Saturday, January 12, 2008

In which the Author Goes Shopping in Canada and Drops (more) Names

The recent post from All the Best about Creed fragrances stirred my memory about another top drawer enterprise with the same name.

When I spent a summer in Toronto in the late 80s, I loved to haunt the boutiques of Yorkville and the grand shops of Bloor Street. At that time, Creeds was the Bergdorf Goodman of Toronto (sorry, Holt Renfrew; I’ll post about your own particular greatness soon).

Exclusive to Toronto, Creeds was a luxury women’s store that began in 1916 as a fur manufacturer. But by the 1980s, Creeds specialized in European labels like Maud Frizon, Sonia Rykiel, Thierry Mugler, delicacies to tempt the Canadian palate during our long, harsh winters.

As I was an undergraduate, I spent much of my time at the accessories counter, which suited my student budget. One day, as I was comparing barrettes, a vision in white swept through the main doors. Clad in white t-shirt, white jeans, and cowgirl boots, the dancer and actress Janet Jones exclaimed—seemingly to nobody in particular—“I could buy everything in this store!”

But there was a somebody, following closely behind her: Jones’s then-fiancĂ© Wayne Gretzky; or, as we Canadians call him, “The Great One.” Somebody indeed.

Reader, I followed them. Intoxicated by this inter-national celebrity duo, I followed their twin blondness as they wound their way through the store, stopping to linger in the Krizia department. There Jones tried on dresses, modeling them for Gretzky and an enthralled undergrad. I remember that the sales assistant engaged Gretzky in quite a chat, as she, in a previous job, had been a flight attendant for the Oilers on many occasions. Maybe that’s why Jones’s dress choices became prettier and prettier.

Creeds overextended itself and by 1990 went bankrupt. But it still deals in terrific memories.