Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Style Icon: Tilda Swinton

Photographed by Paolo Roversi for Pomellato 

I've stated before that, for me, Tilda Swinton is the most beautiful woman alive. Sure, she is not your typical (and super boring) Hollywood bombshell (nor does she desire to be one), but she wears clothes like no one else. There isn't a single woman on the red carpet that carries herself with such grace and elegance (Cate Blanchett comes close). She is spectacular.

in Lanvin at the 2009 Academy Awards

"The other day, I was going through the airport security and I was searched by a male security guard. I`m very often referred to as "Sir" in elevators and such. I think it has to do with being this tall and not wearing much lipstick. I think people just can`t imagine I`d be a woman if I look like this." -- Tilda Swinton

in Pringle of Scotland

People like to label her as "androgynous" but all I see is someone who is actually really classically beautiful and quite feminine, but who also has a penchant for clean and minimal lines. Her achievements in cinema need no introduction: if you ever doubted her immense talent, rent I Am Love and watch her don Jil Sander after Jil Sander while giving a performance that puts most actresses to shame.

in Balenciaga

When it comes to the red carpet, Tilda Swinton is her own stylist. She is daring, elegant, never trying too hard, and always unmistakeably Tilda. She prefers designers like Alber Elbaz (who she considers a personal friend), Haider Ackerman, Jil Sander, and Pringle of Scotland, a house that she is a spokesperson for. Occasionally, she'll stray from her favourites and experiment with younger designers like Rodarte or Hussein Chalayan.

in Celine

in Jil Sander

Tall, willowy, and with killer bone structure, she is a designer's dream. And so much more than a model -- there is an immense sass coming out of her, whether she is wearing Le Smoking or a draped Lanvin. That short hair always looking the same length but always doing something a tiny bit different. A woman like Tilda has her personal style so defined, the styling becomes all about little nuances here and there: the shoe, the bag, an unexpected pleat... All in the details. 

in Haider Ackerman

Do I sound like I have a bit of a crush? Because I do! A big one! I mean, even a pencil skirt and a simple cream blouse look so amazing on her! On anyone else, they would be so matronly. No one wears a white shirt quite like Tilda.

in Pringle of Scotland at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival

Can you believe she is 50? If I look half as great at that age, I'd be ecstatic! No wonder she has two men by her side... 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Item of the Week: Prada 'Minimal Baroque' Sunglasses

Every summer I find a pair of Prada sunglasses to completely obsess over. Last year it was the 'Postcard' sunnies, and this year it's the amazing 'Baroque' ones. Prada has some genius marketing with the S/S sunglass collection, from videos to illustrations to photo collages. 

Of course, my favourite is the weirdest one: this stylish bird by Ivo Basignano. The bird lady is wearing the magnificent 'Deluxe Baroque' which are so beautifully ornate, but maybe not super timeless (hey, sunnies are an investment!) like the simpler frame.

I just love Prada's whole concept this time around. So bold, so fun: exactly what fashion should be.

$290 US at Prada

PS. How many sunnies do you own? I only have two pairs (not counting the cheap disposable ones). Shame on me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Five Summer Braids

Lela Rose S/S 2011

Last year there was the famous Alexander Wang side swept braid and this season Lela Rose has a similar thing going on with sort of a deconstructed version of it. I love the messiness. It's kind of like if the Alexander Wang braid woke up after a very long nap.

Lacoste S/S 2011

The tiny little braid at Lacoste is just so darn cute. I've never been able to figure out how to braid so close to the hairline so if anyone knows of a good how-to video, let me know!

Behnaz Sarafpour S/S 2011

This twisty knot braid is super adorable and a great non-chignon option. Looks like it's pretty easy to do: changing direction from one side to another.

Alexis Mabille Couture Spring 2011

If you take away the flowers, this is a straight up ponytail braid. Blake Lively has been wearing it a lot lately and I've been very jealous of her. My hair is just not long enough.

Ungaro S/S 2011

Let me just say how glad I am that Ungaro is back to normal sans Lindsay Lohan. Not only was the garden showing the perfect venue for a little comeback, but these milkmaid braids really added to the whole romantic concept. I wear this style a lot! It's super easy: you make two braids and connect them at the top with bobby pins.

To braid or not to braid? Which style would you love to try?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tribal Fever

Vogue Russia (May 2011)

Just yesterday a reader posted a great question in regards to the Theodora & Callum and Stuart Weitzman collaboration: "What happens when tribal patterns go out of style?" It's definitely a valid concern when it comes seasonal shopping which can be a gamble of sorts. Many struggle with a dilemma of investing in so-called trends, only to have them go, in Karl Lagerfeld's words, démodé in just a couple of months. 

Wilfred 'Emmanuelle' dress ($155 CAD at Aritzia);
Madewell 'Electric Ikat' dress ($145 US at Madewell and Shopbop);
Anthropologie 'Brilliant Chaos' dress ($198 US at Athropologie)

While tribal is enjoying an incredible moment right now, it is not a seasonal trend but a print that can be just as classic as a great floral. The word "trend" gives off an idea of transience which is not always the case. "Trend" simply means something is "hot" at the moment, but doesn't necessarily mean it's going to go out of style at any second.

Marc by Marc Jacobs silk dress ($280 US at Net-a-Porter and $315 CAD at Holt Renfrew);
L.A.M.B sleeveless dress ($361 CAD at Shopbop);
Zero + Maria Cornejo 'Zazi' dress ($730 US at Net-a-Porter)

With the tribal/ikat scenario, there are designers that are constantly working with this theme: Rodarte, DVF, Dries Van Noten, just to name a few. So as long as we are not talking tribal plus harem pant or tribal plus fannypack, we can carry our tribal garments season after season.

H&M maxi dress ($55.95 CAD at H&M);
Joie ikat maxi dress ($385 CAD at Holt Renfrew);
Zimmerman 'Labyrinth' maxi dress ($450 US at Net-a-Porter)

Plus, how gorgeous are these dresses? Don't you just want to wear them all the time? Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Research provided by my Editorial Intern Shakeira MacLean. In fact, she selected 7/9 of these dresses! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: Theodora & Callum x Stuart Weitzman Espadrille

Tribal themes are all the rage this season and rightfully so: they are bright, bold and beautiful. Perhaps too big for many, but that's where accessories come in. You may remember the fantastic (sold-out) Julian Louie x Aldo collaboration from earlier in spring, and now there is another stellar collab for the summer.  

Fans of bold prints will know Theodora & Callum for their beautiful accessories, and shoe master Stuart Weitzman (have you read my Q&A?) needs no introduction. Together they made a beautiful canvas wedge, marrying the best of both brands. The only bad part is trying to decide which one to get. There are so many to choose from!

Available in Vancouver at Holt Renfrew and Stuart Weitzman ($445) and online on Shopbop ($395).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Screen Style: In the Mood For Love

Another incredibly stylish film depicting a doomed romance is In the Mood For Love (2000)and it's truly one of my personal favourites. Beyond the heartbreaking haunting romance, the film captures an era in fashion history that is so incredibly specific to one place and one decade: Hong Kong in the 1960s.

The two stars of the film, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, are the epitome of the era's elegance -- she with her gravity defying chignons and form-fitting qipaos, and he with his perfectly coiffed hair, slim-fitting suits and skinny ties. The time marked a period in Hong Kong when the traditional qipao or cheongsam dress (originated in Shanghai but depopularized by the Communist government post-WWII) was transitioning from its original long silhouette to a more practical one with a shorter hem as more women joined the workforce. Qipao also lost its constricting tight sleeves and embraced a slew of contemporary fabrics like geometric themes, lace and big bold florals. This brief but astounding moment was soon replaced by a looser A-line silhouette of the late 60s, deeming the tight qipao bodice too restrictive, too bounding for the beginnings of sexual revolution. 

The fashion in the film mirrors the storyline of a romance too restrained, too polite to ever take off. Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) and Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) are neighbours who discover that their respective spouses are involved with each other. While coping with their spouses' infidelities, they seek each other's company, eventually leading them to become completely infatuated with one another. Yet, because of the irony of the origin of their relationship (she tells him: "We will never be like them!"), or perhaps because of social propriety, they choose never to consummate their romance. Watching them long for each other scene after scene (some even done in slow-mo) is torturous yet captivating. 

Under the beautiful direction for Wong Kar-wai, cinematographer Christopher Doyle and costume designer William Chang (both frequent collaborators) captured the era immaculately -- the generation stuck in the limbo between post-WWII traditional values and those of the free-spirited late 60s. Mrs. Chan struggles between maintaining the social expectations of a married woman -- albeit unhappily so -- and pursuing a new life and a new love. Maggie Cheung, wearing a different qipao in each scene, gives a superb performance: full of restraint, mystery and fragility. Tony Leung is broody, incredibly sexy and, perhaps, one of the finest suit wearers of all time. 

Together they are mesmerizing and perhaps one of the greatest screen duos of Hong Kong cinema. Hong Kong itself plays a supporting character, with its captivating colours and textures, mixing of the old and new. 

PS. The closest I could find to Maggie's qipaos was Shanghai Tang, although Louis Vuitton's current S/S collection might just do. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Item of the Week: Bodkin 'Sassafras' Shirtdress

Kind of super simple, I know. But breezy things are all I want to wear right now. Especially if they are extremely minimal (or preferably Margiela). This one by Bodkin is so damn sexy, drawing the focus completely on the shoulders (great shoulders are a must) and keeping everything else demure. 

I'm pretty thrilled to have recently discovered Bodkin -- really great crisp lines at reasonable prices. 

$255 US at La Garconne

Friday, May 20, 2011

Secrets of a Beauty Insider: Rebecca Perrin

If you like to nerd out over the latest NARS product, then you might know Rebecca Perrin from her hilariously-named blog Spinsterish. This up-and-coming beauty writer earned her editorial cred as a Beauty Intern at FASHION, has been working as a makeup artist for nine years and is currently a Social Media Editor at The Kit. Needless to say, she knows her stuff!

It’s art that I create with my hands. Give me a pencil and I can barely draw a duck, but give me a contour brush with three shades of brown and I’ll change the shape of your face. I’m a passionate people watcher and have become very good at analyzing the intricate angles of every cheek, chin and brow bone. I love the massive difference a subtle brush stroke here, and a dab of colour there can make to someone's face.


Linda and Niki (they were amazing!)

Linda Evangelista stood out to me during my youth -- I liked how her facial attributes appeared to be pulled upwards by an extremely tight ponytail. I loved Niki Taylor and preferred her birthmark over Cindy Crawford’s, but have since resigned to beauties with less all-American, more unique characteristics like Lindsey Wixson and Frida Gustavsson.

Lindsey and Frida

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If I Were Rich I Would Buy... Suzanne Rogers' Closet

Alexander McQueen

Honesty, I had no idea who Suzanne Rogers was (I don't really pay attention to Toronto society pages) before she was featured on The Coveteur, but now, it's safe to say that I'm incredibly intrigued (read: obsessed). 

I like to imagine this woman walking around the streets on Toronto wearing all the crazy McQueen garb. You know, just minding her own business. Walking her dog; maybe grabbing some Starbucks.

"I am a collector of all McQueen. There are many pieces I have that have never been worn and are like pieces of art in my closet that one day will be incredible vintage pieces," she says. I say: Please wear it -- someone should! 

Mary Katrantzou

Along with mind-blowing McQueen collection, one can also find a lot of Mary Katrantzou which makes her even more awesome. Makes me think that she doesn't just collect big names for the sake of collecting big names. She's cool, right?


And her shoe closets? Ridiculous. I spy YSL, Atwood, Kirkwood, Louboutin, Prada, Chanel, Vivier... I have like two of these! Okay maybe four or five.

If I were her BFF, I wonder if she'd let me share....

There's more! Head to thecoveteur.com. You'll sigh a lot. Like a lot.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: Madewell 'Crosswalk' Sandal

I'm pretty sure Madewell has become my favourite chain. There isn't a single thing that I don't want. All of a sudden monthly trips to Seattle seem so easy and breezy. What's a three hour drive and a possible hour boarder delay when one can return with slew of amazing basics... And shoes! Like these adorable cross strap heels. Just low enough to be everyday; just high enough for the evening. Plus there's something about this shade of leather that gets me every time.  

Thankfully, no real need to drive across the border -- they do ship to Canada, afterall. 

$188 US at Madewell (also available in Black). 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gossip Girl "The Wrong Goodbye" Fashion Round-Up

"They could have had it aaaaaaaall!"

Pretty sure this Bat Mitzvah "Rolling in the Deep" scene is the new Victrola striptease. What was once a lusty forbidden teen romance has now turned into lusty forbidden adult romance. Where before they were searching for decadence, now they are searching for innocence. Yeah, okay, I'm reading too much into this, but rest assured, I take my Gossip Girl very seriously. I'm here 'til the end, good or bad (rumour has it that the next season is the last).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Item of the Week: Strathcona Stockings

Well, there is a first for everything and this a first sock that made this blog. How could it not? So cute. And from Vancouver too!

Strathcona Stocking's debut collection consists of pretty vintage-looking florals, Navajo patterns, and even some wicked space prints. Hand printed and delicate, they are summer perfect.

If you ever wanted to attempt the socks with sandals look, now would be the time.

Available in Vancouver at One of a Few ($28) or online at strathconastockings.com.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Obakki F/W 2011

I published the original version of this review on Thursday, May 12th, but since Blogger decided to accidentally delete it, here is a new version.

Obakki is without a doubt an intriguing brand, one that has had some great moments since launching in 2005. And, since abandoning its overly drapey, construction-less attire from earlier collections (though some of it is still hanging on for their dear lives), it has been enjoying a second coming, one that could potentially (extra emphasis on "potentially") rival the likes of Alexander Wang. Maybe this comparison is far-fetched, but there is nothing wrong with having high expectations.

Their much-hyped F/W presentation was held a couple of weeks ago, and all Twitterers alike were in awe over the venue, a church filled with candles—something I found to be over-the-top, overly dramatic and unnecessary. This need for drama perhaps stems from the brand’s tired pursuit of cool, or in their own words, “effortlessly cool” (note: to be cool and/or effortless, one probably has to stop referring to themselves as cool or effortless) and all things rock n’ roll, limiting them from their place as a premium luxury basics brand. I wasn't able to attend the show due to a previous engagement, but I have to say, the various Twitpics of heroin chic styling made me cringe.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dear Readers,

Due to some issues with Blogger, recent posts have been temporarily deleted. Hopefully, they'll be back up shortly.

Update: The posts were never restored so I rewrote the Obakki F/W 2011 review and will publish the Beauty Fridays feature next Friday! Thanks for your support. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: 3.1 Phillip Lim 'Calder' T-Straps

Oh dear, this shoe is trouble. At whopping $850, it's not really in my current (trying to save for a trip to Paris) budget, yet I keep going back and admiring it over and over again.

There is something so striking about that straight sole so sharply bridging the front and the back. Also, I love the combination of matte black leather and the chalky white embossed texture. And, finally, that thin T-strap wrapping around the back of the heel. Kind of Margiela-esque.

$850 at Barneys and Shopbop.

PS. I had T-straps last week too. It's hard to fight what heart desires.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Design + Conquer's Summer Groove

'Hostess' Earrings ($45 CAD)

I can't praise this line more than I already do (or did in this Q&A from last summer). Since its stellar "Tron" collection (if only the remake was nearly as awesome as the jewellery...) Design + Conquer has gone a bit less alien and hopped on the soul train with brightly coloured compositions inspired by late 60s and early 70s logo designs (they really remind me of the old CBC logo for that reason). 

'Broadcast' Earpiece ($150 CAD)

Since our interview, Design + Conquer has been creating a hell of a buzz in the pages of FASHION, Filler Magazine and Refinery 29.

'Habitat' Earrings ($80 CAD)

For those just tuning in, designer Morgan Mallett hand crafts these pieces using flexible plastic polymer, which she also hand paints to create the most amazing translucent, yet opulent, colours. I already got the 'Hostess' earrings in bright Kelly green and now I want another pair in orange. Tough decisions. 

Design + Conquer is available at Labour of Love in Toronto, AG Silver Boutique in Calgary and online from Etsy, Bellaga and Boticca.

Gossip Girl "Shattered Bass" Fashion Round-Up

OMG, OMG, Dirty Uncle Jack is back. Slimmed down and just as wicked as ever. If they weren't rivals, Chuck and Jack would probably get along very well, most likely sipping brandy in some seedy bar while discussing the meaning of life in their talking-like-Chuck-Bass breathy voices. I'm glad they sort of patched things up. For now, at least.

Constance reunion! Did you catch Isabel and Kati? And where in the world was Nelly Yuki? I am going to consider this an official plot hole. And Charlie, how dare you sneak into Headmistress Queller's office? You didn't even go there! The nerve that girl has. I'm going to assume Dan turned down her "Just call me Serena" moment, because I choose to believe that he is still secretly into Blair. Didn't it seem like they wrapped that up really f-ing fast? Like, why is he not fighting Prince and Chuck over her? Maybe he'll be the one to save her from Thorpe? I know, I'm desperately holding onto Dan and Blair. Mostly because I want to keep Chuck and Blair for the final season.

Dior F/W 2009 dress
Sequin, Stephen Dweck and Sorrelli necklaces

I'm really not into the Serena/Charlie plot. They really don't seem to go anywhere. Let's count Serena's dead story arcs: 1) Aaron Rose; 2) Poppy and that guy Gabriel; 3) Carter Baizen (love saying his name!); 4) Tripp Vanderbilt; 5) her dad, The Baldwin; 6) hot prof Colin Forrester; 7) Pedo Prof and Miss Porny Eyebrows; and 8) Charlie AKA Single White Female. Am I missing anything? Oh yeah, there was that "sex tape" guy that died. So much drama, so little interest. On a positive note: she did look amazing in the black Dior dress. But that pink thing with the chains? Not so much.

Milly coat
Oscar de la Renta scarf
Louis Vuitton bag

As silly as this Royal Engagement storyline is, at least it's really fun to watch Blair having to live up to someone else's standards. It's like, after all this time, she is finally getting a taste of her own medicine. Is she "good enough" to be a Princess? Or, more importantly, how is she going to mess this one up? Will it be her inability not to dabble into highly unethical schemes? Or will it be Chuck?

Alexis Mabille Couture Fall 2010
Sequin earrings

Whatever it is, can we keep her in Alexis Mabille Couture? Please and thanks.

Alexis Mabille Couture Fall 2010

What will the season finale bring? Can't wait.

You know you love me!


It Girl