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All wrapped up in SoCal luxury

- October 2nd, 2010

I spent most of Friday in transit, on my way back from balmy Southern California to chilly Toronto, but not without squeezing in a little more west coast luxury first.

On Thursday afternoon, our press group was given an exclusive tour of the South Coast Plaza, a luxury “shopping destination” in Costa Mesa too swanky to even allow itself to be called a mall.

South Coast Plaza houses more than 250 boutique and department stores, some of which are only located in this part of California. The Plaza receives more than 22 million visitors annually from around the world who spend an average of $1 billion a year.


The storefront of Christian Louboutin.

With 2.8 million acres of retail and dining space, no tacky food courts, four concierges across the property willing to assist with any need and a VIP-only Access Lounge – where, if you’re feeling a little tired, you can stop for a cappuccino or to watch some sports – I found it quite easy to give in to the brand high I felt when poking around stores like Gucci, Prada and Nordstrom.

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The Access Lounge at South Coast Plaza.

Truth be told, a tear of pure adoration almost escaped my eye when browsing the latest collection in Dior. I finally understand why Carrie Bradshaw finds it so easy to binge on designer purchases.

For those on a budget, South Coast Plaza also features an array of affordable options like H&M, Crate & Barrel and Zara.

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J’adore Dior.

Diana Jennings, founder of Brand You Image, a personal shopper and a style consultant at South Coast, navigated our group on the haute couture safari through the Plaza. She has helped a range clients – some famous, others just in need of a wardrobe pick-me-up – with a range of needs, from choosing an entirely new closet of clothes to updating a make-up routine.

“It’s about understanding what each brand communicates,” Jennings says of helping clients. Once a customer completes a personal style assessment, she is able to match the brand personality to that of her clients.


Diana Jennings of Brand You Image.

Choosing the right hues and cut for a customer are also imperative. Jennings used the example of a bride who, once she knows what hue compliments her the most, can then use that colour on her bridesmaids and flowers to keep the focus of the wedding on her.

It was with much regret that I was torn away from South Coast at the end of our visit. I may not have been able to afford much in this destination, but the designer contact high was certainly a good one.

- Nicole Feenstra

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1 comment

  1. crackpatch | October 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I shared your post on my twitter account, thnks.

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