Posted on September 23, 2009
From Europe To Yaletown
In European Renaissance, those of royalty or upper-class society often married simply for the preservation of bloodlines and social status. More often than not, these men and women sought entertainment and companionship on the side from particular people who were educated, independent, trained in the arts and added a sense of sensuous luxury to life.
These particular people were known as courtesans.
Less than two months ago, fifteen years of planning finally came to fruition in the form of Yaletown’s newest boutique, Qortezan. The shop reflects owner Edie Orenstein’s personal sense of empowerment, manifested in retail form: “I wanted to create a sensual environment of pleasure that includes all the senses.” Edie believes there’s a difference between sensuality and sexuality, and Qortezan has been designed to highlight taste, touch, smell, sound and sight through textures, layers and an expansion of these elements.
Filled with beautiful silks, rich colours, enticing scents, entertaining books and candles designed to flicker just right, Qortezan was a boutique I fell in love with the moment I walked in the door two weeks ago. I should also add that Jordy accompanied me the first time – Qortezan is completely dog-friendly!
Men will find no shortage of handsomely tailored, hand-made shirts, crafted in Montréal from Italian and German fabrics. What’s more, the entire line is accompanied by a number of shiny cufflinks to provide contrast and refined style.
Some cufflinks are just for fun too…
One cannot enter Qortezan and ignore the fact that it’s also somewhat of a treasure chest of pleasure. Too often there’s still a stigma attached to items, lotions and potions designed for romps in the bedroom, but this is one shop aimed at breaking down any potential shame. Instead, Qortezan provides a comfortable and safe ambiance to indulge your carnal side.
Aside from her desire to bring a few of her favourite little things from overseas to our slice of the globe, Edie Orenstein also has an immense passion for flamenco dancing. Not only are traditional, hand-stitched manton scarves and leather flamenco shoes available for purchase (direct from Seville, Spain) at Qortezan, the shop will soon be transforming into a dance space for special events.
My personal favourite part of the shop is the vast array of bras, panties, nylons, bustiers and feathered delights. Largely featured is one of my most-loved lingerie lines, Blush. I should also mention that, in addition to mens’ clothing, us ladies can also find some fabulous pieces that can be worn outside of the bedroom.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Qortezan is fully stocked with everything one would need to bring this sensual environment from the shop to the home. Rare mens’ colognes, sweet perfumes and essentially-scented candles can be found all through-out the shop. I’m not normally a girl who likes cologne on a man, but I certainly wouldn’t kick him out of bed for wearing Pal Zileri’s signature scent or a dab of Lab.
If you’d like to visit Qortezan for yourself, visit the shop in person at 1035 Mainland Street in Yaletown, downtown Vancouver, just south of Nelson Street. No stranger to social media, Qortezan can also be found online, on Twitter, on Flickr and on Facebook.
Regular musical acts (including an upcoming appearance by Jim Byrnes), wine nights, fragrance evenings, phenomenal sales and so much more will be happening on a regular basis, so be sure to sign up for Qortezan’s e-mail list.