Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gossip Girl "Gaslit" Fashion Round-Up

Girl love: Blair and Serena on prom night

You know it's a sad episode when we have only three outfits to discuss and two of them are Little J and Vanessa's. Sigh. Overall it was a very sad episode indeed. Pretty sure Juliet got to Serena's head. Everyone is just messed up. I have no words to describe the disappointment I feel for Vanessa (well, I do but it's pretty politically incorrect) -- you know I was a big supporter of her since the beginning. But damn, was her little Pendleton x Opening Ceremony cropped jacket amazing or what? I was just admiring it yesterday at Gravity Pope, one of my favourite stores in Vancouver. I'm such a sucker for anything tribal and I have a good excuse: I am Canadian! So no judging me, ok? Mixed with plaid? You're ripping my heart out Vanessa. I love plaid. But I can't discuss you anymore right now. Let's just hope Blair gets you good...

Pendleton x Opening Ceremony cropped jacket
Alice + Olivia "Dawn" plaid shirt

Isabella Fiore "Valentina" satchel
Rich Rocks dome ring

Chinese Laundry boots

Doesn't it seem Little J always fesses everything up anytime someone mildly gets hurt? Ah, that's the point J: you don't mess with people unless you want to hurt them! Simple logic. But her brain must be all muddled under ten pounds of bleach blond ringlets. Her look is so confusing to me: quasi-goth with Taylor Swift hair. Makes no sense, just like the character. Maybe that's the point: teenage girl still looking to "find" herself. I guess she'll be looking elsewhere since I believe this is the end of Jenny Humphrey for now. See you next year.

Zero Maria Corejo coat
Alexander Wang "Grandpa"sweater
BCBG skirt
Cleobella "Brixton tote
Tania Spinelli boot
Courtney Udelson necklace

Who is Blair's true love? Serena or Chuck? I say Serena. She doesn't want to be defined by being with Chuck but it is really Serena that defines her. She is the "ying" to Blair's "yang." Okay, I know that was cheesy but, like I said before, for me this show is about girl love. Remember when Blair rushed to see Serena in the hospital in pajamas after Serena and Tripp crashed into a pack of wolves? (I'm still cracking up over that.) The fear on Blair's face? Girl love is the best.

I'm getting so mushy here that I almost forgot to comment on the amazingness of Blair's Barneys plaid dress. Oh, so much love!

Barneys New York tartan dress
Lanvin necklace

Louis Vuitton yellow "Vernis" satchel

For the first time in forever, I was rooting for Dan! He was the only one making any sense this episode. What the hell, Lily? Just talk to your daughter like a normal person!

Okay, I'm totally freakin' out knowing that stupid Damien is back! What does he have to do with Miss Porny Eyebrows? Can Blair take them both down in one strike? I think so!

You know you love me.


It Girl

PS. Have you entered my contest to win the Rachel Leigh "Audrey" bow bracelet, worn by Miss Blair Waldorf herself? You should do it! Click, click, click!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Introducing Sophie's Closet: an Accessory Heaven... plus GIVEAWAY!

I'd like to introduce you to one of my favourite independent online stores, Sophie's Closet. It has been the object of my shopping obsession over the past six months and you know just how much I love accessories. I got a pretty Jennifer Behr "Bella" flower for my wedding, a Joomi Lim's spiked bangle, and a Rachel Leigh "Gumball" ring. There are so many things I want at Sophie's Closet that I have to pace myself.

Sophie and I first connected over our love of all things Gossip Girl, especially Blair (we agreed that we don't mind Serena). I soon found out she carried most of the accessories featured on the show, from Blair's headbands to Lily's glamorous jewels. In other words, Sophie's Closet is an accessory heaven! Founded by a former Vancouverite currently living in Dubai, Sophie's Closet has been in business online for two and a half years and has caught the attention of Harper's Bazaar, Dubai's celebrities and fashion insiders. She now has countless clients all over the world, including a couple of princesses (but we have to keep their identities a secret).

Born out of her "love of shopping," Sophie's Closet carries some of the best costume jewellery from highly regarded designers like the super hip CC Skye, girlie Rachel Leigh, elegant Jennifer Leigh and sophisticated Bounkit and Siman Tu. Along with contemporary designs, one can also find an amazing selection of vintage from Chanel, Dior, Balmain and from a Canadian legend, Sherman.

The mascot of Sophie's Closet's is an illustrated version of Sophie herself, a woman that loves to "live in a world full of pretty things." A trained graphic designer with an MBA in Marketing, she combined her skills with her love of jewellery, and Sophie's Closet was born. Why costume jewellery? "In the old days, you bought very expensive jewellery but you wore it all the time. Women had their signature piece and it was okay. Now it's all about switching it up. There is still a place for fine jewellery -- like for your wedding, of course -- but even then it's become hip to mix it up, " says Sophie.

She has an impeccable eye for selecting vintage. "Carole Tenenbaum inspired me to collect vintage," Sophie tells me. "I was inspired by vintage Sherman -- how something old can still be so beautiful." What does she look for in vintage? Detail, colour and condition: "If it is in good condition, it means it was made in good quality." Sophie believes that vintage costume jewellery can be an art form and that every woman with great taste can appreciate its intricate and beautiful detailing, particularly with pieces from Sherman and Dior.

The store also carries contemporary designers Siman Tu and Hassan Bounkit, both designers creating what is bound to become some of most coveted vintage pieces in the future. The craftsmanship of their pieces is astonishing. Sophie has converted many fine jewellery devotees (most importantly, her mother) to costume jewellery.

But no worries, Sophie's got a rock edge to her. With studded selections from Vita Fede, CC Skye and Joomi Lim, things can get a little dangerous.

And things can also get really cute with Sophie's love of bows. This is a love that we both share, as I'm sure most girls do... girls like Blair Waldorf, our favourite bow-loving style icon.

Since Sophie and I first connected through my Gossip Girl fashion round-ups, we thought it would be fitting to surprise my readers with something that Blair wore on the show. And we knew that it had to be a bow! In fact she wore it twice: once in blue and once in yellow.

TO WIN (open worldwide) this adorable Rachel Leigh bow bracelet: Head over to Sophie's Closet, select a piece that you covet the most (other than, of course, this bracelet) and tell us about it in the comments below until December 6th at noon (PST). Happy browsing and good luck!

A big "thank you" to Sophie for donating this amazing bracelet. Let's keep our fingers crossed for our very own Sophie's Closet. It must be heaven! In the meantime, stay in touch with Sophie on Twitter, Facebook and through Sophie's Closet blog.


Item of the Week: Obakki "Libertine" Dress (a Perfect Gift)

This is a very special guest post by Alexandra Hall, a fashion student at the Visual College of Art and Design in Vancouver. As an assignment for their Fashion Writing course, taught by the amazing Rebecca Tay, Western Editor of FASHION, students were asked to pitch posts to Vancouver bloggers of their choice. Alexandra and I share a love for Obakki so naturally the post was approved instantly (a girl after my own heart). Enjoy!

By Alexandra Hall

‘Tis the season to be…jolly? I was looking through my calendar just recently (actually, I was counting down the days until my school term is over) and noticed that Christmas is just over a month away! I don’t know about you, but I dread the thought of last-minute Christmas shopping: jam packed stores, people pushing and shoving - the thought of it all makes me cringe. One thing I do like thinking about, however, is my Christmas wish list, which I have started to pleasantly dream about.

At the top of the list is Obakki’s "Libertine" dress. Made of 95% silk and 5% elastane and available in black or silver, it’s a very simple yet eye-catching dress that’s ready to hit the party scene with you no matter what you do over the holidays. Not only would this dress make a perfect Christmas present, it’s a make a great New Year’s Eve ensemble. Pair it up with those Nicholas Kirkwood spray paint suede pumps and I think, you could rule the world! Well…you’d come pretty darn close.

With present options like the Libertine dress, it really is a season to be jolly.

$355 CAD at Obakki.

Thank you Alexandra! And also a big "thank you" to all the Fashion Writing students. It was a pleasure speaking to you about fashion writing for online media. Good luck with your studies!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rebecca & Penelope Pearl Necklace Winner...

Congratulations! I will be contacting you shorty!

The winner is always chosen by random.org so it's really a luck of the draw. Thank you everyone for entering. I really enjoyed reading all the amazing entries and I wish I had dozens of these to give away. Pearls are truly precious.

I have another jewellery giveaway coming up on Monday so stay tuned! It's very pretty, I promise!

Beauty Fridays: Berry Lips

Ginta Lapina at Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2010

I may actually love lipstick more than nail polish. Too bad I'm such a slob and always snacking or sipping on coffee. I can't really keep lipstick on my lips for long periods of time no matter how expensive the lipstick is. I still try, especially with brights. I love a good berry and my $52 (no kidding!) Tom Ford in Moroccan Rouge in particular. It's so perfect for winter and gives the face some much needed colour.

Tom Ford in "Moroccan Rouge" ($52 at Holt Renfrew)

Well, you don't have to be crazy like me to get a perfect berry shade. There are certainly cheaper but just as striking alternatives like Chanel's "Gabrielle" (named after young Miss Coco herself), the stunning Paul Dorf "Holiday" (so aptly named for this season) and a goodie-but-cheapie Revlon "Raspberry."

Chanel Coco Rouge in "Gabrielle" ($40 at Holt Renfrew and The Bay)

Paula Dorf Lip Colour in "Holiday" ($21 CAD at BeautyMark)

Revlon Colorburst in "Raspberry" ($9.95 CAD at Shoppers)

Perfect for that kiss under the mistletoe!

Do you have a favourite berry shade?

Bombay Brow Bar: Brows Indian Style

I had my first threading experience last week courtesy of Bombay Brow Bar. I've heard of threading before, but all the good places were in Little India which is way too far for me to trek to. I'm very protective of my brows. Waxing is a big no-no. I'm a tweezer. And now, I'm also a threader.

Furnished in a very contemporary interpretation of an Indian interior, Bombay is a very tiny space but also very warm and welcoming. You are offered chai and seated comfortably on one of the burgundy chairs and introduced to your esthetician. I opted for the "bombshell brow" service ($23). First you go through a short consultation using the "3-point technique" to achieve the brow shape best suited for your face. Once that's done, threading begins! It's the fastest, most precise technique to achieve the cleanest, sharpest line. The initial feeling of threading is a bit odd: it almost feels as if someone is scraping your skin. But does it hurt? I don't think so. Pretty painless, actually.

Once you're done, you can also opt for the complimentary brow makeup to add even more drama to the brow -- a little goes a long way. When I walked out of Bombay, my brows looked gorgeous! Very bombshell indeed.

For those with mischievous hairs will be glad to know that threading can be extended to other parts of the face with their "bombay a-la-carte fuzzies" ($10) or "bombay bare" ($49) services. But girls don't have those problems, right? Shhh, we'll keep it a secret.

Visit Bombay Brow Bar at 1056 Mainland Street in Yaletown, Vancouver's spa capital, or online at bombaybrowbar.com.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Style Icon: Jacqueline de Ribes

Jacqueline de Ribes photographed by Richard Avedon

If you purchased the September issue of Vanity Fair, then you are familiar with Jacqueline de Ribes. That extraordinary life, that closet, that talent, that profile! To say that I'm obsessed would be an understatement. A designer herself and a muse to many -- Emilio Pucci called her “Giraffina,” or “baby giraffe”; Yves Saint Laurent called her “an ivory unicorn”; Oleg Cassini found her “elegant to the point of distraction”; and Valentino named her “the last Queen of Paris” -- Jacqueline is an undeniable style icon. To add to the intrigue, Jacqueline was a good friend of Nan Kempner, the ultimate style hero of this blog. Together they ruled the social scene for a good number of decades, Nan in New York and Jacqueline in Paris.

in Christian Dior at home in Paris, 1959

She was born a Countess on Bastille Day in 1929 and to a life of privilege, but spent her teenage years in Nazi-occupied Hendaye, France, where they requisitioned her family home and used Jacqueline's room as a torture chamber. The experience left her very humble and eventually lead to her becoming a serious philanthropist. She married Vicomte Édouard de Ribes at the age of 19 (believe it or not, at the time she only owned two dresses). She soon became one of the most regarded socialites and her insane love for couture was unleashed! “You have to see Jacqueline against the backdrop of postwar Paris. People had been so deprived during the war, everyone was trying to enjoy life, " said Hélène de Ludinghausen, former directrice of Yves Saint Laurent. Her favourite designer? Christian Dior and, of course, his young apprentice YSL. Diana Vreeland, then fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, soon took notice and had Avedon shoot Jacqueline. The result was the iconic cameo-like profile portrait with her swan-like long neck, exaggerated cat eyes, her large distinct nose, and long thick mane. Avedon described her as having the "perfect nose" and added “I feel sorry for near-beauties with small noses.”

“Between 1950 and 1955, I figured out my style. The real change occurred between 1953 and 1954. It had to do with my eye makeup. Everyone said I looked like Nefertiti—I don’t, but that’s how I got the idea.”

wearing Pucci abroad La Creole, Starvos Niarchos' yacht, 1956

She soon became a friend and muse of many designers, often collaborating with them rather than just being a patron. She recalls Oleg Cassini telling her "I feel you are a frustrated designer. Would you do things for me?" She had a natural talent for cutting and draping and learned to make patterns very quickly. She would cut patterns in her home and send toiles to Cassini in New York where he would then construct the garments. She hired a young Italian to help her with the drawings -- it was Valentino! He stayed with her for about a year and went back to Rome to start his own couture house. Jacqueline became a loyal friend and client.

on a glacier of Cervina with speed skier Leo Gasperl, late 1950s

wearing Pucci at the Agnelis' la Leopolda, late 1950s

in Dior, early 1960s

Her cutting skills were getting quite notorious. She was hired as Emilio Pucci's assistant who proclaimed that "she could walk in Christian Dior's shoes." Although she loved fashion and was a talented designer, Jacqueline was discouraged to start her own label: women of her upbringing and class were not encouraged to work. She settled into family life with her husband and children and continued to "aid" and support other designers. And, of course, attend fabulous parties in fabulous clothes!

with her children in early 1960s

As times changed, so had class views on labour. By the 1980s, Jacqueline finally mustered up the courage to start her own line. Her family thought she was out of her mind. She moved her studio into YSL's attic and started cutting and draping. In 1983, during Paris Fashion Week she presented a 14 look collection at her house. YSL lent her his lighting and sound people and he sat front row along with Pierre Bergé, Ungaro and Valentino. “Everybody was prepared to ridicule the society lady making fashion. But she made beautiful clothes. Jacqueline’s an elegant lady with a naughty twist,” said Women’s Wear Daily.

The collection was a critical and commercial hit. Saks Fifth Avenue signed her to an exclusive three-year contract. Saks even made mannequins that were replicas of her own image! Unfortunately, Jacqueline underwent a hemilaminectomy, which left her unable to walk for three years from 1994 to 1997, and she was forced to retire from fashion.

with YSL, one of her closest friends, at Hotel Lambert, mid 1980s

wearing a gown from her own label and Harry Winston earrings, 1980s

posing with her collection, early 1980s

photographed by Victor Skrebenski, 1983

In 1999 Jean-Paul Gaultier, the French designer, dedicated his collection to Jacqueline as the quintessence of Parisian elegance. Metropolitan Museum's The Costume Institute is planning a retrospective of her life, her creations and her couture collections. In her collection, other than countless Diors, Valentions, Ungaros, Balenciagas, YSLs, Manolo Blahniks, are a pair of shoes and a belt that once belonged to Marie Antoinette and a jeweled headpiece once worn by Sarah Bernhardt. Harold Koda of The Costume Institute is determined to tell the story of a woman who was not just a clothes horse but also a creator and someone that understood the art of couture from inside out. Jacqueline de Ribes is personally helping to curate the exhibition. She lives in her home city of Paris, France.

I would be happy if I possessed 1/10 of Jacqueline's elegance. I wish I could be called "an ivory unicorn!”

Further Reading:

Going from Riches to Rags, Designing Vicomtesse Jacqueline De Ribes Reaps as She Sews: Handsomely. People Magazine.

The Doyenne of 'Le Tout Paris.' NY Times.

The Last Queen of Paris. Vanity Fair.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside: Cozy Knit Accessories

It's been so crazy cold outside, I find myself dreaming of cozy knits instead of sequins and lace. And, of course, warm and cuddly knits make for perfect gifts.

These long fingerless gloves by A Peace Treaty are definitely some of the coolest gloves I've seen lately. I love the combination of horizontal and vertical stitch and the dual shades of grey. Plus, fingerless is the way to go for an iPhone addict like me.

A Peace Treaty long fingerless gloves ($100 CAD at LYNNsteven)

Burberry ear muffs are classic. I've had mine for years and they are one of the best winter purchases I've ever made. You know those days when you get your hair done and just don't want to put on a hat? Yeah, those days are now over.

Burberry ear muffs ($150 CAD at Holt Renfrew and Burberry)

Not that I'm saying that toques can't be stylish -- they certainly can be. No knit post would be complete without Missoni, the reigning ruler of knits.

Font sizeMissoni beanie ($160 US at Net-a-Porter and $170 CAD at Holt Renfrew)

What's winter without cute little pompoms? Yes, grown ups are allowed to indulge in cuteness every once in a while and the holiday season is perfect for it. Check out this adorable toque by Neff!

Neff "Amy" toque ($45 CAD at Off the Wall and Pacific Boarder)

I love this super long "Army" scarf by TNA. It's super soft and cozy. I'm imagining it wrapped around a casual weekend ensemble having yummy brunch somewhere.

TNA "Army" scarf ($50 CAD at TNA and Aritzia)

I've already blogged about this amazing Prada headband earlier in the season. It's absolute perfection and makes for a perfect accessory outdoors or indoors (boys, if you are reading this, your girlfriends and sisters would absolutely love to get this for Christmas).

Prada headband ($110 CAD at Holt Renfrew)

Call me crazy but I love getting socks for Christmas. Some say that socks make for the worst gifts. I think that they haven't seen these Pantherella 100% cashmere socks! Not your average sock.

Pantherella cashmere socks ($65 CAD at Holt Renfrew)

I also love getting warm and fuzzy slippers and now I've found the perfect ones for my wishlist! Made in Vancouver, these Granted slippers are just what one needs to get through the winter season in style (I also love Granted sweaters I blogged about last year).

Granted slippers ($52 CAD at LYNNsteven)

And, of course, last but not the least, my new found love Wool and the Gang knitting kit. Whether gifted as a kit or knitted by you and given to a loved one, these Peruvian wool toques, scarves, snoods and shrugs would make someone very hip very happy.

Wool and the Gang knitting kits (from $100 CAD at Homewerx)

Happy shopping!

Shoe Wednesdays: Roots "Chukka" Boot

I should name this week "The Freezing Vancouver Week." I've been looking for all things warm, all day long. So naturally I spent some time at Roots, Canada's favourite outerwear line. I found these "Chukka" boots. Originally created in 1973, Roots has recently re-issued the boot to great success. The slip resistant, flexible rubber sole and amazing quality leather makes Chukka the perfect city winter boot. A definite classic.

It's always weird when I feature a flat comfortable shoe, isn't it? But, sometimes warmth and comfort must prevail. As long as they are still stylin' of course!

Available in pebble (above), brown, black, and blue suede.

$158 CAD at Roots.