make use of the libraries. Today, the OWO (pronounced oh-whoa) is the site of Raffles’ first hotel in the U.K., a stunning property in London’s Whitehall district with 10 Downing St. and Scotland Yard as neighbours.

You’ll find everything you’d expect from a Raffles here: impeccable service, beautiful rooms with lush duvets and an impressive cocktail list featuring British ingredients in the Guards Bar and Lounge, the cozy cocktail bar on street level. But the work the company did to innovate in the space while preserving history is where the hotel really shines.

The grand staircase, which has guest reception tucked behind it, was the epicentre of daily meetings Churchill would hold during the Second World War. Five heritage suites are repurposed former offices used by the likes of War Secretary Lord Haldane. Original wood paneling, marble, fireplaces and room accents have been preserved in the suites, which can be booked for events or overnight stays. Guests can book a tour of the hotel’s historical public spaces during their stay.

There’s as much going on below ground as there is above. The subterranean Spy Bar is for hotel guests only and features one of James Bond’s Aston Martins floating above the bar. The spacious four-floor 27,000-square-foot Guerlain spa offers guests and day visitors an underground sanctuary. Amenities include a 20-metre swimming pool, sauna and steam room. Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco leads three of the hotel’s eight restaurants, including a chef’s table experience and Saison, his more relaxed Mediterranean-focused restaurant housed in a former library.

Stays from £930/night through theowo.london.


Tatcha’s Japanese-inspired skincare helps care for oily complexions

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Tatcha’s Japanese-inspired skincare helps care for oily complexionsHandout

Travel to Japan has inspired countless Western creative types and entrepreneurs, from architect Frank Lloyd Wright to filmmaker Sophia Copolla. For Vicky Tsai, a trip to Kyoto in 2009 led her to launch her Tatcha line of skincare. Suffering from burnout after working on Wall Street for a decade, the visit moved her to create a collection informed by Japanese beauty traditions.

Today, Tatcha is a top seller at Sephora. This season, the brand is expanding its reach with the launch of the Matcha Cleanse, a facial cleanser designed to care for the unique needs of oily complexions. Although it’s tempting to wash oily skin with a harsh formula that leaves behind a squeaky-clean surface, strong cleansers can disrupt the skin’s natural balance, resulting in the production of more oil that leaves a greasy surface. The Matcha Cleanse is a fragrance- and soap-free gel that decongests pores without irritating skin, controlling oil for improved makeup wear throughout the day. Its star ingredient is Japanese Kyo-Matcha – a.k.a.“the princess of green tea” – sourced from Uji, Japan, where it’s grown under a parasol for a few weeks before harvest, a practice that increases the tea’s amount of the amino-acid theanine.

“When I visited Japan last year, I was so impressed by how meticulously they cleansed and cared for their skin, and how simple and intentional each step of their ritual was,” says Daniel Martin, Tatcha’s director of artistry. “For me, a lot of that comes down to luxurious product textures and wanting to put it on the skin.”

Tatcha The Matcha Cleanse, $54 at Sephora (sephora.ca) and through tatcha.com.


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