Marlo Sutton, Personal Shopper, Holt Renfrew


"I’m from Toronto, born and bred. I went to Western University and then I moved to Paris in 1992, right after university. I ended up living there for 13 years, until the end of 2005. I worked for a French buying company. Our clients were big luxury retailers and I worked with the womenswear buyers, the shoe-wear buyers, cosmetic buyers, all the designer-wear, basically every [department]. Before the buyers would come to Paris, I was responsible for doing research on the brands that they would like. I would have different schedules for each buyer, depending on which category they were buying for. We were the eyes and ears on the ground in France for the buyers who were in the U.S. It was a fabulous job. We got to meet the designers in their showrooms after the fashion shows, people like Bruno Frisoni, Pierre Hardy, Nicolas Ghesquière, Jonathan Sanders, John Galliano. They were these young designers that nobody had ever heard of, some of whom would end up becoming quite famous. It’s amazing to see where they are now.

When I moved back [to Toronto], a woman that I had met in Paris told me about a position in the personal shopping department at Holt Renfrew. I went in, completely blind in a way, without having any clients, and they hired me. It’s been 11 years. I love how there are so many new things happening all the time, whether it’s with artists or designers that are getting started. I’m getting married in two weeks and my dress is being made by Greta Constantine, [a line by] two Canadian designers. There are a lot of things happening with Canadian designers. It’s a really exciting time here–you really feel like there’s a buzz in the city.

I think what’s sort of shifting [on the beauty landscape] is 'beauty from within.' A really healthy diet, drinking a lot of water, taking supplements, exercise–that’s the starting point to having a freshness and a glow. I’ve always eaten healthy and exercised, but I had never seen that direct correlation with my skin until now. I just did this big trip in Peru and because of the altitude I had to drink tons of water. I was drinking 4, 5 liters of water a day. It’s amazing how much of a difference it made. My skin often feels uncomfortably dry so it needs a lot of hydration. I’ve been using the Kiehl’s Ultra-Facial Deep Moisture Balm–it makes my skin feel amazing. I also really like the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. I’m into the texture and the scent and it gives my skin the hydration that it needs. I love the Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask. After I’ve used it, I actually notice a difference. I want to feel that those little lines have gone away and it’s actually done something.

I’ve made a shift to using less product because I don’t want to strip away what’s naturally on my face. I’ll exfoliate, but not everyday. I’m starting to use cream exfoliators at night. While I sleep, it kind of sloughs the skin and doesn’t have a harsh effect. I also use Sunday Riley Good Genes which gently exfoliates. I just started using a La Mer Cleanser that I’m really enjoying. It’s a liquid cleanser that I use on a cotton pad. It takes everything off and it feels really nice. I like cleansers you can use on dry skin and I prefer this to an oil cleanser. I use the Tata Harper Eye Cream and sometimes the Skinceuticals one. I also use the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum–it’s kind of amazing. I layer my sunscreen. I use the tinted moisturizer from Kiehl's that has SPF 50 and then I’ll put on the CC Cream from Chanel that’s also SPF 50. Somebody told me that using the CC Cream as my sunscreen wasn’t enough. I have very pale skin and tend to get sunspots and sun damage that I’m trying to reverse. I just did Fraxel two days ago, and my skin looks alright. This was my third one. Dr. Sandy Skotnicki is the best dermatologist. A lot of the things I do come from her, like my cleansing routine. Her whole concept is that we have all these things on our skin that we don’t necessarily want to scrub off. You need to get clean if you’re dirty, but we really put way too much on our body and our face. It’s about paring it off to the essentials.

I’m a complete makeup junkie, but I’ve found that as I get older less tends to be more. I’m big into lashes and blush. I love the Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Ecstasy. It’s so pretty. When Charlotte Tilbury first came to Holt Renfrew, I got to meet her. She sat down and spent 15 minutes completely transforming this beautiful, bare-skinned model. I completely bought into the idea of the palettes and the looks. I’ve recommended [the line] to so many of my friends because it’s easy. I’ve gone through every bronzer, but the Filmstar Bronzer is my favorite. I use it with this Chantecaille brush. I love the color and the texture. If I’m going out at night, I’ll use it as a highlighter because it gives a little bit of shimmer.

I’m addicted to the Chantecaille eyeshadow palettes. I have one that I created myself–I got to pick out the colors. I like the concentration and the density of the eyeshadows, and they last all day and don’t get in the crease. My favorite mascara is Chanel Le Volume. It doesn’t flake or run and it gives you really big lashes. I love the Écriture de Chanel Liquid Liner. I use Brow Envy everyday which is kind of like Latisse. I put it on my lashes and a little bit on my brows.

I probably have 10 shades of lipsticks that are pinkish, brownish, nudish–that kind of color. I’m using Charlotte Tilbury's Liv it Up almost everyday, but I’ll wear a poppier color sometimes, like Charlotte Tilbury's Velvet Underground. I also love Secret Salma, which is kind of like a berry. I go through phases where I’m into things that stay on all day, like the Rouge Double Intensité by Chanel. I always use a lip liner. I love Pillow Talk from Charlotte Tilbury because it enhances your natural lip color. Chanel Rouge Double Intensité goes on like a gloss, but it actually has a matte finish. You can put a little bit of a gloss on top of it and it really lasts.

I love the Coco and Sandalwood Body Wash from Molton Brown–it smells so good. I found this Shiseido self-tanner gel which I love. It’s a clear gel and it comes in a pump. I’ll moisturize with Crème de Corps, which is one of my favorite products, and then put it on top afterwards. It’s subtle, but still has color.

I use the Signature Shampoo and the Gold Lust Conditioner from Oribe. I have curly hair, but I blew it out because I’m going to a party tonight. Every once in a while, I use Phyto's Phytolium Shampoo which cleanses the scalp. I love the Gold Lust Dry Shampoo from Oribe. I use it on day 3 because if I wash my hair too often, it gets too dry.

My fragrance profile is definitely woodsy but I like florals too. I’ve been loving Orange Blossom from Jo Malone. I use the Commes des Garcons Odeur 53 a ton because it reminds me of when I lived in Paris. It’s a bit of a nostalgia thing. I also like Frederic Malle. I used to wear Angeliques Sous La Pluie. I use Escentric Molecules too. I used to be that type of person who would wear the same scent all the time, but now I like to wear whatever I’m feeling that day."

—as told to ITG

Marlo Sutton photographed in Toronto by Tom Newton on June 8, 2017.