makeover. Costing a cool $220 million, the 145,000 square foot expansion officially opened to the public today."> makeover. Costing a cool $220 million, the 145,000 square foot expansion officially opened to the public today." />

Yorkdale Shopping Centre is officially ballin’


Last night, a swarm of Toronto’s keenest mallrats headed north, awaiting a glimpse of the Yorkdale Shopping Centre makeover. Costing a cool $220 million, the 145,000 square foot expansion officially opened to the public today.

The new wing brings forth a number of firsts: Canada’s first Ted Baker London and LOFT locations; and the first time a Club Monaco store has been designed from the ground up (instead of just moving into a pre-existing space). We toured the shops to suss out the goods.

With a coveted corner location, L’Occitane en Provence is the latest mall stop for the skincare-obsessed. We were told that the space in itself is quite unique; the only other shop with a similar set-up is the London outpost. In addition to an endless array of goods — comprised of West African shea butter and ingredients from Provence, France — the store is outfitted with a barber’s corner for men and a tree-like display of their renowned hand creams. The original shea scent is the most popular, though we fell for the date version. 

Club Monaco’s luxe new spot has something no other location has: two entrances, one for the men and one for the girls. The space has been imbued with the feel of a European boutique: black and white photos dot the space, plants inject a sense of the outdoors and couches are a welcome sight for weary shoppers. Ladies can pick up holiday-ready pieces like sheer dotted blouses and — our favourite — plaid trousers with leather detailing; for men, hand-tailored suits and pocketed cardigans in a range of hues are on offer. 

Lululemon’s new outpost visually outshines all the others with its natural wood façade. Designed by Lululemon in collaboration with the Brothers Dressler and Quadrangle Architects, the entrance wall was built using over 35,000 blocks of scrap wood from over 20 types of trees, resembling a fallen leaf from afar — much like an impressionist painting. Inside, yoga enthusiasts can peruse the sweat-friendly threads in addition to yoga mats that are so thin they can be folded, rather than rolled.

Ted Baker’s quirky British sensibility showed us that guys should embrace jackets dotted with stars, while gals can don frocks fit with birds. Men’s threads were inspired by fly fishing, and are done in heritage fabrics with built-in pocket squares (as in, simply flip the pocket inside-out and voila!). Ladies’ gear included plenty of full-skirted frocks in arresting prints or with quirky detailing. The whole affair made us think of a mad tea party. 

Over at Ann Taylor, things got much brighter, with a giant display of rainbow-hued gifts taking centre-stage. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the back corner is devoted to a calm-inducing zone fit with a sofa and various books for sartorial inspiration. We liked the black and white prints best of all: dresses in zebra or leopard-prints are a welcome change from sequin-heavy frocks we’re destined to see more of as the season wears on.

Colour continued over at kate spade new york, where accessories (naturally) reigned supreme. Huge hunks of fuchsia resin made their way into bright necklaces; quirky knit hats featured images of ski goggles; purses were drowned in glitter. Clothes-wise, we fell for a jewel-print dress and a black-and-white striped frock with an A-line skirt.

Other new retailers include Wilfred and LOFT; at the former we loved a pair of striped pants that would work for both holiday affairs and dinner with friends; at the latter, a pair of sequin pants in a relaxed fit are a less fussy way to inject some seasonal spirit into an outfit. For those unsure of how to navigate trends, LOFT offers free (yes, free) personal stylists to customers to help them look their best.

At Diesel, the women’s leather handbags (especially the hunter green ones) stood out, as did a pair of intimidating black leather boots for men; Lacoste’s new spot is fit with a Polo Bar, showcasing its classic polo Ts in a diorama of colours.

Meanwhile, entering Anthropologie’s never-ending space feels like stepping into one of Hans Christian Andersen’s tales: frilly aprons bedeck one wall, and gift-ready trinkets and such spill from every corner. Ladies’ garb is a hodgepodge of sequins, textures and patterns. A winter coat in a bird print is a great way to stand out from black-clad crowds.

In honour of the swanky extension, a number of retailers will be offering discounts and deals over the weekend. Still to come to the mall is Holt Renfrew’s new store, arriving in the New Year. Also, British fashion retailer AllSaints is set to join the expansion wing for 2013.

Guess we’ll just have to wait.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 3401 Dufferin St.

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