Behind the Scenes at the Launch of Target in Canada

Sarah Jessica Parker and Blake Lively were there.
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Michelle Villett
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Sarah Jessica Parker and Blake Lively were there.

You guys! I had a MAJOR celebrity sighting last week—and the best part was that it was totally unexpected.

As you might've heard by now, the American retail chain Target just arrived in Canada, and last Wednesday I was invited to the media event the night before one of the Toronto locations (on the Danforth) opened up to the public. I don't know what I expected—maybe a quick shop, a cold beverage and a canapé or two. Certainly not what actually happened, which was THIS:

Target Canada launch - Sarah Jessica Parker

Oh yes, that's Sarah Jessica Parker, damn straight. Imagine my surprise when I was tucked away in an aisle, scarfing down a slider with a side of poutine (yes I can usually be found stuffing my face at these types of events), when I suddenly turned and she was two feet in front of me.

It was surreal.

But she was there, in the flesh, IN SCARBOROUGH of all places—and just moments before had appeared on the red carpet for the event:

Sarah Jessica Parker - Target Canada launch, March 2013

Crazy, right? I missed the red carpet part at the beginning because I was coming from another meeting on the other side of town... so I had no idea what a star-studded soirée I was walking into.

Blake Lively was there as well... I kid you not:

Blake Lively - Target Canada launch, March 2013

But somehow I missed seeing her, as well as Elisha Cuthbert, Olympic gold medalist Adam van Koeverden, the rapper Kardinal Offishall, Ben Mulroney, Tracy Moore and Dan Levy. Fine. I'm just happy I got to see SJP! (Actually, the second time I've seen her in the flesh—the first was years ago at her Lovely fragrance launch.)

Anyway, she was, as you can imagine, super-petite and adorable. And impeccably dressed in a blazer with two enormous flowers on the lapel, a polka-dot blouse, white denim jeans with a frayed hem and sexy, sexy heels.

Target Canada launch - Sarah Jessica Parker

Beauty-wise, she had a really interesting Ombré job, which you can see in this pic above. (The professional shot higher up makes her hair look much lighter than my iPhone shots, which show the true colours much better.) I actually really like it—the way the blonde has been placed looks tasteful and, well, expensive. She was very, very tanned, and did her usual dark eyeliner thing all the way around the eyes. It kind of makes them look smaller, so I'm not sure why she does that. But overall? She did look great in the way that über-groomed celebrities usually do.

Meanwhile, since you guys mentioned you liked hearing about the "behind the scenes" stuff at events, let me tell you a bit more about this one. It was over-the-top but in a different way than the Nina Ricci launch I shared with you last month. It wasn't a surprise that the Nina one was extravagant—considering it was for a fragrance by a designer fashion house, and it took place in Paris. Target's, however, was a big deal for Toronto. Besides the A-list celebrities, it was probably the most creative, impressive catering job I've ever seen. Positioned all around the store to replenish the guests while they shopped were little stations like this offering different types of food and bevvies:

Target Canada launch - oysters

I spent most of my time with this guy, who was opening up oysters with a drill! (I am all about oysters these days—they're high in zinc, which is amazing for skin.)

There was also a station where you could get grilled cheese sandwiches created with an iron, and a smoothie bar where the blending was powered by a bike. Yep, for real! They really worked the theme. Other features included a candy station, pizza oven, appetizers and drinks wheeled around in shopping carts, burger and poutine bars, and so much more... plus tables where you could get your nails done, create dog tags... I think you get the picture. It was beyond impressive—and yes, the media are definitely spoiled!

But let's talk about beauty now, because that's more the point of this post. The store had a wicked selection of brands and products, so it's one more beauty destination to add to your list. Just look at this clean, shiny new-ness:

Target Canada launch - beauty section

They had all the usual drugstore makeup brands that you would expect (CoverGirl, Revlon, Rimmel London, Maybelline New York, L'Oréal Paris... etc.) plus an impressive nail aisle featuring brands like Essie and Nicole by OPI:

Target Canada launch - nail section

I also spotted those elusive Goody Spin Pins that so many of us love, but that are crazy hard to find. (Shoppers doesn't carry them—boo. Their loss, Target's win!)

I REALLY loved the naturals section, featuring brands like J.R. Watkins (very affordable and one of my faves), Weleda and Burt's Bees (who make the most amazing new lip products that you need to check out, stat!).

Target Canada launch - green beauty section

Plus EcoTools! If you don't know them yet, you must get acquainted—because they have the best budget-priced makeup brushes EVER.

Target Canada launch - EcoTools

You used to only be able to find them in Walmart, so I'm very happy that Target is carrying them now.

In terms of exclusives, Canadians can finally get their hands on some Sonia Kashuk! I've been lusting after this line forever since I always read about it in American magazines. Her makeup bags in these pretty patterns are the best I've seen:

Target Canada launch - Sonia Kashuk bags

Plus, a nice array of her makeup and brushes:

Target Canada launch - Sonia Kashuk line

I actually got to interview Sonia at the first Target media event, in January, where we got to see the wares before the actual stores were ready. She's been working with them for 14 years (!!) and told me: "I'm proud to say I was the first makeup artist to enter the mass arena [in 1999] and to focus on quality with affordable price points. I was able to bring the best of the best in beauty with no compromises."

I asked her what would be her top three items from her range, and she said: "The great makeup bag, brushes to go in there, and the foundation I do, which has been a huge success. To find a foundation that works and makes skin look beautiful is amazing and it's been one of our huge areas of growth." So there you go! I need to get my hands on some.

Another Target exclusive is Pixi Beauty, a super-cute British brand that I forgot to take pics of on the shelves... but this is a snap from the first preview event:

Target Canada launch - Pixi

Although not completely natural, the line's focus is on pure ingredients and products that give you a naturally radiant, "just had a good night's sleep" look. I'm sold already.

Cake Beauty has also developed an exclusive Target collection called Be Delectable:

Cake Beauty Be Delectable Hair and Body Mists

These are the body mists, but there are also hand creams, body washes, lotions and scrubs. I'm currently testing the coconut and vanilla scents and all I can say is... YUM!

More exciting shopping news!

Last thing—in other retail buzz, there is a brand new Marshalls store opening on Thursday at Yonge and Gerrard in Toronto. I hit it up last night at the media event and the store is clean, bright and humongous! Besides their great fashion, shoes and homewares sections, look for deals on hair appliances, fragrances and all the usual good beauty stuff we love at sister store Winners.

Also, have you been to The Bay (now renamed Hudson's Bay) on Queen St. lately? OMG—huge renovations going on and they are carrying incredible new brands both in fashion and in beauty. (Clarisonic! Ciate! Beautyblender! Philosophy!) I was there last week and was swooning left, right and centre.

PLUS! I'll be sharing details soon about a special event this spring at The Bay on Queen St.—featuring moi! It's gonna be MAJOR. Trend talk, celebrity and beauty gossip, freebie makeup applications and consultations, product picks, drinks and nibblies, discounted shopping, door prizes and gift bags. All exclusively for BEAUTY EDITOR readers so stay tuned for deets! I'm really excited and I hope you will be too.

Tell me:

Have you been to Target yet—and if so, what did you think?
Can you believe they got SJP and Blakey to come to the launch?
Toronto peeps, how do you feel about coming to a beauty night with me this spring at The Bay? (Can I just say it's gonna be the best beauty event ever?)