Last month, after a prolonged period of all work, minimal play, I decided to throw caution to the wind and book a plane ticket. One week, I was here, the next week, I was off. Seems impulsive, non? But I am young and free…at least in my heart. Eager for adventure and inspiration, I travelled armed with my sketchbook and just the right 2B pencil. After an extended sabbatical galavanting through parts of Europe, I finally returned home.
What I experienced was the high of travel - sampling local cuisine, strolling zig-zag pathways through cobbled boroughs, soaking in the history of ancient buildings, immersing myself in the arts, watching dance performances and meeting fellow travellers. For me, there is no greater luxury than taking a timeout to travel. It expands our global perspective, awakens our senses and teaches us to appreciate our blessings. For me, my innate cultural curiosity is an itch that needs to be scratched on a yearly basis.
In my next few posts, I hope to share some of the excitement of my trip – from the heat and grandeur of the Feria de Abril in Seville, to the opulence of the Alhambra in Granada. My journey took me to tiny hilltop towns in Andalucia and the cosmopolitan city streets of London and Copenhagen. From international fashions to hidden gems and experiences not to be missed, I will give you insights to fashionistah travel without smashing your piggy bank (aka shoe fund). In telling my fanciful tales, I hope to ignite your dreams of white beaches, cerulean seas and destinations off the beaten track.
Travel, especially when it is outside of your comfort zone is not always easy. But let me just say, that I asked the universe to support me on my trip. Whenever I needed aid lugging my suitcase up a flight of stairs (because there is nary an elevator in Europe), a kind stranger appeared to offer their assistance. More on that later dearies.
Stay tuned… xo The LC
June 10, 2011 No Comments
I mean, Romantic Literature of course. As a youth, I had challenged myself to read as many classics as humanly possible. Some I grew tired of rather quickly (Wings of the Dove, Vanity Fair) while others I breezed through quite rapidly (Jane Eyre, Sense & Sensibility).
The BBC has done many faithful adaptations on film. You will need a weekend of laying on your Ektorp, with a cup of tea, some popcorn and a few boxes of Kleenex for your teardrop waterfalls. Here are two of my favourites:
Pride & Prejudice – The classic tale by Jane Austen of the Bennett girls quest to find proper husbands in English society without fortune or social connections. Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Why did Keira Knightly bother? There is no comparison! I could watch this over and over again. Fun fact: They dated in real life so the chemistry is there.
The Buccaneers – Another BBC period piece from Edith Wharton, young American girls take on England for a London season (of course to find husbands). While this book does not have a fairy tale ending for all of our heroines, the common themes of love, wealth and society abound. While everyone knows how amazing P&P is, this series also circa 1995 is completely underrated. I absolutely adore a young Carla Gugino in this. Get ready: It’s a tearjerker.
June 21, 2010 No Comments
The mention of Topshop conjures great memories for me. More than a decade ago, my fashionistah friends and I embarked on a summer ‘European Study Abroad,’ where we mixed fine art, sight-seeing, fashion, copious amounts of partying and dubious amounts of shopping. We tasted our first champagne and we got busted at customs (ahem, for shopping, not for drugs). Many wonderful friends were made and memories forged while blazing a trail from London to Paris to Barcelona.
When I remember Topshop in its former inception, it was about promo tops in baby pink and blue (2 for 1), cargo pants with sewn in pouches (remember those?), essentially cheap and cheerful. In its modern-day renaissance, it’s synonymous with Brit fast-fashion, uber-trendy, mixing better-best price points with vintage and diffusion lines. MK & Ash shop there, so does Alexa (saw her trying on booties) and Gwyneth. Let’s just say it’s a lot cooler.
If anyone has visited the London flagship at Oxford, it’s a multi-level sensory explosion of colour and trend. As we take the descending escalator deep into Middle Earth, your heart beats with the rush of accessories, shoes, jeans, designer lines and reconstructed vintage. You better get good reception on your phone because you can literally loose a friend. Then mix that with the chaotic zoo of fashionistahs clamoring to grab their size while it lasts. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart and like a 90′s dance song, ‘it’s gonna make you sweat.’
As many globetrotting fashionistahs lament ‘why not here!!?’, the gods are looking down favourably upon us in Toronto. We get a touch of Topshop when it arrives at Jonathan + Olivia (49 Ossington Ave.) on June 19th. Similar to New York where it soft launched at Opening Ceremony, the brand is testing before a major launch. But c’mon we all know it’s going to fare well. Did you know that the Toronto locations of Urban Outfitters are among the most profitable per square footage in the chain? I swear we must have the highest hipster per capita.
My favourite Topshop buys of all time are a fuschia sundress embroidered with gold floss in an Indian sari style, a black body-con dress with a flared taffetta trumpet skirt attached and giant bow (Very Robert Palmer ‘Addicted to Love’) and a grey herringbone ruffle jacket with 3/4 bell sleeves. While you have to rummage and edit through a lot to find what suits your style, there is always something very forward and unique about their offering. I was trying on playsuits (translated as rompers) more than two years ago. Hello!!??!
Here are some fun items I hope to see when Topshop lands in our fair city:
May 31, 2010 No Comments
Many moons ago when I was a professional teenager, I used to beg my mother on weekends to take me to thrift shops in order to peruse the multitude of racks for clothes I could rip apart and re-construct. My friends and I joke this is pre-Imitation of Christ. Shopping vintage is an adventure, sleuthing for the best of finds and ultimately coming home with one-of-a-kind treasures. These days, Toronto is fortunate to see a plethora of vintage shops popping up on every corner. Here, steamed Pucci’s hang next to brocade Fendi and gilded clutches and rhinestone brooches lay in glass cases.
For those of us who lament the days of digging through ‘everything for a $1′ boxes, the true essence of ‘vintage-vintage,’ is in scoring amazing finds for under five dollars. You always heard the urban legend about the girl that found her vintage Prada under a heap of canvas bags and thought: “I want to be that girl!“ Then you would run out of your apartment, twirl around in the middle of the street and throw your beret into the sky like Mary Tyler Moore. That last little bit was a fantasy sequence.
If you are looking for some adventures in vintage shopping in the city, here are some tips to ‘vintage-vintage’ shop where others fear to tread:
- Kensington Market – Inside the side streets of Dundas Street West and Spadina (on Augusta & Kensington Avenue) lies the hippie, boho enclave of Kensington Market. While many know it for its fresh produce, incense products (patchouli, anyone?), cheap imports and old clothing, there are still many fine vintage stores which can appeal to the cosmopolitan fashionistah. MK & Ash love it, as do I. While weekends can be jammed with tourists and local citizens window shopping, try to come on a weekday afternoon to enjoy a less-crowded shopping experience. I think Courage My Love (14 Kensington Ave.) has the best fashion jewellery, chunky wooden bangles, reconstructed clothing and vintage slip dresses. I recently saw the sweetest dip-dyed chiffon capelets with sequin appliques on the shoulders. Flashback (33 Kensington Ave.) also has a nice selection of colour-blocked dresses, from cotton sundresses to pouffy tulle and sequin 1950′s cocktail.
- Antique Shops – Many fashionistahs walk by antique shops because they don’t need a naked porcelain of David or they have their condo outfitted with a chandelier (thank you very much). This is perhaps the biggest mistake of your life. Yes, I am being dramatic but if you say you love vintage jewellery, you mustx3 stop in your tracks and make a bee-line for that entrance. Beyond the dusty wooden frames, many times are glass cabinets and suitcases filled with costume jewellery and enamel brooches. These secret stashes are generally taken from estate sales or bought as assorted lots. Yesterday, I sternly (tough love) told my friend C, “You better negotiate” as she was taking a substantial volume of crystal. And you can do this as tiny shopkeepers appreciate your business. Remember, to smile, be friendly and keep your cool in negotiations.
- To Market We Shall Go – My heart longs for a vintage or antique market here, like the reknown one in Pasadena California, The Rose Bowl Flea Market or the famous Portobello Market in London (which is actually very good but packed like a can of sardines). We do have The Clothing Show (formerly The Old Clothing Show) which happens every Spring and Fall. I haven’t been in years but perhaps I should give it another go to see if it lives up to its brilliance of my youth.
And now that I have given you sage advice on how to find the vintage of your life, may the fashion gods look down favourably upon you and may you return with many high-ROC treasures to adorn your beautiful self. Success!
Where do you find your vintage off the beaten path? I would love to hear from you! xoxo
May 22, 2010 No Comments
Nothing makes me ‘ooh and ahh’ these days like accessories accented with zippers, grommets and studs. There is something perversely dark and edgy about any of these details. Perhaps it’s a hint of after-hours dominatrix mixed with punk rocker in a smokey, dilapidated Lower Manhattan dive bar. Or maybe that’s just me.
While any of these styles can be pretty conventional as far as recycled fashion goes, the key to integrating ‘a trend’ into your look is to adapt it either subtlely or as a statement. I prefer to go all the way…Volumes more fun. And ask yourself, why have only a little fun, when you can have A LOT?
- Zippers – I’m not talking the fly on your jeans or the closure that keeps your wallet safe in your handbag, I mean using zippers as part of the aesthetic design. I have seen wonderful interpretations of zippers strewn across tops haphazardly, bunched as fleurettes accenting a scoop neckline or even used to edge leather ruffles on a hobo bag. The key here is that zippers are all form, no function.
- Studs – I’m not talking about that vampire guy from Twilight or the head captain of the football team, I mean those silver or gold metallic buttons that add a special sparkle to clothing or accessories. The most notable are the studs we are seeing all over birdcage stilettos and sexy boots. Today, I saw the most beautiful leather opera gloves with tiny stud details and shiny, black patent with geometric studs. My friend A got me a studded Giles top from London, fashioned into a the head of a tiger (sounds like an over the top extravaganza because it is). It has a very interesting shiny, tactile quality and when asked to feel it, I respond, “See, See. No touch.” That, or $5 please. haha.
- Grommets – I have no witty analogy for this one. While I do love grommets, I don’t feel nearly as passionate about them as I do studs. What can I say? I live in truth. The best interpretation is on something completely unexpected such as these Coach lacquered wooden bangles. The disproportionate size of the grommets is enhancing the enticement.
To perfect your look, remember to smudge your smokey eyes and shake up your hair like you just don’t care. Rock on!
November 11, 2009 No Comments
I think it’s safe to say that Boystown (Church & Wellesley) in Toronto is a ghostly scene tonight. Imagine hay rolling down the streets past the uber-trendy martini lounges, disco balls with lights flashing to vacant bars, tight muscle T’s folded away neatly in cherry wood drawers. Where have they all gone you ask? Is there a 90% off sale at D&G? Did you like my Bruno reference?
My spider senses (aka Facebook updates) tell me that you will find the flamboyantly cute gays packing the stands at the Kylie Minogue concert shaking their bedazzled, Rock n’ Republic jeans to the diva pop. Nothing turns them on like sequins and Vegas showgirl outfits. Nothing! I am such a loser. I should be there with the boys dancing (the gays love me). Super-tear.
Miss Kylie, the petite Aussie import wears many hats – songstress/actress/songwriter/fashion designer/philanthropist/etc/etc (don’t you love it when people have many slashes? so versatile!). And can you believe she’s in her forties? Wild. While many know her best for ‘The Locomotion’ back in the 1980′s, she re-emerged in her 30′s with a Top 10 North American hit ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ that played across many international dancefloors. Many people have yet to truly discover her groovy dance songs which fuse electronica, dance, pop and have THE BEST DJ REMIXES ever! Of course, the gays know this because they are trendsetters. Hello!
Kylie recently triumphed over cancer and is now travelling with her Showgirl: Homecoming Tour. Her musical persona is an amplified Brigitte Bardot with elements of disco, glitz and glam. She shakes her bodaciously cute can in gold short-shorts (I would too with a tight @ss like that) and skimpy, barely there fashion forward/risk-taking costumes, that only the British or adorably petite can pull off. I love her music soooo much. It’s a great pick-me-up, kind of like eating candy.
And if you are throwing a festive soiree and people are being more party pooper than party trooper, encourage wallflowers by cranking up the Kylie a few decibels. That, or spike their drinks with Grey Goose (tastes like water). Works like butter, like two sticks of butter.
Here are my Top 10 Kylie tunes to save your life or party (in no particular order):
- Like a Drug
- The One
- WOW (MSTRKRFT Remix)
- Heart Beat Rock (Benny Blanco Remix) – OMG, HOTTT dance track! Can’t touch this!
- Red Blooded Woman
- Love At First Sight
- I Believe in You
- Love Affair
- Burning Up
October 9, 2009 No Comments