EGPR Essentials Lounge at the Templar Hotel cleverly arms guests with “Survival Packs” and “Recovery Packs.” Devised by power publicist Esther Garnick, the lounge focuses on creating a prepping and pampering utopia. Held in a penthouse suite in the Templar Hotel, it’s the one lounge that’s dedicated solely to media darlings, and includes many relaxing zen-invoking experiences in advance of the ensuing TIFF madness. This annual haven is meant only for the press, hosted on the eve of the festival and open to overworked media instead of over-pampered celebrities. This is the one time of year you can’t walk a city block in the downtown core without bumping into a bloated Hollywood entourage or their barrage of black SUVs. And this lounge is the one place where you’re safe from them – quite a cheeky role reversal. Garnick always was one of the standout humans in an PR scene run by autobots, so it’s no stretch that this amazing concept is her brainchild. She’s also a savvy trend forecaster in her own right, always a few steps ahead of the rest of the pack.
Reporters cart off two big bags filled with relevant brands: one marked “Survival,” which contains useful working media helpers like a HP Slate 7 tablet and a Nike+ FuelBand, and another marked “Recovery,” meant to help recuperate from the sleepless nights with treats like Sorel slippers and a two-week unlimited pass for Moksha Yoga.
A favoured highlight of the lounge is gorgeous mink extensions from Winks Eyelash Boutique. Owner Urla Duncan is a former opera singer who opened a beauty salon on the Danforth in 2009 and has since moved to posh Yorkville to meet demand. She was the first to bring the trend to Toronto —from Asia, where they’re pretty much gaga over it. Eyelashes soon became the blockbuster success of her business, so she put all her resources into offering the top-tier haute maquillage. The heroic team behind Winks did an all day application session on a roster of guests – to ultimate lashes and beyond!
With a massive soaking tub all to herself, Margot Grant Witz held court for Elizabeth Grant in the penthouse’s premiere bath suite. The view – weep-worthy! A favourite of celebrities like Blake Lively, Jennifer Lopez, Rosario Dawson, and Petra Nemcova. One of the great skin care dynasties – the company was founded by Witz’s grandmother, and her mother is the president. The first product Margot developed for the company, The Socializer, was an instant hit and finalist for the HBA Package Design Awards.
Calvin Klein bra fittings are a must to keep everything in place on the red carpet. Reuniting with Claudia Tonna, Director of Sales and Merchandising for Calvin Klein Underwear, is always the highlight for me. Full of helpful tip and a decade of fitting expertise, Tonna is the bra whisperer for curvy girls. After looking me up and down and spindling me with her trusty tape, she had me in the most comfortable bra imaginable – one that’s capable of working 18 hour days right along with me. The research and development of new flush straps, bindings and clasps lie flatter than ever and have zero digging factor.
Kristjan Hayden, Editorial Stylist & Makeup Artist at Civello Salon, was on hand helping frizzy and fly away plagued gals smooth things out before their big close up. The big, industry-changing news at Aveda is the fortifying Aveda Invati collection for Samson-strong hair. Kristjan tours with Aveda as a platform artist for shows and as an educator. Kristjan has worked with an extensive roster of celebrity guests ranging from Hollywood it-girls like Olivia Wilde (House), Whitney Port (The City) and musicians like Emily Haines (Metric). Kristjan can be found forecasting the latest hair and makeup trends on CBC’s Steven and Chris.
The Aveda Invati Scalp Revitalizer is my new favourite splurge. As a wellness and spa specialist, reviewing hundreds of spas a year for newspapers and magazines, I’m one of those people who loves to read labels. This scalp tonic contains many great natural ingredients, like vitamin e, ginseng, turmeric, and ayurvedic herbs (herbs used in traditional bush medicine). I also give big props to the nozzle design – it is sanitary, doesn’t leak and it allows you to spray the product to specific areas which minimizes waste. The fragrance is delicious too!
When I was initially offered my first Emjoi Micro-Pedi service, I was skeptical of how “life changing” it could really be. I mean, I have elephant-rough feet, like I’ve stepped right out of the pages of National Geographic. Dry and cracking, and just not something anyone should have to look at. I have always suffered from nasty callouses, but this device has truly has helped my feet look sublime. Yes, the game-changing MICRO Pedi device has made me a believer. Say good-bye to those $200 deluxe heel re-surfacing pedicures – the ones that spend an hour to turn me from pachyderm to human. Now I just go in for the $25 polish change.
After all this foot love, we’re ready to slip into our cozy Sorel slippers and cruise Hard Candy’s latest smokey eye collections. The new Mod Quad Baked Eye Shadows will be a huge hit – they are right on trend, in terms of palette, tones and package. Hard Candy is known for intense color, wild packaging and a flair for the dramatic – all out in full force this fall 2013. Moreover, this line is so affordable, it’s easy and fun to experiment with the unconventional. I love how Hard Candy reinvents the colour wheel nearly every single season. They do such a splashy release with such an eye-popping variety of products and colors to wow the runway. I loved the Hard Candy Lip Def, super shiny lip color with 3D Pearls that create the illusion of depth and volume. And for a flirtatious red carpet pout, go with Hard Candy All Glossed Up – a shiny, cushion-y lip gloss pencil that provides long-lasting shine, stain, and moisture!
Above all, HP’s commitment to artists and writers is in full effect here, supporting guests with the new HP Slate7, a new tablet featuring a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a camera on the front for chatting, videos and photos. One of the first things you’ll notice about the Slate 7 is its dazzlingly elongated 16:9 display, and the distinctive, cinematic black bezel that runs around it. HP has solidified the ties between its new tablet and your HP hub or ecosystem — the Slate 7 comes with the ability to wireless print to compatible HP printers. HP printers are doing the best job in the industry of integrating seamlessly with the rest of its star line up of devices. In brightly lit outdoor settings, the camera performs well, and the colors are vibrant and dynamic. Best of all? The Slate 7 is loaded up with Beats Audio support, a trait it shares with its notebook cousins.
By Si Si Penaloza