U.S. Water News Online
PARIS -- Jonesing for some Voss? Madonna reportedly will
let no other water pass her lips: The Norwegian brand is thought to
be the world's purest water, sealed in bottles on site, underground,
to keep it safe from any atmospheric contamination.
In our competitive modern society, there is nothing we can't
fetishize: The bottled-water industry is worth $7 billion in North
America, even though some of the contents differ little from our
free-flowing tap water.
And it's about to get nuttier, as connoisseurs will learn to
debate top notes and healing essences and anti-aging properties and
my-artesian-table-is-holier-than-yours till we run right out of the
Where once trod only the goofy yuppie, clutching a jug of Evian as
status symbol, now you'll rarely pass someone on the street without
water to go, right down to the strollers, where toddlers swill
mini-bottles of President's Choice water.
We have proselytizers trying to convert us to the reverse osmosis
lifestyle (Aquafina); we debate the size of the bubbles in our
Pellegrino. The biggest fashion fascists among us even lament out
loud that Badoit, the admittedly terrific sparkling French water, is
not available in Canada.
While much of the world is gasping for clean -- heck, any --
water, here in the First World, we're glorying in our abundance.
Hydration is our communal obsession, and the more we spend, the more
we like it. Restaurants are enjoying markups at table of up to 500
per cent (if you're paying $400 for a dinner, what's $10 for the
Colette, the singular fashion boutique in Paris on the Rue St.
Honoré, features dozens of waters on its café menu.
Yoga clothiers such as Lululemon are handing out water with their
logo on it to underline their pure spiritual intentions. And the
beauty industry, always ready to tell us we are dried up old husks,
is set to cash in on our desire to find the fountain of youth. The
new, secret anti-aging weapon is, yes, plain old water.
The Pantages Anti-Aging & Longevity Spa, which opened recently
in Toronto in the spanking new Pantages Suites Hotel (on the site
where the Phantom haunted the opera for the previous 10 years), has
gone to town on the concept.
"Spa means water," co-owner Lisa Bourquez says.
And they mean it literally here: The showpiece of the place is the
Aqua Bar, a motorized backdrop through which burbling water flows and
blue light glows. Tux-clad water sommeliers wielding crystal glasses
serve spa patrons their selection from more than 100 bottled waters
imported from the world over. "The water is complimentary," Bourquez
says. "It is part of the experience." The spa also has an eponymous
water, bottled in Caledon, Ont.
Where all the purity marketing jargon is really state-of-the-art
is in the latest flood of face potions. Evian, capitalizing on its
association with high-end and quality, has licensed a line of
skin-care products called Affinity.
"Evian," says Christina Biluk, an account supervisor at DDB public
relations who is handling the launch in Canada, "is the purest water
because its pH balance is closest to our own natural body fluids."
Over at Clinique, says Kelly Amsterdam, manager of global
communications, the new thing is Moisture Surge Face Spray, or
"technologically activated aloe water."
Amsterdam agrees that beauty folk have gone ga-ga for water
products. "Pure and simple and natural are all appealing concepts
The goal is to get the pure and simple stuff to stick to the skin.
At Chanel, the Hydra Serum line has been around for more than a
decade; the breakthrough there, according to Anny Kazanjian, director
of public relations for Canada, is ingredients to "optimize water,
retain water and make sure the skin is infused with moisture at
Chanel's new Hydramax + uses extract of butterfly lavender and
samphire to "correct and prevent dehydration." Those nutty science
types at Chanel tested their creation at the Jules Verne Climactic
Wind Tunnel in Nantes, France, where they could create the world's
"most dehydrating atmospheric conditions." The product did just
At L'Oréal, the beauty empire, there are many brands based
on the concept of "taking the waters." Vichy, in central France, has
been known for centuries to have dermatological benefits, says Sarah
de Joybert, marketing director for the Vichy brand.
"It's proven. It's really serious, not just a marketing thing,"
she says. The new thing on tap, as it were, from the thermal springs
is water spray, "which is not only soothing, it is an antioxidant and
Biotherm also has a magic ingredient, says Yosser Zmitri, its
marketing director in Canada: "exclusive pure extract of thermal
plankton." So, not water exactly, but the good stuff growing in it.
The AcquaSource Non-stop has "5,000 liters of spa water concentrated
in every jar."
Now that may just define our new height of decadence: concentrated
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