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The Real Gypset: Boho Luxe Chic

Gypset

Great Bohos think alike: I would have chosen that outfit too while reclining on my divan in my personal teepee.

Gypsy+Jetset=Gypset.  Do you love it?  Sadly, I did not coin the term.  This afternoon, as I perused the lovely shelves of curated books at Type (883 Queen St. West), I came upon my favourite style of dress which is Bohemian Luxe Chic.  This worldly style is heavily influenced by nomadic gypsies who have a layered, ethnic look fusing one culture to another as they caravan from town to town, country to country. 

The difference is that Gypset combines the opulant lifestyle of rockstars, musicians, artists and bon vivants who travel the world absorbing the multitude of styles and integrating luxury details.  It’s a ratatouille of batiks, fringe, suede, embroidery with decadent sequins and fur.  Sounds delicious, non?

MK and Ashley Olsen embody this style as does Nicole Richie post-Simple Life with their braided hair, flowy chiffon dresses matched with fur vests and suede boots.  How does one so effortlessly achieve this look?  Here are some pointers on picking up a few items whilst on vacation to re-create this signature style:

  • Dazzle Me With Sequins – OMG, I die for sequin tunics, especially the bright hued gauzy ones with a deep-V and embellishment around the collar.  While in Maui, I picked up a white one with a colourful graphic floral and coins accenting the collar and sewn around the sleeves. 
  • Pleasantly Peasant – These simple bohemian tops often pop with colourful floral embroideries.  Details such as crochet, lace trims and mini tassles also add a home made effect. 
  • Animal Instincts – This could mean a sherpa vest, a Mongolian hat or fur lining on a Chinoiserie jacket.   
  • Travelling Influences – This means picking up prints which are indigenous to a faraway place – Indonesian batik, Kashmiri pashminas or Egyptian moneybelts.  Layering the textures and ethnic designs enhance the visual interest of the outfit.  
  • Just Add Rock n’ Roll – The finishing touch which gives the Gypset flare is the rock n’ roll edge.  Picture yourself thrashing around a stage with your long suede vest, leather pants and lace up booties.  Instead of rolling on a tour bus, pack up your entourage, throw your clothes into your Louis Vuitton luggage and hit the road on your horse and buggy.
olsen twins

Boho Conoisseurs: MK & Ash mix and match

Glamour Gypsy: Ballet Russe meets the Commune

Gypsy Glamour: Ballet Russe meets the Commune. Perfect for Coachella.

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November 8, 2009   1 Comment

Flamenco, Andalucia's Dance of Love

Galliano's modern interpretation of flamenco.

Galliano's modern interpretation of flamenco.

Yesterday my bestie A and I were discussing one of our favourite early 90’s Vogue fashion spreads featuring one of our choice supermodels, Helena Christensen as a Spanish beauty with a travelling, gypsy caravan.  The fashion was heavily influenced by Andalucia Spain with fiery red, tiered, flamenco dresses, intricately woven scarves, brocade fans and headpieces.  Funny how we both remember it so vividly.  I am obsessed with everything Spanish – I keep conversational cd’s in the car to practice, I coerce friends into Spanish vacations whenever possible, I am definitely taking flamenco lessons this Fall and I am investing in a black and red polka dot skirt so I can channel my inner Andalucian gypsy. 

For travellers to Seville, no journey is complete without the viewing of a traditional flamenco show.  Although I have been to Spain a few times, I have yet to enjoy the pleasure of participating in this long standing tradition.  Teardrop.  Fortunately, I have watched Vida (a Cuban flamenco troupe) and a shirtless, tight spandex-pant wearing Joaquin Cortes when they performed in the city.  I could barely sit still.  I wanted to hop on stage.

How fun would it be to walk around in these outfits all day? Note precision on hands. Adore.

How fun would it be to walk around in these outfits all day? Note precision on hands. Adore.

The origin of the Flamenco actually stems from the Indian Hindus who were brought over to entertain the royal courts with their beautiful ancient dances.  Through the years, the dance form integrated influences of  the Moorish and gypsies from Persia and Pakistan.  Flamenco as it is known today is danced with passion, graceful precision, stacatto footwork and fluid hand movements.  Live shows often include Spanish guitar accompaniment and the use of castanets (to accent the finger snapping).

From Andalucia.com, “There is widely held belief that you cannot learn the flamenco and that it is a secret held in the hearts of gypsies.” The most spontaneous and purest dance is the one that comes from your heart.  So true.

Here are some Flamenco Links to keep your toes tapping and your dancing soul lit with passion! Ole!

  • Feel the heat – The Flamenco Festival hits Toronto October 24th with special guest Rafael Campallo at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre www.torontoflamencofestival.com
  • Listen to your heartbeat – You’ve always had rhythm and felt bohemian.  Take a dance class with Esmerelda Enrique who offers flamenco, technique and spanish guitar classes throughout the year  www.flamencos.net
  • Better yet, go to where it all started –  Immerse yourself in the culture and history of Seville.  Bring me back a flamenco skirt will you? I am always supportive of travellers.  Love Spain as much as I do!  www.travelinginspain.com
Any of these fancy skirts will do.  Obsessedx3

Any of these fancy skirts will do. Obsessedx3

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September 29, 2009   2 Comments

Let's Have An Art Attack: DIY Love Collage

Receiving magazines in the mail is like enjoying Christmas monthly.  Growing up we had a few subscriptions and I remember opening up the mailbox like a kid in a candystore.  Looking back fondly, I recall the adrenaline rush of always trying to steal my sister’s copy of Sassy (before she arrived home from school) and plunking on my bed devouring articles and fashion spreads. 

Do you remember reading the DIY, Do-It-Yourself section?  Fashion Editor Andrea Lee-Linett would take a ball of string, a piece of lace and old blue jeans and fashion said items into a totally new ensemble, ready for the streets of SoHo.  I’m nostalgic for anything related to the 90’s.  My last birthday was in the spirit of DIY.  I requested that my friends join me on a blanket upon the hipster, Queen West West grassy nole known as Trinity Bellwoods Park to beat the heat with Greg’s Ice cream, listen to music on my ghettoblaster and make art, specifically collages.   

Creating one’s Love Collage sounds like a whole bunch of hocus-pocus The Secret, however, there is such a thing as art therapy.  Sometimes we don’t put down in words or vocalize what we want in life so pasting a few pictures on a canvas might be an easier, more therapeutic approach.  It’s also a visual reminder of our hopes and dreams in an aesthetically pleasing format. 

Here are some easy tips to making your own DIY Love Collage:

  • Get inspired:  My bestie N and I found these ah-maa-zing Giclees from Papaya Art www.papayaart.com in a little Wailea boutique called Fifi & Bootzie.  The artist mixes digitally manipulated photographs or old images with watercolours and glitter.  The best place to source a wealth of fresh ideas is the foreign magazine or Crafts/Arts sections of the bookstore.
Creative Abandon from Papaya Art. DIY Love Collage. You wanna.

Creative Abandon from Papaya Art. DIY Love Collage. You wanna.

  • Collect as you go:  Keep magazine clippings, old postcards, photos, crafty cards, fabric, buttons or decorative trims (like lace or ribbon) in an accordian file or giant ziplock bag.
  • Work out the kinks:  It’s all about the rubber cement or glue sticks.  Call me anal, but it drives me bonkers when pasted paper forms air bubbles.  I recently found my mini pink, hot glue gun and it brings me ridiculous amounts of joy.
  • Zen out:  Remember when you were a kid, looking forward to Art Time, not having to speak, just cut and paste.  There is something very meditative about making Martha Stewart styled roses out of spools of ribbon.
  • Get tactile. Mix media:  There are no rules when it comes to the LC.  Paint with acrylics, layer with magazine images, paste on swirls of sequins (obsessed).  The variety of colours and textures is part of the appeal.
  • Art appreciation:  If you don’t have enough space in your home for an instant art gallery, it might be easier to keep your collage in a small sketchbook.  Another way to keep your collage is to mount it inside a frame or shadowbox if you want to appreciate (or stare) at your art on a daily basis.  

Clear out the south-west corner (the love quadrant) of  unneccessary clutter in a room and hang up your piece de resistance.  Watch your love grow.

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September 28, 2009   No Comments

Pa'ia, Maui…It's Oh So Boho!

The morning of our departure from Lahaina (location for MTV’s Maui Fever) set amid the west coast of the island, I put on a silk bohemian maxi dress fashioned from vintage saris with a bikini.  After packing up our luggage, the cabdriver hopped into the driver’s seat of his minvan and asked, “So where to?”  I said, “Pa’ia.”  Shocked, he exclaimed, “Really?  I haven’t gone there in ages.  It’s like the place is stuck in a time warp with all those hippies.  You’re certainly dressed appropriately.”  I smiled gleefully as he noted my cunning Nicole Richie-esque fashion choice.  To the North!  Bohemia, here we come!

I was prepared for Paia, the coolest little town on the North Shore of Maui (on Frommer’s Top 10 List).  My friend J had advised me that I would looove it, knowing that I had a pechant for all things boho.  If you were to displace the Hamptons into a Hawaiian island, this would certainly be it except less preppy more Grateful Dead.  Perfectly highlighted blonde hottie mothahs and their sun-kissed, cool kids in Roxy hoodies intermingle with the T&G (tanned and gorgeous) local hippie surfers in tie-dye.  You can spend two days here to take in the shopping, sights and sounds.  Friendly locals greet you on the streets with a drawn out “Alooohaaaa” (say it like Keanu Reeves would say ‘duuuude’) and watch the crashing ocean waves as the sun sets.  Just like a Jack Johnson video (“Uke-lu-ke-le-le, eating banana pancakes..”) but for real and with rainbows.

  • Slumber Party:  Paia Inn – Stay at this Boutique Inn (the only hotel in town) owned by hottie hipsters in straw fedoras and the gorgeous models that love them.  Seriously.  This cozy inn has a few rooms, free Internet service, Free Trade organic coffee and baked goods, a trail to the beach in the backyard and a prime location on Baldwin.
  • Hippies Like Shopping Too:  There are a plethora of cute little shops along the main drag.  Get your fix of the HOTTEST swimwear at Maui Girl, like Swarovski encrusted paisleys, animal prints or designers like Rosa Cha.  Insanely cute but bring your credit card. For casual wear like tie-dyed tanks or bright batik cotton jersey dresses, try Mahina.   Trendsetters should hit up Alice in Hulaland for accessories, fashion forward flip flops and a nice selection of dresses.  Check out Indigo which dazzles with beautiful Indian and Asian accessories and home furnishings.
  • Chill Out:  One Gelato Company and Anthony’s Coffee Co. serves some delicious flavours of ice cream.  Try something tropical like Pineapple or a Dulce de Leche.
  • I like your Board Shorts.  Stalk Surfer Boys:  You know where all the hottt surfer boys hang out?  They’re buying seaweed at the Salad Bar and filling up on hemp (aka maui wowie) granola bars at Mana Foods.  It’s how they keep their 6-packs so tight.  Grab a beach mat, soak up the sun on Baby Beach (Paia Bay) or Ho’okipa and enjoy their natural beauty while you watch them paddle out to seek the perfect wave.  Be entertained for hours, for free.

And if you’re like me and you fall in love with Hawaii, you will start to tell people, “I’m from the Big Island.”  More info on Paia Town, click on http://www.paiamaui.com

Baby Beach (Pa'ia Bay) Pickup: "Aloha babelicious!"

Baby Beach (Pa'ia Bay) Pickup: "Aloha babelicious!"

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September 9, 2009   No Comments

Retro Muses & Rock n' Roll

Musicians have enviable style.  Perhaps it’s the explosion of creativity that creates both an enigmatic stage persona and a confident trendsetter who pushes the envelope.  Great style is timeless and we can learn a lot from our musical goddesses.

In my late teens, I had a very retro phase where I was obsessed with playing Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ on repeat full blast.  (My poor neighbours).  Blondie was hottt – platinum blonde hair, red glossy lipstick and sultry voice.  She thrashed on stage working her one-shoulder jersey dress or tight rocker skinny pants & black patent stilettos.  I had a favourite pair of “Blondie pants” that I found in a vintage store Black Market – they were tight, wet-look black spandex stretch (the kind Olivia Newton wore in the final carnival scene of Grease) straight outta 1978.  Even though I wasn’t a rocker per se, the pants always evoked the same response, “WTF are you wearing?”  Haha.  Catholic school on a Civie’s day.  So misunderstood.

  • Blondie Tunes:  The Tide is High, Rapture, Call Me
  • Modern Blondie After Dark:  Lurex tights from American Apparel paired with a one-shoulder tunic mini, fierce patent statement shoes, red lipstick
Rocker style: Don't mess with Blondie.  She'll F you up.

Rocker style: Don't mess with Blondie. She'll F you up.

The only disco diva in my books is Donna Summer.  I could sing any of her songs at karaoke.  Literally.  D-Sum epitomizes the glitz and drama that is Studio 54.  On a visit to New York, my travel partner in crime  T and I used the classic ‘Bad Girls’ (toot! toot! ahh! beep! beep!) as our theme song.  Dresses with spaghetti straps and layered chiffon ruffles that makes you want to twirl on the dancefloor under the mirror ball is totally Donna.  Or any piece that looks as though you accidentally swallowed a bag of sequins and then threw up on yourself.  It has to be over the top glamour!

  • Donna Summer Tunes:  Last Dance (last chance for looooove), Dim All the Lights, I Feel Love
  • Modern Donna in the Spotlight:  Harem pant jumpsuit with sequin appliques and gold strappy sandals.
Dramatically Disco: Donna shows you love & a lotta leg

Dramatically Disco: Donna shows you love & a lotta leg

And an extremely influential bohemian influence for me in the mid-90’s is none other than French pop chanteuse/actress and Mrs. Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis.  I must point out however that I do not love her now but Vanessa during a very specific time period in 1992/93 – when she was appearing in Coco Chanel commercials as the little birdy and appearing topless except for brown suede bell bottoms in French Vogue (as Lenny Kravitz’s love interest/muse).  At the time, it was virtually impossible to get her music on tape but now it’s obsolete unless I dig up my ghettoblaster.  My besties A & D and I used to recreate her look by wearing crochet tops, suede mini skirts matched with platform boots from John Fluevog and parting our hair in the middle (key!).

  • Vanessa Paradis Songs:  Be My Baby (How do you resist her as she sings in the empty swimming pool? If you have no idea what I am talking about, can you please You Tube this video to fully appreciate the reference. That good! I swear.), Natural High, Le Mosquito
  • Modern Vanessa Day Look for Portobello Market:  What would Summer Roberts wear?  Slouchy suede boots, prairie dress mini, furry vest and guitar (optional).
Boho Paradis: Vanessa seduces you while sipping a Coke

Boho Paradis: Vanessa seduces you while sipping a Coke

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August 30, 2009   No Comments