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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

Gimme More Rachel Bilson

Ubiquitous.  Definition:  Existing or being everywhere at the same time;  constantly encountered; widespread. 

Ubiquitous, this is how I feel about Rachel Bilson of late.  Soon she will be reuniting with that loveable emo Josh Schwartz, creator of Gossip Girl and The O.C. on her own tv show, about a girl who communicates with dead people.  The premise sounds kind of like Ghost Whisperer or Sixth Sense, but I am sure Mr. Schwartzie will put a special spin on it;  like, every week she gets into some zany romantic comedy, has gorgeous bachelors lined up and traipses around LA dripping in Lanvin and Louboutin’s.  Did you catch her on How I Met Your Mother?  (On an unrelated sidenote, I think in real life it wouldn’t take Ted Mosby that long to find a serious girlfriend. He’s a great catch, except on days when his hair does a weird thing.)   

In the meantime, Miss Bilson has been doing the fashion week rounds in every city (New York, Milan, Paris), giving us a plethora of looks to which we can aspire.  But remember, she has a stylist and she probably has the clothes on loan so don’t feel bad about yourself.

Rachel celebrating Cavalli in the trademark leopard print. I am obsessed with this mermaid tail, sweetheart neckline and off the shoulder action.

At the Chanel SOHO opening, working a high ponytail and fringed mini dress.

Personal Umbrella Holder & Hottt Pink ruffles at Dior SS 2011. Photos courtesy Huffington Post

I'm sneaking in an oldie but a goodie at Marc Jacobs. Couples that colour co-ordinate should never break up. Photo courtesy Style.com

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October 3, 2010   1 Comment

This One Time At Topshop…

Topshop Cool. No TRY. Just is.

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. 

Merchandised in mini shops to work a look.

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: 

Monet meets Alaia: Painted Floral Bandeau Dress

Mesh shrug in that 'Dashiki Chic' style I enjoy so much

Flapper Style: Do you have fringe on your pockets or are you just happy to see me?

Jingle-Jangle: Ball chiffon bangles make pretty noises

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May 31, 2010   No Comments

Sex & The City 2 Week: Carrie Takes Morrocco

 Champie check! Caftan check! Chiffon tent check! Wait a minute…where is the hookah?

Can you feel it?  It’s a strange euphoria taking over fashionistahs around the world.  They are ripping apart their closets for the ‘perfect outfit,’ scheming with girlfriends to confirm a hotspot for Cosmopolitans and breathlessly, anxiously waiting for SATC2 to premiere.  God help the straight man that accidentally goes to the theatres next weekend.  No doubt, it’s gonna be an estrogen overload with the requisite gays thrown in for good measure. 

I am extremely overjoyed that this installment takes place in the North African dessert as I am confident that its influence on pop culture will ripple effect.   If you follow the LC, you know that boho luxe is my favourite wardrobe choice.  Everyone who followed the HBO series, often concludes which character they most resemble in personality and style.  Of course, I choose Carrie Bradshaw

J’adore Dior t-shirt with boho circle skirt and the best coral studded gladiator stilettos.

Oh Patricia Field, you sass you.

  • Vintage Carrie – I love how Patricia Field (costume designer & NY emblem of downtown cool.  I mean, what is NY without Pat Field??) mixes her wardrobe high and low, matching the casual with dressy.  An homage to early SATC, Carrie wears her trademark ‘J’adore Dior’ t-shirt.  Maybe we should do the same? Ladies, dig into your jewellery boxes and dust off your gold script nameplate necklace.  It’s so 90′s retro.
  • Turban Town – I like Carrie in a turban.  It works for her.  I mean, when in the Arabian desert…  My friend A, infamous ‘fashionistah-eccentric’ from the ‘What Anna Wore’ post has been trying to promote the wearing of turbans for a few years now.  Somehow the trend has yet to catch on.  A few years back, I hostessed a bridal shower where I asked invitees to make wedding dresses out of toilet paper, ribbon and tulle.  As creative director of her team, the model’s toilet paper Vera Wang was accompanied by a turban.  Of course, I had to declare them the winners.   

Fashionistah Adventurous: I’ve never seen anyone pull this off in real-life. Will you be the first?
  • Living In Truth – For all the ‘ra-ra girrrl-power’ that SATC brings for us womenfolk, you know that there are going to be some bad apples that try to ruin it for the whole bunch.  Buy your tickets in advance and get to the theatres at least an hour early to secure your seat.  The last thing you want is a Friday night catfight.  I can envision it now: some girl puts her chartreuse capelet on a row of seats, another woman hit with the crazy-stick throws it on the ground and refuses to move her Jimmy Choo’s.  Someone pulls out her Louis Vuitton switchblade, hair pulling, chipped mani’s and parody ensues.  Note:  These are the same women that fight in line while waiting to pay at Christmas.   
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May 20, 2010   1 Comment

Welcome To My Humble Abode, Inspired by Elle Decor

"Oh hi, I hang out like this in my living room all the time." Purple is the colour of your energy. A monochromatic palette is charming and calming. Love the carved door.

Thank you for joining me, chez moi.  In another example of art imitates life imitates art, I recently completed the finishing touches to the LC and moved to a new domain.  In my non-virtual life, I moved a few months ago but some of my friends had yet to see my new place.  Honestly, I am very house proud.  My place was received with many ‘oohs and ahhh’s, a few ‘i loooove it!’s and a smattering of ‘It’s sooo European/New York/Paris.’  My heart was glowing.

Like any fashionistah worth her salt, I dibble-dabble in every artististic endeavour.  Having won the difficult battle with hoarding back issues of magazines (still recovering slowly but surely), I purged substantially in order to squeeze my belongings into a tighter living space with more character and a phenomenal location.  If I were to subscribe to a design magazine, it would definitely be ELLE Decor

Many people disuade themselves from decorating their apartments because they believe it’s a temporary dwelling.  But I would promote otherwise because home will never loose its transient feel if you don’t make it your own.  There is nothing better than coming back to a cozy, lived-in apartment.  In order to achieve a look which I shall coin as ‘Eclectic-Gorgee-osso’ (see how I just made gorgeous sound Italian?), here are a few simple tips I amassed while poring over home photospreads of socialites, celebs, designers and their set.

God is in the Details: Note the simple white border on the popsicle hued divan.

  • The Statement Couch – Nothing says ‘Paris’ like a striped couch.  Buying a sofa is a huge investment piece and it is perhaps one of the biggest declarations of taste you can make in your living room.  No one will compliment you on your house if your couch screams 1985, it’s made of pink velour or feels like pleather.  To reduce the cost you can re-upholster a flea market find or check showroom sales.  If you are unwilling to have a trendy couch, go with a solid colour and use soft blankets or embellished throw pillows to decorate.

In my opinion this is the best version of Toile around.

  • Toile Time – I fashioned bistro curtains for my kitchen out of a subtle bird’s egg blue striped toile.  This pattern is very french country but the modern update is all about how it is styled.  I am super particular about the toile I like: absolutely no prints with children, babies, roosters or chickens.  Not that there is anything wrong with poultry or adolescents but this is my preference.  Typically, you will see toile in a white/black/blue/red combination which can look very striking when paired with the right paint and furniture combinations.
  • Personal Style with a Twist -  Accent pieces look designer when they are complimentary as opposed to the same old, same old.  For instance, six decorative ducks on a mantlepiece is boring.  You lost me on the first duck.  Why not place some decorative accents from travels abroad with framed images?  A cluster of photo frames has an art gallery feel which is quite contemporary.  Mix textures such as glass with wood and ceramics.  Don’t be afraid to experiment but remember not to overclutter.       

Mix it up: A mantle with mismatched tchotchke's and a cluster of framed silhouettes.

For more inspired ideas for your space, check out www.apartmenttherapy.com OR www.elledecor.com

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May 19, 2010   2 Comments

Can't Get Enough of Taschen Books

My ideal home would have a walk-in closet for all my treasured ‘loved ones’ and a bright, yet cozy library filled with my other ‘loved ones’, books.  As I grow older and wiser, I find myself divesting of nonsense-ical material things.  But I will admit to my Achilles heel for uniquely, beautiful fashion pieces as well as the occasional hardcover or coffee table book.  I am a nerdy fashionistah.  Living in truth.

Egypt Style: Good enough for pharoahs. Yella habibi!

Upon perusing the local bookstore, the ones I am most drawn to are 9/10 published by TASCHEN.  Why you ask?  Well, the company always has a knack for the most appealing subject matters and the images are strikingly visual.  It’s as though they have taken you there - from a safari in Africa, to a museum in Berlin to the private studio of an iconic photographer.   

Oh you have a sexy Coffee Table: Contemporary Fashion

For the travel and lifestyle buff, there is a series of illustrated books showing various cool cafes, gourmet restaurants and tourist spots from London, Paris to Japan selected by the Taschen editors.  There are also new titles which highlight yoga escapes or meditaranean adventures.  Makes you want to pack your bags for an adventure, doesn’t it?
Fashionistahs can pick up books from famed fashion photographers Sante D’Orazio (aka Kate Moss’ ex) and Mario Testino who shot a book entirely on Rio. Look no further for architecture, fine arts or design, as the list is too long to recount.  If you are looking for a cool holiday present for a cultured bon vivant, find more appealing titles at www.taschen.com
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December 11, 2009   No Comments