Hi, everyone! Three cheers for the fact it's Friday! It's been a weird week- work hasn't been particularly busy, and yet I find myself rather exhausted today. The week started off with very sad and shocking news- I am a huge David Bowie fan, so his unexpected passing really shook me. The reality of his loss continues to hit me randomly and I've been doing my best to respond to those moments with joy instead of grief. This process was greatly facilitated when Kaitlyn so kindly invited me to the Holy Holy David Bowie tribute concert Wednesday night here in Toronto. Holy Holy is a supergroup comprised of top-notch musicians, two of which (Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey) were long-time band mates and collaborators of David Bowie's. The evening was a true celebration of his music, spirit, and artistry. Singing, dancing, and shedding a few tears during the show was such a beautiful, healing experience! And if you've been scoping out my Instagram, you'll know I sported some fabulous metallic blue lips to the show (courtesy of OCC Lip Tar in Technopagan) which helped me channel the Starman perfectly :)
From Bowie to skin care (I couldn't think of any more elegant transition), today I'm shining a spotlight on one of my favourite brands and one of the coolest beauty shops in Toronto. It's the Queen Street Aesop shop. y'all!
Aesop is an Australian brand that focuses on creating ultra-effective products through a blend of natural plant-based ingredients with lab-made elements. Their aesthetic is practical and minimal, but entirely chic. The brand is actually quite the proponent of art and design and this is entirely evident in both their packaging and each of their uniquely appointed stores.
I was thrilled to discover that Aesop was opening a freestanding shop here in Toronto in late 2015 and last weekend I finally had the chance to drop in! Upon entering the store, you are immediately struck with a unique aesthetic that is both geometric and rustic, modern, yet cozy.
Aesop's description of the store's design (you can read a full feature, here) explains that the space aims to combine the original manufacturing and residential roots of the space with the modern elements of the current Queen West neighbourhood. Like many retail spaces in Toronto, the space is narrow and deep, which creates an interesting aesthetic in and of itself. The three main elements in room are exposed brick (paying homage to the original materials of the building), sheets of steel (honouring the former industrial history of the area and mimicking the street car tracks outside today), and rippled felt (to add some warmth and softness and also providing a nod to the area's history of textile manufacturing). It's amazing how much thought went into the space's design- it really is a work of art and a beautiful tribute to the Queen West neighbourhood!
As much as I appreciate the architecture, I am drawn in by the product arrangement even more. All of the Aesop serums, creams, and other potions are lined up along the steel planks against the backdrop of the horizontally-pleated felt walls. The labels on the tubes and bottles take on a similar geometric feel, which makes for a display that this product junkie and symmetry fiend finds incredibly appealing!
The shop also has some great hands-on stations, with testers of each and every product and space to play. Not only do I appreciate the availability of testers, but Aesop's products are known for their unique, beautiful scents, so it's a true pleasure to experience them this way!
I found the sales associates at the Queen West shop to be incredibly knowledgeable about the extensive Aesop range and were super helpful at honing in on products that would be suitable for my finicky acne-prone, sensitive skin. This has not been the case at every beauty store I've visited, so it is much appreciated!
After visiting the store I hopped just a few doors down to Swan for brunch with my friend, which made for a truly indulgent morning!
And of course I couldn't leave the store without a few goodies for myself! I walked away with a bottle of Aesop's Oil Free Facial Hydrating Serum, which is a beautiful blend of lightweight aloe with potent antioxidants including vitamins B and C. My oily, sensitive skin truly loves this stuff and it blends with other oils and serums wonderfully! Aesop is also very generous with samples (another thing I love so much about the brand!), so I snagged little packets of their Fabulous Face Oil and B & Tea Balancing Toner.
If you're in Toronto, I'd say that the Queen West Aesop shop is a must-visit! The design is a true feast for the eyes, the staff is super helpful, and the products are luxurious and effective. If you're elsewhere in the world, definitely check out if there is an Aesop store in your area. Each space is unique and beautiful!
I hope you all have an incredible weekend and look out for a proper David Bowie tribute from me coming up next!
Have you tried Aesop skin care? Have you visited any of their shops? Any favourite products from Aesop?
Are you a David Bowie fan?