Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pretty in Pastel


Tibi Shift Dress ($375), A.L.C 'Molly' Shirt ($355) and 'Jasper' pants ($425), 3.1 Phillip Lim Open Weave Cropped Sweater ($475) & Double Layer Needle Trousers ($475)

I've been trying to incorporate pastels into my wardrobe ever since I saw images from Phillip Lim's S/S 2012 presentation back in September. Then came Diane Von Furstenberg, Jonathan Saunders, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and countless others. Verdict: you'll be seeing these frothy hues everywhere as soon as it warms up a little. From head-to-toe pastels, to fun shades, to sorbet-coloured shoes, I've selected some of my favourite looks available at Shopbop at the moment. On the top of my wish list: the Crayola pink open weave sweater from Phillip Lim; the yellow leather aviators from Linda Farrow for The Row and; Sam Edelman's two-tone sandals. 

Karen Walker 'Harvest' Sunglasses ($280); Chloe 'Cirse' Rounded Sunglasses ($330); Linda Farrow for The Row Leather Aviators ($350)

Sergio Rossi Crisscross Platform Pumps ($675); Acne Silk Platform Pumps ($530); Sam Edelman 'Yelena' Sandals ($140)

Shoe Wednesdays: Loeffler Randall 'Valentine' Wedge

This is a ridiculously fun shoe. But then again, so is Loeffler Randall's entire S/S collection.  I was having difficulties picking just one shoe -- I was also eyeing the 'Dita' jacquard platform. In the end, it was the neon that won me over, making this the first time this insane colour spectrum appears on my blog.

The combination of neon and woven raffia is sort of an eye-opener -- like, they go crazy well together. Please tell me you love it? 

PS. I accidentally posted two tan/yellow combinations shoes back to back. Suffice it to say that I'm really into yellow.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New York Fashion Week F/W 2012: White Coats

Every season I gather up my favourite theme from each fashion week. I'm a bit behind because of all the other coverage from NYFW, but I'll power through and finish them off in timely manner, ending with Toronto. 

I always think of the New York runway as showing clothing I would actually wear. Probably because the price range is closer to affordable, more than what happens on Parisian runways. I also look for so-called "investment" pieces rather than transient novelty trends, because I prefer to shop for the latter on high street. 

3.1 Phillip Lim

For fall, my eyes were glued to all the plush white coats -- perhaps fuelled by my realization that I don't own one. This 3.1 Phillip Lim collection had a bit of a superhero vibe to it, with this grand white cape covering the slick track tuxedo pant.   

Alexander Wang F/W 2012

Then there is the sculpted long leather coat from Alexander Wang. He always does the tough girl really well, but there is a beautiful softness to this silhouette, in contrast to its materiality.

Derek Lam F/W 2012

This Derek Lam coat is one of those borrowed-from-the-boys cuts, including the chest pockets (hey, they are super handy). There is something very clinical about it, juxtaposed with the plush wool material. 

Helmut Lang F/W 2012

Helmut Lang is a master of draping and always sits so elegantly on that line between loose draping and precise tailoring -- this is an art form. I love the mixed-media elements of this coat: it appears to be half vest and half jacket, half leather and fur shawl. 

Proenza Schouler F/W 2012

And finally, my favourite collection from New York (which I sadly didn't get to see in person), Proenza Schouler, with their leather-heavy oversized garments. Why are leather jackets usually so painfully tight? I love this loose, breezy interpretation, so wonderfully distressed, preventing it form looking too plastic-y as white leather sometimes tends to. 

Will you be looking for a white coat come fall?


Monday, February 27, 2012

Item of the Week: Elizabeth and James 'Bruce' Floral Jacket

I'm doing really well with my "wear more colour" resolution. I got those Alice + Olivia fuchsia slacks, some colourful skinny belts from J.Crew, and, more recently, these green Dries Van Noten pumps. The next step would be to get some more prints, and silky florals in particular. 

As much as this Elizabeth and James print reminds me of my grandma's favourite tablecloths, I can't help but be completely enamoured with the romance of it all. Particularly when it's styled like this (very Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, sans the pearls and with better shoes).

$395 at Net-a-Porter.

PS. There are some really great floral blazers at Zara at the moment, like this one.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Red Carpet: Oscars!

The best thing about watching the Oscars in today's day and age is Twitter. Just hours ago @JLosNipple and @AngiesRightLeg joined us on Twitter...I live for this stuff. And—judging from the countless style critics I follow on Twittermy best-dressed list won't come as a surprise. 

Two red dresses and three white ones: that pretty much sums up the red carpet at the 2012 Oscars. I do wish there was more colour to choose from other than the sea of Las Vegas metallic numbersyes, I'm looking at you Meryl Streep (it was Lanvin and didn't hate it), J.Lo, Clooney's arm candy (in Marchesaugh), and Miss Piggy (girl likes her sparkles). Sadly, there was no Tilda, Cate, Keira, or Carey. And, sadly, no one wore Calvin Klein this time around.

Friday, February 24, 2012

New York Fashion Week F/W 2012: Bill Blass Beauty

I imagine that the Bill Blass show was the type of show that would have taken place back in the day before fashion week turned into a giant hoopla. It was an intimate affair that took place at The Union League Club, one of New York's oldest gentlemen clubs dating back to 1863. It seemed really fitting for the Bill Blass collection, which, since the passing of its legendary founder, has been struggling to maintain its former glory. A lot of it has to do with the classic Bill Blass woman, who is essentially a lady -- a real American lady. And in today's fashion world -- the American aspect in particular -- it's a hard sell. I thought the clothing was exquisite, contemporary and sharp, with plenty of references to the Bill Blass legacy. 

The same school of thought was dedicated to beauty, working with the dream team of Lisa Butler for MAC, Tresemme, and the powerhouse that is Deborah Lippmann (I also got to meet the great Lippmann backstage, so I may be a little bit biased). I loved the entire look. It had a real feeling of strength behind it: bare around the eye (no mascara) with a strong brow and a dark, spicy fuchsia lip (from upcoming F/W palette 'Spice Fire'). Lisa Butler was directly inspired by The Union League Club: "I didn't want to make them look like the boss' daughter in this environment. I wanted to them to look like they could be the ones having this meeting in this environment comfortably. I guess it's the look to break the glass ceiling."

The sculpted bun by Tresemme was equally sophisticated, somewhat messy, finished off with a slick black headband -- this is how you wear a headband as an adult. 

Deborah Lippmann opted for -- get this -- a French manicure. You know my disdain for the French mani, but if anyone can convince me that it can be chic, it's Lippmann. She says that the trick to updating the look is sculpting the nail so it's short and round, and keeping the French tip very, very thin. The base is 'Single Ladies', a rich Bordeaux red, and the tip is a new (coming soon!) dirty beige colour yet to be titled. This was Lippmann's last show of the season and she was clearly exhausted, but still sweet enough to let me take this photo of her (because I am a shameless beauty nerd). 

Nail image courtesy of Deborah Lippmann; runway image courtesy of Bill Blass; everything else by

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New York Fashion Week F/W 2012: Michael Kors Up Close

I already posted my review of Michael Kors' F/W collection on (including a tidbit on Anjelica Huston and Grace Coddington's little tête-à-tête), so I thought I'd treat my readers to something a little different: a close up of the runway garments. I was delighted when Michael Kors PR invited me to their showroom for a resee the day following the presentation. That meant seeing the collection in person, and being able to touch every single garment and accessory.

There they were fresh off the runway (and some of them probably headed to the Oscars): gorgeous drop-waist sequin dresses and crystal-beaded gowns, just hanging there in all their glory. 

One of the most striking dresses on the runway was the red floral lace sparkler. Its materiality is marvellous with tiny red sequins sewn into the intricate red lace. 

Then there were the furs in their many different textures, from shearling to Mongolian lamb to coyote. Interestingly, most of them had 'Made in Canada' labels, so that says something about Kors' high standards when it comes to sustainable fur trade. 

Fur was also prominent with the accessories, with most bags featuring fur accents (who knows, maybe bags need to keep warm too?), the most intriguing ones being the little convertible shoulder bags/clutches. Jewellery went fuzzy too, with oversized fur cuffs: although really cool, they might be a wee bit self-indulgent. 

Another textural highlight was this charcoal wool dress with degraded feathers. Although on the runway it appears heavy, in person there was a beautiful lightness to the soft cashmere and bouncy feathers. 

In the hallways, framed photographs of Michael Kors' muses and style inspirations are hung, from Jackie O to Robert Redford...all American. 

PS. Further proof I was there? Check me out trying to pull off the giant runway fur topper on Instagram. And follow me while you're at it. 

Photography by Runway images courtesy of Michael Kors.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shoe Wednesdays: Hush Puppies Dancer Oxford

When was the last time you wore Hush Puppies? It's been ages for me -- probably since high school. But they sure weren't this cute. This is a classic Oxford shoe rendered adorably in a cream and lemon chiffon (it's a colour, look it up) combination, fitting in beautifully with the pastel colour story this season.

It's that light summer leather skimmer that can easily be interchangeable with one's favourite pair Chucks. Only a little dressier, I suppose. 

$100 at Hush Puppies

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New York Fashion Week F/W 2012: Obakki

Given my somewhat scathing review of Obakki's F/W 2011 Vancouver presentation, I'm thrilled to write a glowing one a year later. Truth be told, a lot of it has to do with a back-to-basics approach the brand took, not only in the clothing construction, but in the way the garments were presented. When a young brand prepares itself for the world stage, it is crucial to let the clothes speak for themselves, rather than getting wrapped up in the fussiness of theatrical drama and buzz terms like “effortlessly cool,” which sadly brought upon the cliched '90s heroin chic vibe to the last show. 

Obakki made its New York debut quietly but confidently, relying on the designs to do the work. Yes, as with all Obakki collections, there was a story behind the clothing and it's not a pretty one. It is one of the war and destruction of South Sudan, a place where the brand's Creative Director, Treana Peake, and the Obakki Foundation have been making rebuilding efforts for the past few years. While the inspiration is commendable, the business of fashion is ultimately about selling beautiful garments, and there were plenty. 

Peake chose to incorporate the story of South Sudan through subtle hints in materiality. The show opened with a plush jewel-toned combination of teal and blue, suggesting the fertility of the land. Then it moved onto references of drought and cracked soil, with rough wool textures that made for fantastic fall outerwear. Going back to the notion of sell-ability, there probably isn't a woman out there that wouldn't want to wrap herself in a simple black and ochre wool wrap coat with leather piping and a slim leather belt. 

Obakki's signature draped dress made multiple appearances, strongest in its spicy red iteration, the kind of shade that exudes the feeling of a fiery fever. But perhaps it was the simple basics that made the most vigorous statement, like the impeccably tailored charcoal coat with a deep V neckline that is a true example of one of those "investment" pieces we expect from luxury brands -- Obakki's strongest piece to date.

Images couresty of Obakki.

A Little Cameo on

Here's a shocker: I actually did a personal style post. I mentioned before that I'm way too shy to make this type of thing a regular occurrence (I'm usually the girl dodging cameras at events), but when FLARE  asks you to be a part of an online Bloggers Style: Spring Shoes feature, you just don't say no. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Item of the Week: Uniform Wares 200 Series Watch

I've been looking for a new watch for the longest time. I had so many requirements; it seemed like an impossible task. It had to be a men's watch (but not too big or heavy for a woman's wrist), minimal in design (like, super minimal -- no numbers), with a calendar feature (I never know what date it is), a soft leather strap (not into metal hardware), and, most importantly, it had to be affordable. 

Well, I finally found it thanks to Uniform Wares. Every single thing about is meticulous, from its stark face plate, to its luxurious rose gold finish, to that bright orange second dial. It was love at first sight. 

$320 at Neighbour (in Vancouver).

PS. What kind of watch are you sporting these days?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Beauty Fridays: Sun-Kissed Skin

Michael Kors S/S 2012

Today's Beauty Fridays is courtesy of Shakeira MacLean, my sometimes intern and product testing buddy. While I catch up on NYFW stuff, Shakeira looks at Dick Page's brilliant use of bronzer -- this is certainly not a J.Lo type of glow. 

In this dreary weather slump, I can’t help but look forward to sunshine and a genuine sun-kissed glow (although highly monitored with cautious SPF application.) In the meantime, taking inspiration from Michael Kors S/S 2012, a simple bronze application will keep you radiating heat, at least on the surface. 

Shiseido Bronzer ($35 at Shiseido)

Makeup artist Dick Page was inspired by African safaris and warmed up the girls’ cheeks with a dusting of bronze. Using Shiseido bronzer in a shade darker than their natural skin tone, he applied the warming hue on the cheekbone up to the temples, jaw line and the bridge of the nose. Using another shade darker, he added further depth to certain areas.

MAC Matte Bronze ($28 at MAC)

(Anya's tip: To avoid J.Lo's sweaty goddess look, take a note from Page and opt for a bronzer with very little shimmer or completely matte, as overly shiny skin tends to look silly under cloudy skies.)

It’s a great cheat to tide us over until the sun really comes out. -- Shakeira MacLean

Michael Kors image courtesy of Vogue.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New York Fashion Week F/W 2012: J.Crew

I already posted a mini collection review on Vitamin Daily a couple of days ago, but I thought I'd expand on it a bit more here.

Up until a couple of years ago, I never paid attention to J.Crew. I must have passed by its Seattle store a million times without the slightest inclination of going in. That all changed around the same time that Jenna Lyons took over the reigns as the brand's Executive Creative Director and we began to hear the name "J.Crew" everywhere. Lyons has been with the company for a long time, revamping the label from its mail-order catalogue image to the all-American staple, with one foot in high fashion, that it is today.

J.Crew's new status was firmly established at Tuesday's F/W presentation when every Balenciaga-loving editor, including Anna Dello Russo and Giovanna Bataglia, rose bright and early to mingle with J.Crew enthusiasts in a casual front row-less studio setting. And by casual, I mean really, undeniably casual. One wall, made from multiple panels, separating menswear and womenswear collections, with 24 looks from each. Models, styled like mini Jennas with their hair in slick ponytails and bright fuchsia lips, stood around nonchalantly -- without any high fashion pretense -- projecting the brand's chic but attainable image. Jenna Lyons was there, as was designer Tom Mora, greeting the crowd of journalists, friends, and whoever simply wanted to say hello (I totally did).

When I arrived, Jeanne Beker was already there, very enthusiastically snapping pics and immediately posting them on her Twitter account. She wrote, "J. Crew rocks! Lots of delightful pieces to mix + match..." Without fashionably intellectualizing it, it is just that: clothes you can love, buy, and truly wear -- probably forever (or at least forever for the life of a garment). And how thrilling, an entire collection of things we can not only wear, but, most importantly, afford.

On that note, there wasn't a single item of clothing that I personally wouldn't wear. There were gorgeous solids, like the streamlined yellow coat and the gorgeous long red silk dress. But it was the prints that proved to be most striking, perhaps aided by the slightly quirky mix-and-match styling: the Fair Isle sweater paired with snakeskin pencil skirts or a chunky brown and black striped sweater paired with delicate dusty pink slacks adorned with pretty little sequin bows. Because if Jenna Lyons has taught us one thing, it's how to make sequins day-appropriate, or, in a grander scheme, how to make seemingly formal pieces appear like it was just something you threw on. Same goes with her signature classic pumps, only this time they are enhanced by the leader of the ladylike shoe, Manolo Blahnik. It's interesting to note that a few years ago Blahnik stated he would never do a collaboration -- I guess he was perhaps saving his talents for the best.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shoe Wednesdays: Carven Suede Slingbacks (With Bows!)

I may have been possessed by some type of colour bug while here. Usually, I'm the type that's really attracted to neutrals -- 3/4 of my closet is dedicated to slight variations on shades of white (that includes creams and oatmeals!), greys (there are many shades of grey) and blacks.

This lovely Carven pump was spotted on a visit to New York's glorious Barneys flagship. It was its suede softness that felt super inviting (mind you, I was totally doing the zombie limp due to the painful nature of my chosen NYFW footwear). And then there is that adorable oversized bow, the way it just flops down so delightfully.

$595 at Barneys. Also available in blue at Net-a-Porter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Item of the Week: Alice + Olivia 'Arthur' Pants

I got these on a rather dreary day in New York. It was snowy and grey, and I was attracted by the colourful window at Alice + Olivia on Madison. There they were: the brightest fuchsia silk slacks I've ever seen. Every year I resolve to wear more bright colours, so I figured a month into the year was an appropriate time to make a step in a more colourful direction. 

The next day, my pants were papped by a couple of street style photographers outside the DKNY show, so a happy shopping decision immortalized on some blog somewhere that I'll never find -- but an assuring moment nonetheless.