Where? The Holt Renfrew company has a chain of nine stores in Canada, including outlets in Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Calgary. The Bloor Street shop in Toronto - one of three in the city - was named store of the year by the National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers in 2004, after a US$33 million renovation. The shop is undergoing a 6,000 sq ft expansion, which will be revealed in November.
Who? The store was originally founded as a hat shop in Quebec City in 1837 by Irishman William Samuel Henderson. A few years later, Henderson introduced furs and sold the company to his brother. In 1860, G.R. Renfrew became a partner, followed by John Holt in 1867. The company was officially renamed Holt Renfrew & Co in 1908. In the 1930s, Holt Renfrew began stocking international designers and the company secured an exclusive presentation of Christian Dior
haute couture furs. International cosmetics and fragrances were also added to the shelves.
The vibe: the interior is designed by world-renowned design firm Burdifilek and has garnered top honours for its displays of evening bags, cosmetics and fine jewellery. The atmosphere is sleek and chic with a sense of luxury lifestyle. The decor embraces exotic woods and has a sensitive colour palette.
Fashion finds: the store boasts a wide array of young designer labels for men and women, including Roland Mouret, Rick Owens, Badgley Mischka, Alexander McQueen and Neil Barrett. It also stocks more established names such as Lanvin, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Chanel, Balenciaga, Jil Sander and Akris. There is a selection of accessories from the likes of Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co.
Extras: Holt Renfrew has personal shoppers in every store and a concierge service that can secure tickets for the best shows. The shop also boasts a free makeover service, which features guest make-up artists. Customers who want to refuel with lunch or a drink can do so in the cafe, whose Poilane bread is flown in directly from Paris.
For a full list of stores see www.holtrenfrew.com.