Friday, July 29, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Hair Heroes

Chanel Fall 2009 Couture AKA 'The Most Beautiful Hair Evah'

Although it's very pretty, my hair has been a life-long problem. Why? I've had greys since my early 20s and have been colouring my hair every eight weeks for the last six years (so much money spent, I could have bought several If I Were Rich items). Dyeing is a vicious circle: it covers those unsightly greys, but it also makes my hair so ridiculously dry. Especially if you add a flat iron or a curler to the mix. Being a beauty blogger, I get a lot of products so I'm always experimenting, but here's what's on my summer roster at the moment.

Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask ($36.80 at selected hair salons)

Once a week I use this Moroccanoil mask instead of my conditioner. 5-10 minutes and it's a world of difference without weighing down the hair. Of course, like all Moroccanoil products, it smells divine.

Oribe 'Maximista' Thickening Spray ($27 at Beautymark)

Then, while my hair is still wet, I apply Oribe's 'Maximista' at the roots for extra volume. I find that it really assists lifting those roots out in half the time when blow drying. It also makes the hair feel strong but still really pliable. 

Couture Colour Pequi Oil Treatment ($36 at Sephora)

Right before I finish blow-drying and before I move on to the flat iron, I use a teeny tiny bit of Couture Colour Pequi oil and run it through the ends with my fingertips. It makes the ends super shiny and hides the traces of dryness. Plus, it really gets along with my flat iron: splendidly brilliant. Almost like Chanel hair!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your hair heroes at the moment?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

If I Were Rich I Would Buy... a Dior VIII Timepiece

I have many cheap thrill watches, the ones you buy because they are cute and affordable. Like Marc by Marc Jacobs and Swatches. Nothing wrong with those and everyone should have a few to throw around.  But what I'm yearning for is a real watch. Like my husband's IWC Schaffhausen pilot watch (lucky boy; graduation gift from his uncle) that I keep "borrowing" all the time. 

I recently met with a lovely representative from Chrisitian Dior as the house launched sixteen Dior VIII timepieces. You've probably seen the ads with Charlize Theron. Inspired by the Lady Dior bag, this spectacular collection mimics the patent leather of the iconic bag with an innovative black ceramic bracelet. One by one, they made it on to my wrist, each more beautiful than then next. Until the grand finale: the Grand Bal featuring 400 tiny diamonds, some dispersed in an almost random manner.

The Grand Bal is an extreme, a 'If I Was Super Ridiculously Beyond Belief Rich' watch. But the basic black Dior VIII is what really gets my heart fluttering. So sleek, so classic, so fetching, so Dior.

$5,500 (and $64,000 for the Grand Bal) at Holt Renfrew.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: Dieppa Restrepo "Breezy Cali" Brogue

You know it's true love when I actually take it down a few inches and go for a flat. It happens so rarely (dreams of 5'10" supermodeldom still exist). Well, meet Dieppa Restrepo, a long time love interest of mine. 

Best known for their candy coloured loafers and brogues, Dieppa Restrepo is a brainchild of Andrea Vargas Dieppa and Elisa Restrepo, two friends that met while studying at Parsons. The brand brings sleek gentleman style over to our side, at a reasonable price. Perfection, I know. 

The only problem is that they are almost impossible to track down. See, almost no one online carries them, and when they do, the sizes are super picked over. Seattle's Totokaelo has a couple, like these 'Breezy Cali' brougues in a pretty lilac colour. And, finally, they are now available in Vancouver at One of a Few, although not in fun candy colours.  

$175 (on sale from $260) for lilac at Totokaelo and $260 for brown at One of a Few in Vancouver.

PS. Although I really want the baby blue loafers. If you find them, let me know!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

F/W 2011: Little Lace Dress

Lanvin F/W 2011

I love the little lace dress. Like a little black dress but more special. Lace always exudes sensuality and romance, and plays the double game of cover and reveal. This season lace takes the form of simple but pretty little dresses, the prettiest being Lanvin of course! 

Marc Jacobs F/W 2011

Then there is the super sexy and sophisticated Marc Jacobs cap sleeve red stunner. Overall, it's rare that I like a Marc Jacobs collection so much (even though I'm a Marc by Marc Jacobs fan). Maybe it's because the lace pieces remind me so much of Prada's stunning F/W 2008 collection. 

Blumarine F/W 2011

And there are fun youthful ones without much structure -- something a lazy girl like me would throw on, pair with heels and be ready to go. I love Blumarine's little breezy 1960s tunic style lace dresses in an array of colours, from purple to red to bright lemon yellow. 

Alice and Olivia F/W 2011

This charming little Alice and Olivia dress is probably the one that we could potentially afford. Plus it's very Blair Waldorf and that's always a good thing! 

Erdem Pre-Fall 2011

Last but not least is Erdem, who always has something lace every season. Recently, of course, he catapulted to everyone's must-have list after Duchess Catherine (Kate) wore his blue Pre-Fall dress with lace sleeves. I suppose this one would be considered a bit too risque for royalty. But I'll gladly take it! 

I'll definitely do a "budget" version of this post come fall. Love lace.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Item of the Week: Chan Luu Turquoise Wrap Bracelet

I don't have one of these in my life and I feel like I'm missing out. See, my favourite street style photographer is Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil precisely because he shoots a lot of closeups of jewellery. And it seems like every second shot features an incredibly accessorised arm wearing some kind of a wrap bracelet stacked with other pieces.

Jak & Jil street style shots

Usually when I think of wrap bracelets, the first thing that comes to mind is Chan Luu, a designer that popularized them again in the recent years. I particularly love the bright and colourful ones, like this fuchsia leather one combined with turquoise resin stones and thread -- really beautiful and intricate handwork. I would love to pair this with an old grandpa watch.

$137 US at Shopbop.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Sepia Shadows

Donna Karan F/W 2011

We have arrived at my first F/W 2011 beauty feature. I'd thought I'd start with one that's kind of summery: sepia shadows from Donna Karan's fall presentation. It's a really simple but powerful look, a juxtaposition of the warm eye versus the cold lip. 

MAC's lead makeup artist, Charlotte Tilbury describes it as: “Tippi Hedren with a modern twist… It’s an early 50s lip of “pepto” pink against a caramel, coffee-lacquered eye, with skin highlighted to perfection.”

MAC Pro 'Sepia' Cream Colour Base

Only one shade, MAC Pro 'Sepia' Cream Colour Base, was used for the eyes and blended to perfection. Alas, the normal non-makeup artist humans like us can't get the Pro products so the closest shade would be the 'Indian Wood' Paint Pot.

MAC 'Indian Wood' Paint Pot ($20 at MAC

I also love 'Burnished' by Bobbi Brown for those wanting a little bit more of a golden tone.

Bobbi Brown 'Burnished' Cream Shadow ($25 at Holt Renfrew)

And the lips? Try MAC 'Mlle'

What do you think? Do you like the look?

PS. I replaced the original backstage image because it was too saturated and appeared orange-y. This one is more representative of the sepia shadow. Thanks guys!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bridal Love: All About The Hair

Jennifer Behr 'Dorothee' Headpiece ($675 at Jennifer Behr)

I know I've abandoned my Bridal Love posts since getting married last September. I'm not sure how many of you are planning to tie the knot in the near future (if not just skip this post -- super girlieness ahead), but I'll sneak in a couple of bridal posts here and there. 

I found choosing the accessories to be the most difficult part. Especially headpieces, since that's what everyone will be focusing on and what the camera will immortalise forever and ever. What's on your head is almost more important than the dress: if your headpiece looks cheap, everything will look cheap.

Nicole & Co Silk Coil Hat ($120 at BHLDN)

There are so many beautiful options that there is no excuse of not having something spectacular. Whether it's a small delicate pin or a comb, a headband (in lieu of a tiara) or a fascinator. If we learned one thing from the Royal Wedding, it's that fascinators rock!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: Salvatore Ferragamo "Vara" and "Varina"

We all know the famous Salvatore Ferragamo gros-grain bow shoe with a metal plaque bearing Ferragamo's name. I know it's not new but I thought I'd introduce some classics to the Shoe Wednesdays mix, with a little bit of history behind some of the designs.

The ballet flat "Varina" is only three years old, but its heeled counterpart "Vara" dates all the way back to 1978. It was designed eighteen years after Salvatore Ferragamo's death by his daughter Fiamma. Although the company had many famous heeled designs due to its prolific and Hollywood-adored founder Salvatore, they wanted to introduce a "sporty and elegant" pump to fit the busy lifestyle of the modern woman.

The first prototype was given a small oval decoration and a bow improvised out of a strip of gros-grain from the atelier. The bow was meant to be leather but the modeller misunderstood and made it with the same gros-grain fabric as the prototype. A happy accident! 

Do you have a pair? Which colour? Flats or pumps?

$375 for Varas and $395 for Varinas at Holt Renfrew. Also available online at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

F/W 2011: Seeing (Polka) Dots

Marc Jacobs F/W 2011

Polka dots weren't a dominant trend on the runways, but by the time it trickles down to our fast fashion stores, it will be. All thanks to Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney, who presented almost entire collections of polka dots. It's nothing new of course. They are classic and always in. While Marc Jacobs used a fairly traditional polka dot print, the rest experimented a little.

Stella McCartney F/W 2011

I have to say that I am not a fan of Stella McCartney's F/W collection, but I do love this dress. Obviously there is a boob problem but, provided that one finds proper undergarments, it's a really classic but playful little black dress. 

David Koma F/W 2011

I'm not that familiar with newcomer David Koma, but I'm going to start paying attention now. In this case, the polka dots were inspired by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and, when it worked, it really worked. 

DVF F/W 2011

I really adore this long dress by Diane Von Furstenberg. When I first saw it I kind of hated it as it reminded me of that hideous Project Runway dress Heidi Klum wore. But, actually, it's nothing like it at all. It's exquisite with a beautiful composition of jumbo see-through dots.

Marc Jacobs F/W 2011

RANDOM TRIVIA: I was wondering about the origin of the word "polka" in polka dot, and whether it had anything to do with the dance of the same name. Well, it does! Because the dance was so popular in the 1800s, the word "polka" was used to spice up ordinary items like jackets and hats, thus becoming "polka jackets" and "polka hats." Kind of like these days we would maybe say "punk shoe" or whatever. Well, the only thing that stuck around is the "polka dot," really an ordinary dot that became so much more (on paper at least). 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Item of the Week: Diane Von Furstenberg 'Morinne' Cape

I apologize to my readers that live in normal parts of the world where summer means sunshine, but it's been raining in Vancouver non-stop for weeks. Honestly, I haven't had a chance to wear my summer clothes yet and Pre-Fall and F/W are already on the racks. 

One great thing about August and September is the abundance of wicked raincoats, like this cape by DVF! It's so crazy chic, whether worn in the summer over a short dress or with heavier layers in the fall. I particularly appreciate the clean lines, the chocolate brown lining and, of course, the super convenient hood -- hands free! It would look so great with the Cambridge Satchel.

$575 US at Net-a-Porter

PS. For a cheaper version, sans the hood, check out this $69 cape by Zara.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beauty Fridays: DiorShow 360 Mascara

Every once in a while a beauty product comes along that you absolutely fall in love with. Sure, I like a lot of things, but love is much different. Love means that when I run out, I will immediately rush out and buy more. 

This brush -- incredible. It's a double-helix and spins to adapt itself for upper or lower lashes. Although I mostly use it for upper lashes, there is something about the non-linear brush fibers that just works. It's light on the touch, allowing me to really get in between the lashes without making a clumpy mess. The result is mind-blowing: voluminous, long and curly. The only flaw? It doesn't come in a waterproof version. So, I'll still hold on to my trusty Anna Sui for those rainy Vancouver days and alternate between the two.

$39 CAD at Sephora

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Azzedine Alaïa Fall 2011 Couture

This Couture season was interesting to say the least. While the usual favourites like Chanel and Dior showed sub par collections, Azzedine Alaïa returned, after an eight year absence from the runways, with a collection that spoke of restraint, composure and timelessness. 

These days fashion houses pump out a million collections a year: Spring/Summer, Resort, Pre-Fall, Fall/Winter and, if they are members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, Couture Spring and Couture Fall. That's six collections: one for every two months of the year. And while some do it rather well, they have become production machines. Most of the time people (at least the ones that don't work in the fashion industry) can't remember what their favourite designers showed past last year. There is no long-term memory; it's too fast for most to process. Sometimes it's too fast for designers themselves to process their own work. Each collection merely becomes a marketing tool to sell the latest "it" bag, or even more profitably, to sell the beauty products associated with each season. Lately I've been thinking a lot about Marc Jacobs as a brand and how, while the branding is clearly strong and memorable, the designs themselves lack signature. Every season, he produces a million collections, each different than the other, yet the common thread is somewhat invisible. One year it's military, next year it's '70s glamour.

This is not the case with Azzedine Alaïa. There is no mistaking his work, whether it's a shoe or a couture gown. The work is his own, making him one of the few designers that still cuts and sews. I've loved him for as long as I can remember, as a young child growing up on the wrong side (for fashion at least) of the European continent. In fact, he was an inspiration behind my first ever If I Were Rich, I Would Buy feature. To this day, I remember the first time I saw Alaïa's work in a magazine. It was back in 1990 (I was 10), in some random (now former) Yugoslavian fashion magazine, and it was a short profile on Cindy Crawford -- she was wearing Alaïa. It was a really simple cream mini dress -- not much to it -- yet it was so memorable. 

His story is straightforward. Here is a designer that refused to become a seasonal machine, simply releasing new collections whenever they were ready -- the way art should be done. He has managed to survive over the years due to his hordes of loyal clients, and he maintains a healthy accessory line with the help of Prada's factories, who used to hold stakes in his house (it's now 100% owned by Alaïa himself). He speaks honestly of his disenchantment with the machine and the politics behind fashion houses and fashion magazines (I wonder what he thinks of indie bloggers like me?). Lately he made headlines by calling Karl Lagerfeld "a caricature" and dismissing Anna Wintour's influence. I think there are two types of designers: the designers and the designers' designers. Alaïa, like Margiela, is the latter. 

Alaïa is all about clean lines, a signature he adopted from the legendary Madame Grès. He is the ultimate craftsman, marrying both traditional and contemporary techniques. The lasered fabric has become an extension of his cut-outs three decades ago. Although dubbed by the media as "The King of Cling," an Alaïa lover knows there is so much more to him than a little bondage dress. There are so many different silhouettes in play from the sculpted coat dress to the long ruffled gowns that Tim Blanks deemed the "miracle of knitwear." Each piece showed incredible restraint and maturity, never ever relying on novelty for even a second. It's so rare to see fashion like this in these times of fast luxury; they communicate an otherworldly timelessness, just like his mentor Madame Grès before him. Alaïa is one in a million.

Images courtesy of

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: Charlotte Olympia Leopard Pump

Last two Shoe Wednesdays were of a reasonable budget. Let's indulge! Actually, let's crazy indulge! Print, patent, platform, stiletto... I'm in a binging mood.

The object of my binging lust is Charlotte Olympia, who is slowly becoming one of my favourite shoe designers (no worries Kirkwood, you're still number one). I mean, just look at this shoe! It's so incredibly decadent. Not only is it leopard but it also has the most beautiful bright red (putting Louboutin to shame) patent platform and heel. And it's a sky-high 6" stunner (didn't I just swear off those a couple of weeks ago?). Oh yeah, there is the little itsy bitsy spider too — it's got be the coolest designer logo ever.

So why is it that I don't own a pair of Charlotte Olympias? That's right: the price. Big sigh.

$995 at Luisa Via Roma (F/W pre-order only). 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reader Survey

This month my blog celebrates its two year anniversary -- yay! I'm obviously having a blast with this blog, and while I think I have a pretty good grasp on my readership, I would love to learn a bit more about you and your thoughts about it. It would be super awesome if you could take a couple of minutes to fill out my survey. Just by doing so, you will automatically be entered to win a $100 gift certificate for either H&M or Shopbop (two of my personal faves). Happy birthday to me... and you!


PS. Thank you to everyone that completed the survey. The sheer number of responses was incredible and really valuable to me! The winners have been contacted -- congrats Cassy and Cary! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Item of the Week: Coach Classics Small Shoulder Bag

I know what you're thinking: "Coach on this blog?" Am I right? Well, here's the thing: I like vintage Coach. Years ago, I bought this exact bag for $20 on Etsy. Now it's on Net-a-Porter for $300. It seems that the folks of Coach and Net-a-Porter have finally caught on the street popularity of these little things and decided to re-release this classic style. 

I find it kind of sad that nowadays Coach is associated with tacky soccer moms and young girls hungry for an entry-level designer monogram bag. Before the Cahn family sold the company to Sarah Lee Corporation (yes, the cheesecake!), Coach was actually a respectable family-owned and American-made leather goods company. There is something so endearing about how self-unaware it was against the big guys like Hermes, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Unknowingly, Coach made a perfect little bag. Now it's just plainly trying too hard. 

$300 US at Net-a-Porter. For the real deal, head to Etsy or your local vintage store (I guarantee you won't spend over a $100).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Sunny Days

Vogue China Beauty (June 2011)

If you haven't heard, tan is out. If you tan now, you will spend thousands of dollars on light treatments later in life. On the other hand, laying in the sun is super fun but let's make sure once we wake up from our beach nap, we don't wake up looking like Snooki. Here's my daily summer beauty roster.

Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 30 ($60.50 at BeautyMark and Spruce Body Lab)

Dermalogica made sun protection super easy by allowing us to mix the SPF with our day cream. I mix this with my trusty Linacare and so far so good. Brilliant! Where has this been all my life?

ColorScience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sun Protection SPF 30 ($63.00 for Brush & Powder /$38 for Powder Refill at Spruce Body Lab)

As I learned from Dr. Diana Howard of Dermalogica in this interview for Vitamin Daily, it's better to reapply your SPF 30 throughout the day than to use the higher chemically-loaded protection of SPF 60. I keep the ColorScience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder in my bag and apply it throughout the day. I use a clear one with a little bit of shimmer but it does come in foundation colours as well. 

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($26.00 at BeautyMark)

Can't forget the lips! No one wants those dry wrinkled lips. Yuck! This has been my go-to day lip balm if I know I'm going to be in the sun for prolonged periods of time. It has just a hint of colour (comes in Plum, Honey, Rose) so you can use it alone or with a lipstick on top. Available in clear too for the ultra minimalist.

Michael Kors Leg Shine To Go ($12 at Sephora)

Pasty legs never look good so I was thrilled to have discovered this Leg Shine stick by Michael Kors. It makes sense: Mr. Kors loves a healthy beach babe! It gives your legs a nice bronzed look and it fits neatly in you makeup bag. I use it on my arms too! SPF underneath required, of course.

What's on your summer skincare roster?