Monday, October 31, 2011

Item of the Week: Tibi Tuxedo Jacket

Finding a women's tuxedo blazer is always an issue. There are business-type blazers, but they are way too officey. Then there are boyfriend blazers, but they are way too casual. And there are sports blazers (and I have a great one by Lacoste), but they are too sporty. I've always desired something along the lines of YSL's Le Smoking (see If I Were Rich), and this blazer by Tibi reminds me of that sharp YSL silhouette. 

Another thing I'm really into right now is leather detailing -- I can't get enough of it. I like the contrast of the stark white satin and the black leather shawl lapel. Remember the Alexander Wang shirt I posted a while ago? Similar idea. I've also spotted leather sleeves, leather pockets, leather collars -- love it all. I think I'll do a whole post on it.

$475 at Net-a-Porter, Shopbop and (also in black).

PS. I'm in Toronto for the P&G Beauty and Grooming Awards -- I'm nominated! Maybe I'll see some of you there?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Lips Like Cherries

Gucci F/W 2011

I know a few of you will comment, confessing your fear of the dark lipstick. I've been there; I know how you feel. My foray into darkness was with Tom Ford's 'Moroccan Rouge', which isn't even that dark but... baby steps. 

Tom Ford 'Bruised Plum' ($52 at Holt Renfrew)

Now that I'm fully assimilated, I would even give Mr. Ford's 'Bruised Plum' a try. I know it's one of Solo Lisa's favourite shades and looks phenomenal on her, not scary at all. 

Sisley Hydrating Long Lasting Lipstick #L24 ($60 at Holt Renfrew)

It's just a shade darker than my recent cherry love, Sisley's #L24, which arrived at my desk last spring: one season too early, but now we're very chummy. It also marks my first lipstick by Sisley, and it's so incredibly luxe (explains the hefty price).

THE STEAL: Revlon 'Black Cherry' ($8.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart)

Unless you're a beauty writer/blogger, there is really no point in testing your dark lipstick tolerance with $50+ lipsticks, so let's talk about some stellar reasonably priced options. Revlon makes some of my favourite shades and 'Black Cherry' is a beautiful deep glossy shade of cherry. If the gloss is too much, then try Revlon's Matte Lipstick in 'Wine Not'. 

Clinique Dual Ended Almost Lipstick & Long Last Glosswear in 'Black Honey' ($26 at The Bay and Shoppers Drug Mart)

And if you're indecisive and you want to play with both the lipstick and the gloss, then you'll love Clinique's ingenious Dual Ended Almost Lipstick & Long Last Glosswear in 'Black Honey', part of their winter collection. 

I was going to call this post "Cherry Lipstick" but I was afraid I'd have that Katy Perry "Cherry Chapstick" song in my head all day. And now you do! Sorry.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Versace for H&M: It's Very Versace!

Silk Dress ($179)

I've heard some complaints on Twitter about how disappointing Versace's collection for H&M is. Words like "unwearable," "tacky" and "slutty" were thrown around. Although they were used in a negative way, those three words to me, more or less, represent everything that is great about Versace. I'm being real here: Versace was never about being a proper lady. I very much doubt that Claudia Schiffer circa 1992 was on her way to a fancy tea party.

 "Bondage" collection, 1992

Silk Dress ($179)

Gianni Versace gave us sex and amazons from the very beginning. In the 70s, it was Gia Carangi and Jerry Hall in skimpy silk negligees, big hair, big makeup. In the 80s, it was all about pantless Janice Dickinson. Then came the 90s and the supermodels, and with them came leather, lame, prints, and bondage. Class? Please, Versace is for a girl with a slightly perverse edge. 

"Baroque" print, 1991

Sequin Dress ($149)

That's not to say that it can't be pretty, or fun, for that matter. Gianni Versace saw the world in a very jovial way; his world took beautifully extravagant things from different eras (like ancient Greek or baroque times) and places (from iconic Italian motifs to tropical themes, like birds and his beloved palm trees). Versace's collections were about fun and extravagance -- even in bondage, the girls were smiling. 

"Pop" print, 1990

Silk Dress ($179); Leggings ($34.95)

As I've written before, my first introduction to the world of high fashion was in the early 1990s, through the Big Six, Gianni Versace and Alaia (I've written about both before, several times). So... my love for Versace's iconic prints and sexy everything knows no bounds. Sure, most of it is nostalgia, but in some ideal world out there, I would love to see women look like Versace women. And I would love to be one of them. 

Little Black (Red and Yellow) Dresses, 1991

Little Black Dress ($179)

Let me explain. A couple of weeks ago, I got together with a couple of my girlfriends and it turned out that all three of us were wearing an identical outfit: black skinny jeans, some oversized sweater of sorts, and Rachel Comey looking boots. And all three of us had some kind of version of a vintage leather flap bag. "Shit," I thought to myself, "so much for individuality." (Sorry girls.)

Jewellery, mid-1990s

Bracelet ($34.95); Necklace ($59.95); Ring ($24.95)

This wouldn't happen to a Versace woman; she is no wallflower. Versace has always been very bold, and both Gianni and Donatella have made no apologies for that. Versace sits on that intriguing line between high art and kitsch, and more often that not, is leaning towards the latter. But what I see, when I look at the individual pieces, is an opportunity to embrace something new: the audaciousness that is Versace. And why not? It's been twenty years in the making. 

Who's with me? 

Saturday, November 19th, The Toronto Eaton Centre, Bloor Street, Yorkdale Mall, Downtown Montreal, and the Pacific Centre in Vancouver (where I will be).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: KORS by Michael Kors 'Divina' Boot

I could wear these every day. They look so comfortable. I love the simple design: the dark brown suede and matching platform, interrupted only by a thin tan line emphasizing the slope of the shoe. Michael Kors always does simplicity so beautifully (provided that he doesn't attach the dreaded metal "MK" to it).

I have such great outfits in my head right now, like skinny jeans and an oversized sweater, or wool tights with a mini skirt and a long jacket... I can go on and on. 

$250 at Shopbop.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gossip Girl "The Fasting and the Furious" Fashion Round-Up

There are so many Gossip Girls at the moment. There is the New York Spectator, Dan's Inside, and the original Gossip Girl. It's a triple self-reference. Are things really that juicy that we need three gossip outlets? Sadly not. 

"She's insisting that I move to Monaco and leave my whole life here behind!" Yes, Blair, that's what being a princess is all about. Being a figurehead of a country and stuff like that? I mean, what did she expect? To keep going to Columbia and hang out with her friends in New York City? Monaco's royal family is one of the most fascinating in the world, and well-known for their "rules." Upon marrying, Grace Kelly was forbid to star in any films, ending her promising career. And then there were all the recent rumours about the Monaco royals confiscating Charlene Wittstock's passport, preventing her from fleeing the country before her marriage to Prince Albert. And speaking of Prince Albert... nice stab there, Sophie, with “the last thing this family needs is another bastard.” Blair's would be one of many.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Item of the Week: Club Monaco 'Kristin' Hat

I love hats, and I wish women would wear them more often. Especially big floppy hats. In Vancouver, it's sometimes a challenge wrestling an umbrella and a hat at the same time, but those of you that live in less rainy climates are in luck.  I'd rather be reaching for my hat than my umbrella any day.

The selection of hats available at Club Monaco at the moment is pretty remarkable. They've really embraced every kind of shape out there, from fedora to French berets. But the floppy one reminds me of Faye Dunaway in the Thomas Crown Affair (the original, and one of the most stylish films of all time).

Are you a hat person?

$98.50 at Club Monaco.

PS. I also love this slightly masculine one on Shopbop

Friday, October 21, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Liquid Line

Brigitte Bardot

Lately I've been all about the perfectly lined eye. It's hard to call it a trend -- it's always in -- and every season it appears on numerous runways. Last month, we talked about the teal eyeliner from Chanel's F/W show, but this time, it's all about black. It always makes me think of Brigitte Bardot and the 1960s. She is my ultimate eyeliner inspiration (Audrey Hepburn is a close second). There is something so quintessentially French about this look, so naturally there is a lot to love. 

Geisha Ink Liquid Eyeliner ($30 CAD at BeautyMark)

The trick to the crisp line is the felt tip brush. It's precise and easy to use. One of my all-time favourites is Geisha Ink (I blogged about it here and here). Anyways, I can't rave about this liner enough, which is why it keeps popping up on my blog, time and time again.

Tokidoki Perfetto Eyeliner ($19 at Sephora)

And another new fave is, surprisingly, by Tokidoki. I met up with Tokidoki's founder Simone Legno a couple of days ago and he told me that the liner was designed to mimic his drawing pens (then he so charmingly drew his famous Cactus Dog on his arm to demonstrate). Cute and precise -- I'm hooked.

Another must-have, especially if you have oily lids (like I do) is an eyelid primer, to keep things from smudging. I've been using Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion Tube ($23 at Sephora) and so far so good!

Have you tried either Geisha Ink or Tokidoki? Any favourite lid primers? Who is your eyeliner inspiration?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Screen Style: An Education

An Education features one of the most stunning transformations in cinema. It's not just a physical one: the delicate Jenny (Carey Mulligan) morphs from a uniformed school girl into a worldly young woman, both sartorially and emotionally. 

Based on an autobiographical article in Granta by Lynn Barber, the film was adapted for screen by Nick Hornby (a man that does great things) and directed by Lone Scherfig (who directed the wonderful Italian for Beginners, the only Dogme romantic comedy). Set in London in 1961, the story follows the romance between 16-year-old Jenny and David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard), a  moneyed playboy type in his early 30s. 

Jenny is seduced, as any girl her age would be, by a glamorous cosmopolitan lifestyle, impromptu trips to Paris, extravagant dinners, sophisticated older friends, and dreamy clothes. To perfectly capture the essence of that era, the film’s costume designer, Odile Dicks-Mireaux, sourced almost the entire wardrobe from vintage dealers and costume houses. Through fashion, one is completely immersed in that world, from jacquard shift dresses to pill-box hats to dazzling costume jewels. 

Jenny is given her first makeover by David's friend Helen (Rosamund Pike), an impossibly gorgeous Catherine Deneuve lookalike. Helen herself is a woman ahead of her time, opting for less classic, more vamp-y styles, more akin to the mid-60s. Her heavy costume jewels exude glamour, as does her ever-present cigarette (it is the '60s, after all).

Helen gives Jenny a little makeover which sets the tone for her look. With her little black dress, a white coat, and a sexy leopard pill-box hat, Jenny becomes sort of a baby Jackie O, a little girl trying to fit in the world of adults.

The realm between her adolescence and adulthood is often uncomfortable. Like in the bedroom scene where Jenny wears a slip given to her by Peter for their first night together. It's dusty rose, a colour so incredibly dainty. In Paris, she wears a darling watercolour shift, shadowing her very naive and romantic nature. 

In the end, following a shocking reveal and an inevitable heartbreak, Jenny finally transforms into a young woman. In a Jackie O style gold number, a matching clutch bag, heavy eye makeup and sensual red lips, she enters adulthood, forever changed by the short-lived romance.

There is beauty in the mess of it all, seeing a young woman experience things for the first time and those around her (David, mainly) reliving those moments through her -- an education, I suppose.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: DSquared2 Skate Bootie

I posted a picture of these on Instagram and people went pretty bonkers over them. How could they not? I mean, they're skate shoes! Well, not actually skate-able, of course (because that would be crazy).

Dsquared2 always has a way of bringing sporting elements to their collections. Especially when it comes to winter sports -- you can tell these boys are Canadian. They love their parkas, winter boots, and, well, skates. And yes, they are totally wearable, if you love great big heights. Or you can just admire them from a distance as an ingenious piece of design.

$1595 at The Room at The Bay. For those not in Vancouver, you can skate over to Zappos online.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Chat With Jeanne Beker

It's rare that I ever get star struck, but that's exactly what happened when I got the news that I was going to interview Jeanne Beker for Vitamin Daily. This was not the first time I encountered this legendary fashion journalist, a woman that forever changed how we experience fashion with Fashion Television. I sat across from her — again, star struck — at Toronto Fashion Week last spring, and I was in the audience, among the sea of fans, when she presented her debut collection for EDIT at The Bay last fall.

But an one-on-one encounter is different. Like so many of you, I grew up watching Jeanne, as she introduced me to so many figures of the fashion world. Without her, my fashion knowledge would not be what it is today. So, of course, I took the opportunity to ask her everything, and she, being a consummate professional, offered such insightful answers.  It was more of a conversation, rather than a Q&A, and that is a sign of a great interview. Here's the link:

And below are a couple of extra snippets from our conversation. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gossip Girl "Memoirs of an Invisible Dan" Fashion Round-Up

"Don't shave: it makes you look like a real writer," says Dan's agent. Dan is, indeed, a real writer, and a great one at that. Because who else could come up with such brilliant character names as Charlie Trout, Sabrina Von Sloneker and Clair Carlyle (like the hotel). And who else would make Nate a Nate/Eric hybrid? Because that's the only way to make him interesting.

Item of the Week: Joe Fresh Landscape Sweater

It's been awhile since I featured something from Joe Fresh, a cheap and cheerful Canadian brand I adore. It was sort of a Canadian secret for awhile our answer to Uniqlo but now that Joe Fresh is set to open south of the border (in New York City to be exact), I guess we'll have to let the secret out.

Having said that, this sweater is so wonderfully Canadian, with its overt Group of Seven resemblance. But, according to this Elle magazine article, it was actually inspired by Scottish artist Peter Doig. Although a little Cosby/Christmas sweater-y, I see it as incredibly chic when worn with a black skirt or a skinny pant. 

$79 at Joe Fresh.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Beauty Fridays: Power Duos

Kerstin Florian Correcting Serum C+ Infusion ($89) and Correcting Rescue Crème ($69)

Let's take a break from makeup talk to discuss skincare. Every week something new arrives at my desk, whether it's for my blog or Vitamin Daily, but only a few actually make it to my bathroom counter. A year ago, I added a serum to my skin routine, and it's something I absolutely recommend for women over 30. The thing is, our skin gets the last of the nutrients we intake, especially as we age. All our internal organs take what they need, there is very little left for our skin. So topical care is crucial to give the skin what it needs. 

That's where the serum comes in. Its high concentration of nutrients and anti-oxidants is able to really penetrate through the pores, relying on nanotechnology to break the molecules into micro scales. While serum does most of the "feeding" of the skin, the moisturizer seals it all in place. We need both. Think of them as a power duo.

Kerstin Florian's 'Correcting' line contains vitamin C, which is crucial to providing antioxidant protection against free radicals and reducing the formation of melanin while brightening our skin (it also acts as a corrector for freckles and age spots). I recently interviewed the company's Vice President for Vitamin Daily, and our little chat was extremely informative. 

Lierac is a line I've used before with great results. Its 'Mésolift' products are designed to target fine lines. Again, the serum's key player is vitamin C, really targeting unwanted discoloration. I've followed it with both the Mésolift Creme (pictured) and their new 'Initiatic' Energizing Smoothing Cream ($55) for early wrinkle correction, both leaving the skin looking plump and fresh.

Have you ventured into serums yet? Any personal favourites?

Kerstin Florian is available at Willow Stream Spas across Canada, and Lierac at Rexall locations and

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Paris Fashion Week S/S 2012: Under the Sea


Things got a little fishy over at Paris Fashion Week, and I'm not talking about Kanye's big "designer" debut (okay, so it wasn't that bad). I'm talking about all the pretty sea creatures that took to the runway. Chanel was all about the wonderful world of seashells, with extremely romantic, feminine silhouettes reminiscent of the Botticelli's Venus emerging from the surf, pearls and all. 


And then there were all the pretty fishes. Glistening metallics, scale-like textures that encompassed the collections of Givenchy (a little fish disco), Alexander McQueen and Paco Rabanne. 

Alexander McQueen

Sarah Burton continues to channel the late Alexander McQueen with the most painstakingly beautiful collections season after season. Oyster-like layers made for stunning gowns, sitting so wonderfully between strength and fragility. 

Paco Rabanne

And there was Paco Rabanne's signature futuristic Rhodoid texture that made him a household name back in the '60s. The label's new designer, Manish Arora, interpreted the iconic dress and brought it from the past and into the future, yet again, by digitally programming each and every plate. The result is the most fluid, slinky, scale-like, composition. I wonder what else is possible.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shoe Wednesdays: H&M 'Conscious Collection' Pumps

H&M's Conscious Collection has some of the prettiest winter florals. I especially love the shoes. Because, really, how often do you come across a great floral shoe? And it's not just any old pump, but a super chunky heeled platform. All kinds of perfect for the holiday season. Imagine it with a pretty lace dress....

$69.99 at H&M.

PS. Those that RSVP'd to tonight's H&M Metrotown opening, see you there! Four lucky readers will get a nice surprise at the door.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Item of the Week: Alexander Wang 'Devere' Bag

I'm slowly getting on the Alexander Wang train, as things are beginning to look more feminine and refined. While I wasn't a huge fan of the 'Rocco' duffel or the bucket bags (I'm not a stud girl), I love this little bag. Its name is 'Devere' and it is a smart-looking structured satchel, with a sharp, sculptural clasp detail and an expandable side zipper. The embossed snake one is a beauty, but the one featuring two rabbit fur zipper pulls is super fun.

Alexander Wang is one of those rare designers who is also the primary stakeholder in his namesake company. LVMH recently expressed an interest in Alexander Wang, which means, if it happens, we are going to see this brand go huge, possibly even into the world of cosmetics (what would an Alexander Wang fragrance smell like?). I bet LVMH is really interested in doing some designer shuffling: Alexander Wang to Celine, Pheobe Philo to Louis Vuitton, and Marc Jacobs to Dior. Sounds reasonable, no?

$795 at Net-a-Porter and Shopbop ($855 for the furry one).