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Montreal, je t’aime: A Fashionistah’s Shopping Guide

Montreal reminds me of Sam Roberts. He is cute.  He-he-he-hon-hon-hon

Montreal reminds me of Sam Roberts. He is cute. He-he-he-hon-hon-hon

OMD. Oh mon Dieu! That’s OMG en français. This week, I had the good fortune to spend some quality down time in Montreal. I have often travelled to our neighbour to the East for work but as they say, all work and no play makes V a dull girl.  And when I say dull, I really mean crazy but not of the Jack Nicholson-The Shining variety.

I have a love affair with Montreal – its winding outdoor staircases, the romantic cobblestone streets of Vieux-Montreal, the café culture (so mignon) and its culinary delights.  Some of my fondest memories are of visiting my dearest A while she was in university in McGill; we would often go to her favourite haunts and play dress up in vintage stores.

Admire the Montreal street art while you galavant.

Admire the Montreal street art while you galavant.

I found it difficult to find a compilation of some of the best trendy boutiques and vintage shops, so I’ve walked a few thousand steps in my gladiators to bring you my best bets:

  • DadaDo (4292 Boul St. Laurent) – Artist studio meets vintage shop meets boudoir. The entrance greets you with a bargain bin of accessories and books and as you get further in you will find racks of flowy skirts and lacy slip dresses.
Inside the red velvet DadaDo

Inside the red velvet DadaDo

  • Annex Vintage ( 56 St. Viateur Ouest) – A wide selection of wearable vintage and upcycled pieces.  There are also many pieces from local designers.  I was particularly taken with the “Stay Home and Watch Buffy” totebags.
Annex Vintage: I appreciate a well-curated rack of vintage clothing. Le sigh.

Annex Vintage: I appreciate a well-curated rack of vintage clothing. Le sigh.

This pic is all about the conversational wallpaper. Discuss.

This pic is all about the conversational wallpaper. Discuss.

When it comes to vintage currency, your best bets are denim cut-off shorts and re-worked graphic t-shirts. Trust.

When it comes to vintage currency, your best bets are denim cut-off shorts and re-worked graphic t-shirts. Trust.

  • Lo Well (5364 Boul St. Laurent) - Streamlined Scandinavian is the mood with labels Norwegian Wood, Dusen-Dusen, swim from Mimi Hammer and a wide selection of Montreal-made canvas and leather handbags by Rachel F.
Lowell: Makes me want to pack a bag for a vacay. Oh wait, I am on vacay.

Lowell: Makes me want to pack a bag for a vacay. Oh wait, I am on vacay.

Thoughtful and cool displays at LoWell. I appreciate good merchandising that tells a story.

Thoughtful and cool displays at LoWell. I appreciate good merchandising that tells a story.

Accessories by Rachel F. I was taken by the functional styles and heavy hardware on the handbags.

Accessories by Rachel F. I was taken by the functional styles and heavy hardware on the handbags.

  • La (Found)erie (6596 Boul St. Laurent) - I never made it north of the tracks to the up and coming hood of La Patrie but this shop was recently featured in Porter Airlines magazine.
  • Onze - This store has 4 MTL locations and features vintage-inspired romantic girly looks.  They were heavy on chiffon floaty things, nautical, floral apparel and accessories.  Here you will find young contemporary brands such as Mink Pink, Gentle Fawn and Ark & Co.
  • Kitsch n’ Swell (3968 Boul St. Laurent) – A 60′s swingers pad meets hunters lodge and antique shop.  Fashioned in bubble gum pinks, tassled furniture and laden with curios, there is nothing quite like it in Montreal.  A must-see for inspiration.
Kitsch n Swell: A feast for the eyes. Heaven for 60's babes.

Kitsch n Swell: A feast for the eyes. Heaven for 60′s babes.

A parting gift:  One of my fave Sam Roberts songs Bridge to Nowhere & some hottt goss via Lainey Gossip. (ps. I’m sad I’m not going to Smut Soiree this year).  Bonne journée! (good day)

I was walking through Chinatown and there were a bunch of extras in 60's wardrobe. Sad face, I didn't realize JGL was there. Stalker.

I was walking through Chinatown and there were a bunch of extras in 60′s wardrobe. Sad face, I didn’t realize JGL was there. Stalker.

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June 22, 2014   No Comments

Lana Del Rey Style

I love the dramatic retro `60s cat eyeliner and pale lipstick

I love the dramatic retro `60s cat eyeliner and pale lipstick

I blame my friend S for my ruin.  She gently twisted my arm and we bought stellar tickets to Beyoncé.  She only gets reallyx3 good tickets to concerts.  She wants to see them up close and personal.  She wants to see them sweat.  But now that I’ve been spoiled, I can’t go backwards and every time I get tickets to something, I need to be right up in the action.  Slippery slope and it’s what I like to call a shame spiral.

Of all the bands and artists I have yet to see, I put it out there that I would like to see Lana Del Rey.  Lo and behold, the universe delivered in the form of a Live Nation alert.  So I bit the bullet and I’m going to see her do her gangster-Nancy Sinatra thing in the Spring (a rhyme).

Here is a playlist of my faves on repeat…  She will be releasing a new album in 2014 Ultraviolence

  1. Summer Wine – with James Barrie O`Neill (cover of Nancy Sinatra = fun!)
  2. Ride
  3. Yayo
  4. Blue Velvet
  5. Ridin`- with ASAP Rocky
  6. Bel Air
  7. Bonus: Link to her short film Tropico
Head tilt: Lana del Rey for H&M

Head tilt: Lana del Rey for H&M

Lana Del Rey in Vogue Italia

Lana Del Rey in Vogue Italia

Quintessential Lana Del Rey is a dramatic eye. I like it when they also style her hair with waves via Vogue Japan

Quintessential Lana Del Rey is a dramatic eye. I like it when they also style her hair with waves via Vogue Japan

Toro! She collaborated with Baz Luhrman on Young & Beautiful for the Great Gatsby soundtrack. She's channelling a bullfighter non?

Toro! She collaborated with Baz Luhrman on Young & Beautiful for the Great Gatsby soundtrack. She’s channelling a bullfighter non?

 

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March 26, 2014   No Comments

So Very French

Carrie Bradshaw Paris

Remember the Paris episode where Carrie took a face plant in Dior? Then she was mortified and bought the entire store. Hrmm…unintentional poetry.

Little French cafés are so mignon (cute, dainty), non? Today, me and A went for petit déjeuner (breakfast) at the most darling patisserie housed in a Victoria row house.  The food was deliciously French and so were the waiters.  It’s the kind of place where they serve you lattes with the foam shaped in a heart.  And where you say no béchamel and you end up saying yes to brioche and crepes with nutella.  I can’t divulge its name for fear of it becoming too popular.  Sorry darlings.  Some secrets have to stay in my hair.  We had a very French afternoon punctuated by flirty girlish giggling.  Those are the days my friend!

Catherine Deneuve

The epitome of chic: the one, the only Catherine Deneuve

If you don’t know much about my French muse Catherine Deneuve, I insist you really must read on Parisian Bombshell Chic: Catherine DeneuveTrust. 

Croque Madame

Perhaps you will order yourself a Croque Madame – a grilled ham and cheese with béchamel topped with a fried or poached egg

C by Bloomingdales beret

It’s rather chilly out, non? Tilt your C by Bloomingdales beret ever so slightly. Passerbys will admire your air of “je ne sais quoi”

Eiffel Tower at Night

Bonsoir and bonne chance young lovers! The Eiffel Tower lit up at night *le sigh*

 

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November 3, 2013   No Comments

Christian Louboutin @ The Design Exchange

christian louboutin

The Paris-based shoe designer Christian Louboutin and his iconic shoe, known for its red sole

Funny how when I am travelling abroad, I make it a point to see interesting exhibits, visit every museum and immerse myself in local culture.  But at home, I am less inclined to do the same.  I am putting a stop to such madness.  Adding that to my summer TO DO list!

Recently, I had a beautiful al fresco brunch at Origin (107 King St. East).  Try the refreshing lychee mojito - ahem, you can ask them to de-virginize it.  Afterwards, we took a leisurely stroll to Bay Street to catch the Christian Louboutin exhibit (The Design Exchange from June 21st – September 15th, 2013).  Complimentary with your admission is a year-long subscription to Flare.

Here’s an excerpt of what it’s all about…

“Curated by The Design Museum London in conjunction with Christian Louboutin, this exhibition presents iconic French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, celebrating a career that has pushed the boundaries of high fashion shoe design. This exhibition celebrates Louboutin’s twenty years of designs and inspiration, revealing the artistry and theatricality of his shoe design from stilettos to lace-up boots, studded sneakers and bejeweled pumps. It is a magical journey of style, glamour, power, femininity and elegance.” – DSX website

louboutin sketching

Take a break and watch a few short films on Louboutin’s creative process

SPOILER ALERT… some of my highlights. But these images do not do the shoes justice or the interactivity of the exhibit.  You reallyx3 must check it out for yourself.  You promise me?

louboutins_4

Inside the designer’s studio: a smorgasbord of inspiration including Miss Piggy’s glitter platforms

louboutins_3

Let them eat cake: Inspired by Marie Antoinette

louboutins_1

Ruffles! The perfect flamenco shoe in a buttery satin.

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August 10, 2013   No Comments

In Search of Inspiration…

A plethora of inspiration boards.

I like to think of myself as a renaissance woman.  Inspiration for me is everywhere but I do have an abundance of sources… 

On Fashion – Working in the industry, I am constantly surrounded by clothes and accessories.  Like a chocoholic in Serendipity.  I have many wonderful fashionistah friends who always have their own distinct personal style.  Brunch is never just brunch — it’s a lookbook.  Reading magazines (my faves are Harper’s Bazaar & Vogue) and fashion blogs will also keep you up to date on how to adapt a trend. 

Whoa gorgessity! Emma Stone covers July Vogue. As far as I'm concerned, it's the fashion bible.

On Beauty – The best resource for beauty is Allure.  I learned how to apply makeup from reading the tutorials, collecting books from Kevyn Aucoin and practicing on my friends.  I still beg them to let me before we go out; but they willingly oblige because I do a fierce smokey eye.  In my early 20′s I visited my first Sephora in Paris.  As you can imagine, the clouds parted, the rays of sunshine beamed down and angels sang ‘Alleluia.’  Then I entered, sprayed glitter in my friends’ hair, sampled eyeshadows and played with lipgloss for two hours.  A heavenly experience.

The glorious Sephora on Les Champs Elysees, Paris.

To Live Well – As a bohogi, it sounds cliche but I value every experience from having sangria with friends to afternoon walks in the park.  I love to travel and experience different cultures, so I constantly look at Conde Nast Traveller and dream of an exotic adventure.  I never know how or when I will get there, but I put it out there and make a plan to go.  The universe always delivers!   

Read more about finding inspiration on living well on BlogHer and don’t forget to enter the Life Well Lived Sweepstakes.

My absolutely favourite museum Caixa Forum in Madrid, Spain. They have installations, documentaries, live performances and an amazing gift shop.

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June 24, 2012   No Comments

In Praise of The Fashionistah Adventuress, Met Gala 2012

Shake it out! You wish you were Florence Welch with her poise and regal Elizabethan good looks. She epitomizes fashionistah adventuress in this McQueen.

Every Spring, the fashionistahs flock to worship at the altar of Anna Wintour.  En masse, they come in droves to fete the designers and out ballgown each other at an annual event, The Met Gala.  The soiree marks the opening of the fashion exhibition of two Italian designers, Impossible Conversations: Elsa Schiaparelli and Muiccia Prada at the MOMA.  If you are in New York and a lover of fashion history, you should probably check it out.

Now back to the extravagance and audacity that is the Gala.  Best-dressed lists are subjective and my point of view is that these celebs chose to go a more adventurous route, the path less beaten, choices more playful and memorable in their selection, statements so individual, they seared into the fashionistah collective consciousness. 

Fashionistah Grain of Wisdom:  When selecting evening attire, you must wear the dress and not let the dress wear you.

My girlcrush Emma Stone unafraid to rock a red floral Lanvin mini. Red lipstick + red dress. Why? Why not?

Pow! January Jones punches you in the face with her vibrant yellow Versace. Love how she paired the architectural detail of her structured peplum with a turquoise Art Deco necklace.

Gwyneth tips off her figurative hat to Prada in this satin hi-low mini dress. Deceptively modest in the front, daring in the back!

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May 11, 2012   No Comments