Editor’s picks: 11 luxury items that make perfect Valentine’s Day gifts

February 11, 2018

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! With so many fabulous options, what will you do to get that special gift for the ones you love? What makes a perfect luxury gift? Where do you even start?

To make things easier, our senior editorial team has tried and tested 11 products from some of our favourite brands. We personally reviewed close to two dozen items to create this final Top 11 that features fabulous ideas for your significant other, family members and friends, as well as some unisex or general items that couples can share!

1. For Him: John Varvatos—Artisan Pure fragrance


This beautifully presented fragrance would make an exceptional gift for a special man in your life.

The next chapter of the John Varvatos Artisan story, Artisan Pure, transports the heritage and artistry of the brand to the lush hills surrounding Xalapa, Mexico. This is a crisp, woody, citrus scent inspired by Xalapa, and its vast coffee and citrus groves.

The presentation of the bottle draws inspiration from the light, airy natural-tone fabrics of Varvatos’ latest fashion designs, and the fragrance brings the same natural and laid-back vibe that is both rugged and luxurious. Consistent with the brand’s previous fragrances, this is a perfect scent for a badass man. Sandblasted for a clean, frosted look, the bottle is wrapped in durable hand-woven rattan stem. The cap and foot of the bottle are inspired by natural driftwood.

The fragrance opens with a mix of citrus notes: Spanish Lemon, Valencia Orange and Calabrian Bergamot. Herbal accents of Orange Flowers, Coffee Tree Flower, Jasmine and Italian Orris Absolute and Resinoid complement the notes of Coriander Seed and Cardamom. A woody base of Orris, Duo of Texan and Virginian Cedarwood, Primavera Wood from Mexico, Angelica Root, Ambrette Seed and Tonka Bean linger, bringing a refined and artisanal touch.

Retailing at $110 for the 125 ml bottle at Shoppers Drug Mart, Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom and Sephora.

2. For Her: Moët & Chandon—Rosé Impérial champagne


It’s not a celebration without champagne! Add a touch of true elegance to your Valentine’s Day by celebrating with your other half over a glass of Moët & Chandon’s Rosé Impérial champagne.

A glass of rosé bubbly will brighten up any evening and make it extra romanticand this particular choice will look particularly pretty in a glass, with its pink colour and amber highlights. Characterized by its complexity, the elevated notes of strawberry, citrus, rose petal and fresh pastry create a refined flavour for a sophisticated, elegant woman. Overall tasting notes feature red rose, black pepper, red currant and mint: a truly delicious combination.

This is a dry champagne, with medium body and palate-cleansing acidity.

Retailing price varies across Ontario and Canada. 

3. For Her: Swarovski—Hollow Bracelet with Rose Gold Plating


This Swarosvki item would be a very memorable gift for a special woman in your life.

The design of the bracelet is contemporary, yet classic, with two interlocking rose gold-plated circles in crystal pavé. It’s bound to add a cool look to any outfit, without overpowering it. The bracelet is finished with an on-trend and easy-to-adjust sliding closure.

The item has an adjustable length and would work well with other accessories or as a single, standalone jewelry piece. It would satisfy even those who aren’t big fans of wearing jewelry due to its very elegant and airy design. It’s a delicate accessory that is a definite keeper.

Retailing at $139 at Swarovski stores and online.

4. For a female relative: Bench—Core Puffer Vest with Hood in Collar


This wonderful Bench vest will keep her warm in winter, while adding a soft pink touch to her mood, and serving as a happy reminder that spring will arrive in just over a month.

The vest has a comfortable fit and features white zippers, which add to its airy feel. Its quilted look makes it extra cozy.

The item is water-repellant, PFOA-free and is machine washable, which is a big plus. It also has enough storage, with two zip pockets at the front and one pocket on the inside.

Not to mention: it’s very, very warm and cozy. Its pink colour makes it a sporty, yet very trendy item that would be a welcome addition to any woman’s wardrobe.

Retailing at $129 at Bench stores and online

5. For a female friend: Elizabeth Arden—High Drama Eyeliner in Smokey Black


For a lovely, beauty-focused gift, this incredible eyeliner will add the “wow” effect to the cosmetic kit of any woman. Released as part of Arden’s Drama Defined Colour Collection, this item is an easy way to create statement eyes with a few quick strokes.

The creamy liner glides on evenly for intense, long-lasting colour. The dual-ended applicator can make a perfectly smooth line or a soft, smudged look.

The product features dermatologically and ophthalmologically tested, wax-based, waterproof formula that it claims can last for up to 16 hours. We tested it out and, for us, it actually lasted much longer and was still perfectly “on” 24 hours later! Very impressive result, especially during Canadian winter.

Key ingredients of this eyeliner include flexible film former that helps provide comfort and long-lasting wear along with water-resistant properties, and rice bran wax that results in a skin-conditioning agent, providing a creamy feel.

Retailing at $28 at the Hudson’s Bay and Shoppers Drug Mart. 

6. For your Mom: Bottega Veneta—Eau de Velours fragrance


For a truly sophisticated gift, opt for Bottega Veneta’s latest fragrance: Eau de Velours. This is a bold evolution of the signature Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum that was presented back in 2011.

Reflecting Creative Director Tomas Maier’s vision, the iconic original fragrance pays homage to Bottega Veneta’s origins in Vicenza, in the Veneto region in the North East of Italy, highlighting the quintessential

Italian moment taking place in a classic Italian villa. The sophisticated floral leather chypre is centered around the petals of a velvety rose. Top notes of the fragrance feature bergamot and pink peppercorn. The heart of the rose absolute imbues the original fragrance. Leather and patchouli are fused together for an added strength to the base.

The bottle, of course, is also highly artistic. The emblematic intrecciato motif is showcased both on the base of the flacon and on the outer box. The flacon takes on a burgundy hue, while the box displays a degradé shade which goes from plum to deep wine, serving as a striking backdrop for the elegant golden lettering. A velvet ribbon is wrapped around the neck of the bottle in place of the iconic leather cord.

Retailing at $196 for the 75 ml bottle at Holt Renfrew.

7. For any woman in your life: Conair—3Q Straightener


This Conair item would make a fabulous addition to any woman’s hairstyling kit. The 3Q hair straightener is a sleek, easy-to-use item with a built-in sensor that will adjust the temperature based on your hair type. This results in better protection from heat damage.

The tool has an electronic screen on its top plate that displays all settings in an interactive manner. The product features 12 temperature options that cater to all hair types. In addition, the ionic generator eliminates static and frizz, while the titanium-coated plates add shine for healthy-looking locks.

The tool works well for both straightening and curling, and can reach up to 235°C/455°F. It features a two-year warranty and automatic shut-off, so you will never have to worry again if you turned off your hair straightener or not! 

Retailing at $119.99 at retailers across Canada and online.

8. For your sister or relative: Tiffany & Co.—Eau de Parfum fragrance


It’s a well-known fact: every woman enjoys a gift from Tiffany & Co. The iconic brand has cemented itself over the years as one of the most elegant and classic go-to choices for a special occasion.

For its new artisanal fragrance, Tiffany & Co. unleashes the essence of the brand in all its purity: just bare skin, a scent, a touch of jewelry and one iconic colour. The new scent was created by world-renowned master perfumer Daniela Andrier of Givaudan. The top note features vert de mandarine. At the heart, a precious iris flower is the hero ingredient. Tiffany’s association with the iris dates back to the earliest sketches found in the Tiffany archives. It was an iris brooch set with demantoid garnet blossoms and Montana sapphires that earned Tiffany the grand prize at the Paris Exposition in 1900.

Harvested in France in July and August, the iris butter is obtained through a unique hydro-distillation extraction, exclusive to the Tiffany fragrance, ensuring a pure, bright, sensual and long-lasting richness to the final note. This signature ingredient adds strength and femininity, and grounds the composition with refinement and sophistication. Patchouli base notes wrapped in a blend of soothing musks create a sensual feel on the skin.

For an especially memorable touch, you can add an engraving to the bottle, for extra personalization.

Retailing at $150 for 75 ml at Tiffany boutiques, Holt Renfrew, Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Shoppers Drug Mart.

9. For anyone on your list: Taikan—Spartan BLK Suede backpack


This incredible Taikan backpack would make a great gift for anyone, regardless of their age or style. It’s a unisex item made entirely of black suede with some fabulous leather accents and cotton twill lining. Its colour would make it a perfect addition to any outfit, regardless of its style.

The backpack offers plenty of storage options, including two exterior pouches, a separate compartment at the bottom and an external sleeve that can easily house a 15-inch laptop. The straps are completely adjustable, making the backpack more comfortable to wear all year long (forget discomfort due to winter layers).

This is a trendy accessory that is designed by a Vancouver-based business—Taikan prides itself in creating timeless designs in classic-rooted styles. It would look equally amazing in any setting: at the office, at a fashion event or while travelling.

Retailing at $529.99 on Taikan’s website.

10. For anyone on your list: Clarins—Exfoliating Body Scrub for Smooth Skin


This fantastic scrub is an absolute must all-year-long. It has a fabulous scent, gently exfoliates and will make your skin smooth and soft. The scrub supports natural cell renewal and gently eliminates dead cells and rough skin—refining skin’s texture and nourishing for a smooth, supple finish.

Just like most Clarins products, the scrub is also rich in natural plant extracts, and it detoxifies the skin while neutralizing pollution particles and toxins. The gentle, comfortable formula forms a film on the skin’s surface to prevent excessive moisture loss, which is especially important during winter.

Suitable for all skin types, the scrub has a creamy texture and can be used all over your body. It will help you feel refreshed and re-energized even on the coldest—and dryest—winter day.

The treatment—with smoothing Natural Bamboo Powders—casts-off rough, flaky surface cells and impurities, giving body skin a sleek new start. It features extracts of Mimosa and Shea that will help further caress your skin with a delicate veil of softness. Another bonus: this scrub is paraben-free.

Retailing at $45 for 200 ml at Hudson’s Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart and on Clarins’ website.

11. For anyone on your list: Nespresso—Limited Edition coffees


It’s cold and miserable outside, so few things can replace a warm and decadent cup of coffee. This winter, Nespresso is taking coffee lovers on a journey to discover its origins with four new Limited Edition coffees: Arabica Ethiopia Harrar (a delicious espresso with notes of ripe fruit and fresh flowers, and a velvety body) and Robusta Uganda (sweet and undeniably intense, rich in cacao notes), available in Original and Vertuo.

The new capsules take inspiration from the captivating myths on where coffee originated, featuring coffees from Ethiopia, which is the birthplace of Arabica coffee, and Uganda, one of the alleged birth places of Robusta coffee. The presentation of these coffees also makes them a lovely present, since Nespresso partnered with London-based illustrator, Mariana Rodrigues, to design the capsule sleeves.

We particularly love the special limited edition sets from this collection.

Price varies, retailing for a limited period from Nespresso boutiques, through orders from the Nespresso Customer Care Centres and on Nespresso’s website. 

By FAJO’s senior editorial team
Photography by / courtesy of each brand, feature image by Evgeniya Porechenskaya/Shutterstock.com

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