Monday, January 31, 2011

Item of the Week: Roots Envelope Sleeve

I bought this envelope sleeve for several reasons. I've been looking for something similar for over a year that fit my budget. Which is certainly not Céline or Hermès, both of whom originally got me enamoured with this design. Okay, let me explain. About a year ago, I was in a Céline store in Hong Kong and I saw this tote. I fell in love with its simplicity and the lack of hardware. I love it when the material is used to its full potential. Well, I didn't buy it, obviously. The thing was around $2,500 if I remember correctly. And, also, I said to myself: "Maybe they'll make a clutch. Those are cheaper." 

Céline S/S 2010 tote

The Hermès "Jige" clutch that I've been eyeing for years isn't getting any cheaper either. Especially when we start talking croc, like in the case of Miss Olivia Palermo. 

Hermès "Jige" clutch

Olivia Palermo with her Hermès "Jige"

Well, I can retire my obsession for now, thanks to Roots. It's actually an iPad sleeve but I'm going to wear it as a clutch. Like all Roots things, the quality of the leather is superb. The vegetable dye colour is divine. And, the best part: it's $58 CAD!!! A steal, if you ask me.

$58 CAD at Roots (also in black).

Love is Everywhere, I Found Mine at Shoppers



Any excuse for gift-giving is an excuse to shop. But who says Valentine's Day is just for couples? There is no reason why one couldn't get a little something for a sibling, a BFF or, simply, yourself. 

In fact, I always get a little something for myself on Valentine's. A wise woman once said (although I think it may have been Carrie Bradshaw) that “the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.”

Miss Dior Cherie Eau de Parfum , La Senza Gift Card, Dior Kiss Lipgloss, Conair Comfort Spa Set, Valentines Gift Bags 

So even if you're single, there is no reason not to indulge a little. As in, a little perfume, a little lipgloss, a little at-home spa treatment, and maybe a new nightie or fun pajamas. 

Or maybe you’re in a happy relationship but your significant other is clueless? Trust me, it happens. I may be lucky, but my girlfriend once received a vacuum cleaner for Valentine's Day (no kidding)! Well, no worries: you can make your own wish list of goodies from Shoppers Drug Mart and email it to Mr. Clueless. 

Dinner and a Movie Gift Card, Marc Jacobs Bang Eau de Toilette, Valentine's Guft Bagss, Lindt Gourmet Truffle Heart, Conair Massaging Slippers 

And for him? I like something nice smelling, something tasty (if you buy him chocolates, you can eat half of them guilt-free) and something comfy. Maybe a dinner and a movie--and if he's been good, even let him pick. He might surprise you and choose something that doesn't involve large explosions or car chases.  

Sounds good? Head over to Shoppers Drug Mart's website and create your own Valentine's Day wish list. Let the love begin!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Six Products That Are Making My Winter

This winter seems to go on forever and ever. Even my beautiful warm and humid Vancouver has been suffering from some very dry and/or freezing days. Thankfully, these six products recently came into my life and are making everything okay.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser ($20 CAD at BeautyMark)

This is an exfoliating cleanser and not a daily thing. The glycolic acid not only helps break down build-up (read: blackheads) from the skin's surface but gets rid of redness and dry flakes, leaving your skin baby smooth. I use it twice a week and my skin has never been smoother. Thanks Mario Badescu! 

LaROCCA 24K Gold Vitamin Mask ($56 CAD at BeautyMark)

This one I was really sceptical about. It sat on my desk for almost a month before I tried it. I mean having 24K gold on your face is weird, right? Well, it works and it does so on so many levels. The combo of gold and cocoa must be some kind of magic because it hydrates while detoxifying and tightening the skin. Continues usage also helps brighten those stubborn dark spots. Here's to gold!

Consonant Body Ultra Firming Organic Eye Cream ($36 CAD at BeautyMark)

I've recently reviewed this entire line but Consonant's daytime Ultra Firming Organic Eye Cream is my favourite. It keeps the eye area moisturised and primed for make-up all while keeping things nice and firm.

Korres Lip Butter ($13 CAD at Sephora)

Okay, this one is not so new. I've mentioned this lip butter a while back when I first started my blog. In winter, I not only use it on my lips but also on my cuticles, and even under my nose if I have a cold (which I always do). One of my best discoveries. I have one in every coat and every bag.

($18.85 CAD on and at Whole Foods)

Remember my Weleda post? Well, I'm addicted now. Especially with Skin Food. I've been using it everywhere: hands, arms, legs and feet. And I've converted most my friends into fans. It's no wonder it has such a cult following.  

Milk_Shake Conditioning Whipped Cream ($23 CAD at BeautyMark)

A leave-in conditioner is a new thing for me. I've never used one before but I've recently put in some highlights and, combined with the winter dryness, it really is a saviour. I find that it also helps with styling. But the best part is that it's called Milk_Shake and it smells like a milkshake because it is milk! Brilliant.

Do you have any great recent beauty discoveries that are helping you get through the winter?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

GIVENCHY Spring 2011 Couture

Couture is a term easily tossed around these days, like Juicy Couture or any Joe Schmo that makes dresses is his basement. It's insulting to the fine art that is couture. Hand-beading a tacky dress doesn't make it couture, okay? 

In France -- the birthplace of couture -- to earn a right to the title of 'couturier' or the right to use the term 'couture' for branding or advertising, one must first become a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. It's not only tough to be accepted, but once the designer is in, they must follow certain rules to maintain their status. They have to design made-to-order garments for private clients, maintain a Parisian atelier with at least fifteen employees and present their collections twice a year for the Parisian press. In fact, there are only ten official members: Adeline André, Anne Valérie Hash, Chanel, Christian Dior, Dominique, Sirop, Franck Sorbier, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maurizio Galante and Stéphane Rolland. Some choose to run pretty small but reputable couture houses and some are global superstars. Along with the official members, there are also foreign members like Elie Saab, Valentino, Armani and Margiela. Then there are guest members like my favourite Alexis Mabille. And, of course, there are accessory members too, like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Boucheron. So long story short: this term is not to be taken lightly. 

It's important to note how little fashion houses make from their couture line. Sure, it sells for a lot of money but it is also extremely expensive to make. The profits remain fairly low, if there is any at all. Let's put it this way: most fashion houses make their money from mass-produced accessories and cosmetics (if they have a cosmetics line). Couture is created for two reasons: status and art. 

It goes without saying that all the collections presented were breathtakingly beautiful in their own way. Chanel was Chanel, Dior was Dior, Elie Saab and Valentino were irresistibly feminine, Alexis Mabille showed his amazing potential as the next great couturier.... But the one that blew my mind was Givenchy. Inspired by Japanese anime culture and the famous butoh performer Kazuo Ohno, the collection was definitely the most beautiful blend of futurism and tradition. Painstakingly time consuming, one outfit required 2,000 hours of cutting and 4,000 of sewing according to 

In the end, though the collection comes out of such a weird concept, it is actually extremely wearable (minus the full-frontal boob dress). After last season's superb showing, many wondered how Riccardo Tisci was going to top it. I'm now worried how he will be able to top this! I would be living in fear everyday if I had to one up myself after creating something this stunningly beautiful.

View the entire Givenchy Couture collection on (warning: it may induce tears). For more on the business of couture, check out Searching for Style's Fashion 101: How Haute Couture Works.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: Maison Martin Margiela Wedge Bootie

Why does this keep happening? More Margiela shoes I want and can't afford. I'm not even sure what I'm looking at. I think there is a shoe hiding underneath this sort of leather curtain draped and hammered on top. Is it a heel or a wedge? A wedge, I guess, at least from up close. 

The brilliance of Margiela is that he (or whoever designs there) always finds a way to mess with your head. A little tweak here, a little tweak there and something that is quintessentially classic begins a new life as an optical puzzle. The great illusionist. A designer's designer. 

The white one looks like a marble sculpture of sorts.

$890 US at La Garconne, $885 US at Net-a-Porter, $ 924.66 CAD (also in brown) at Shopbop.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gossip Girl "The Kids Are Not Alright" Fashion Round-Up

Chuck Bass in Hugo Boss

I have a couple of friends that are somewhat in shock over my love for this show. How could I not? Gossip Girl is our generation's Dynasty. Incredibly rich, beautiful people entangled in an endless circle of love (sex), betrayals and scandals. Sure, no Moldavian massacres here, but it's fairly ridiculous on its own. The new villain? He announced his New York City takeover, Dr. Evil-style, while descending down a grand staircase. Five minutes later, we realized that young Miss Thorpe has daddy issues that she is willing to work on with Chuck Bass and that Lily had already done the dirty with Mr. Thorpe awhile back. I can't wait to see how this is going to unravel. Poor Rufus. 

Of course, while all this was cooking up, Lily was sporting a stunning silver-gray Louisa Beccaria dress along with the gorgeous Siman Tu long tassel pearl necklace. She is always perfect. 

Luisa Beccaria gown
Siman Tu necklace
Judith Leiber clutch

Her daughter Serena, on the other end, was a major fail for most of this episode. From the horrific drapey sweater thing with Jersey Shore studded embellishment on the sleeves. Disaster.

Camilla and Marc sweater
Maxime Simoens top
Rag & Bone jeans

Her Lily-impersonating ensemble was pretty spot on. The chignon, the camel coat, the constant disregard of someone with the last name Humphrey...

Mike Gonzalez coat
 Elie Saab dress

Then there was some improvement, but certainly not "black tie" appropriate.

Rag & Bone coat 
Elie Saab jacket 
Timo Weiland top 
Maxime skirt 
Rich Rocks necklace
Hue tights 
Michelle Vale bag 

And finally, Serena headed over to visit her jail buddy. In thigh-high hooker boots, assumingly borrowed from Little J. I'm not quite sure where the Serena storyline is going but I don't think Dan will be in her romantic future anytime soon. Methinks her and jail guy will become an item. Didn't it seem weird that he was just outside of the jail waiting for the bus? What? Miss Porny Eyebrows failed to pick up her beloved innocent brother that she so passionately fought to free? 

Burberry coat
Rag & Bone jeans
Tania Spinelli boots
Cleobella bag

Blair was up to her usual shenanigans. This time she used her minions to get an internship with Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pepsi. She turns down an offer from her mother, the divine Eleanor Waldorf, to pursue something that is against her nature. I've always wondered why the writers never explored Eleanor's glamorous career other than with the Jenny incident. I mean, Blair could rule a Missoni or Rykiel type of fashion empire if she wanted to. And they are finally now, in season 4, getting the hint. 

And of course, we have the wise Dan to thank for his "evil dictator of taste" description of Blair. I'm glad someone remembered the brilliant "tights are not pants" scene. Remember that poor girl running down the Constance courtyard crying her face off? She is a dictator of great taste, judging by her outfits this week. The Louis Vuitton ensemble is amazing. Can one ever go wrong with black and gold?

Magaschoni blouse
Louis Vuitton short sleeve jacket and skirt 
Longchamp tote

Then there was the amazing Philosophy coat couple with an Etro scarf and Lanvin bag. Her hair perfectly coiffed and shiny. She went a little darker with the colour, right?

Philosophy coat
Etro scarf
Lanvin bag

She wore Oscar de la Renta at the ball, as she often does. She is a quintessential Oscar girl: classic, beautiful and somewhat safe (not a big risk taker). But can she be the next Anna Wintour? We'll find out next week as she hits the W offices! 

Oscar de la Renta gown
Swarovski necklace
Kotur clutch

Thoughts? The outfits, the Thorpes, Blair and Dan....?

You know you love me.


It Girl

Item of the Week: 3.1 Phillip Lim Printed Lace Lingerie

Valentine's Day is coming up and most of us will be shopping for some pretty intimates. Now, I'm not a La Senza or Victoria Secret type of girl. I prefer less in-your-face-sexy designs by Calvin Klein, VPL, The Lake and Stars, Marni (if I could only afford it) and of course, Phillip Lim. In the past year, I've received a gazillion emails asking me what underwear Blair Waldorf usually wears. The answer is  Phillip Lim, most of the time (sometimes it's Marni and La Perla). It's pretty, delicate and, most importantly, affordable. The only bummer is that it's not available in Canada! Just online, unfortunately. But they come pretty true to size -- XS, S, M, L -- and they come as separates. I usually get a small bra (36A) and medium panties (size 6/8 -- I like them loose). 

$87.93 CAD for the bralette and $98.28 CAD for the panties at Shopbop (free shipping to Canada).

PS. In fact, there are so many options on Shopbop, it's hard to choose. There is also the gold printed lace bralette and cheeky briefs, the printed lace silk kimini wrap, the chiffon bralette or the chiffon bralette with disco stripes with matching cheeky brief

Friday, January 21, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Lips' Future is Bright, How About Magenta or Honeysuckle?

Jil Sander S/S 2011

Chanel Cosmetics Creative Director, Peter Philips, created two very very bright lips: one for Jil Sander and one for Fendi. Both pretty damn spectacular. The Jil Sander lip is a bit more of the magenta scale while the Fendi lip tends to gravitate toward honeysuckle. Philips mixed pigments for both, but Chanel does have pretty comparable shades in Taffeta Rose and Orchidee. But, I think these happy brights might be even a better (not to mention cheaper)! 

MAC "Show Orchid" ($16.50 CAD at MAC)

NARS "Schlap" ($30 CAD at Holt Renfrew, The Bay & Sephora)

Fendi S/S 2011

CARGO Plant Love "Robin" ($20 CAD at BeautyMark)

REVLON "Fuchsia" ($9.95 CAD at Shoppers Drug Mart)

What's your favourite bright shade?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ahoy Sailor!

Jil Sander S/S 2011

Yeah ok, one can do a sailor feature pretty much every season. It's nothing new, but always so irresistible. Especially if the stripes are vertical (read: slimming). Sure, it's always easy to find a stripe top (like the super awesome elbow patch one from H&M) but what about dresses, skirts, shoes and bags? 

I think Jil Sander's collection was my absolute favourite this season. I want every single thing. Especially this dress. Suddenly my Jil Sander for Uniqlo things are starting to look really boring.

Marc by Marc Jacobs S/S 2011 

The one thing I can probably afford is this little Marc shirtdress. And yes: I'll be needing that hat too.

Jeremy Laing S/S 2011

As you probably know, sheer maxis are the thing this season. And I'm in love with this Jeremy Laing skirt -- probably the only horizontal stripe I'd wear below the waist.

Haider Ackermann S/S 2011 

I don't even know what to say about Haider Ackermann's spring collection. It's mind blowing. How come no one ever wears his stuff on the red carpet? If I were rich and famous, I would live in it! 

Prada S/S 2011

I so want these Prada shoes. Just look at that woven leather! My friend and I were trying to guess how much they are going to retail for. $800? $1000? Bah!

Tabitha Simmons S/S 2011

I suppose these Tabitha Simmons' espadrilles would be like a rich person's Chucks?
Hermes S/S 2011

Yes, this is a special edition Birkin bag. Just in case you needed one for yachting around Côte d'Azur. 
Jil Sander S/S 2011

This sailor summer tote by Jil Sander is perfection. Probably more attainable for sailing away.

I'm sensing a cheaper version of this post in the near future. Who's into stripes? 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: Aldo "Kochler" Pump

Every once in a while, I have to revisit favourite Canadian shoe retailer, Aldo. As much as I love my designer shoes, the reality is I can't afford them most of the time. One can always count on Aldo for a quick and cheap fix. And more often than not, the word "cheap" doesn't translate into the design. I think these pumps could almost pass for Celine. 

$90 CAD at Aldo (also available in nude).