Monday, July 30, 2012

Item of the Week: Ela 'Milck' Clutch

I've had Ela on my radar for the longest time and since the new F/W colours are so vibrant and irresistible, it's time to give their 'Milck' clutch some much-deserved attention. M.I.L.C.K. is an acronym for all the essentials one needs: money, identification, lipstick, cell, keys. What I truly love about is its closure, an angular design that's become Ela's signature. Smart, right?

Only in its third season, this Toronto-based brand is rapidly making a name for itself. The brain behind the label -- and its namesake -- Ela Kowalewska spent many years working in public relations for Hermès Canada, so she knows a thing or two about quality craftsmanship... and it shows.  

Now it's just deciding which colour to pick. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Catwalk Beauty: Visor, Anyone?

Alexander McQueen F/W 2012

If you think about it, a visor is kind of an ingenious invention. It's really a hat and sunglasses in one... and it let you keep your hair intact. Previously worn by eccentric grannies everywhere, the visor has been enjoying some runway moments lately, most notably at Marc by Marc Jacobs S/S runway and as part of Alexander McQueen's futuristic F/W collection. The latter you can buy... for mere, um, $475. 

Alexander McQueen visor ($475 at Alexander McQueen)

ASOS Perspex Top Visor ($5.80 at Asos)

Of course there are plenty of less ridiculously expensive options, and downright cheep ones, like this one from Asos. Think about it: good sun protection and it does look super cool. Would you?

PS. This concludes my sporty, Olympics-inspired week. Hope you enjoyed!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fashion Archives: All Hail Sports

Vogue (June 1927)

Once in a while -- and rarely so -- fashion celebrates the beauty that is sports and booking agents scramble to find the most athletic among the sea of emaciated models. The result is often comical (the recent Vogue Russia editorial comes to mind) but sometimes it can be magical (like Karlie Kloss' Olympic spread in US Vogue). However, none of them capture the magic that was the sporty Vogue back in the day. 

Vogue (late June 1927)

Vogue (July 1929)

Vogue (December 1927)

Vogue (December 1928)

Vogue (July 1932)

Vogue (December 1936)

Vogue (August 1940)

Vogue (May 1941)

Sporty never looked so chic...especially for golf and tennis.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shoe Wednesdays: Fred Perry 'Lynn' Sneaker

Sorry for the late post today -- I was having technical difficulties.

The Olympics are two days away and here I am totally entranced by everything sport-related. It's so unlike me; I barely ever reach for the activewear in my closet, let alone the six or seven pairs of sneakers I own. I spent a considerable amount yesterday browsing through $600 designer kicks, including the recent slew of the hidden wedge ones, but nothing beats a simple slim classic like Chuck Taylors, Vans, and this Fred Perry chambray sneaker. 

$95 at Gravity Pope.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Item of the Week: Lacoste Flag Polo

Here's a thing: I love Olympics! Which is why I'm going to get all sporty on you this week. To commemorate this year's competition, Lacoste did a limited edition series of their famous polo shirt featuring the flags of 16 nations. 

The Lacoste polo silhouette is one of my all-time favourites. Did you know it dates all the way back to 1927? It was, of course, designed by the brand's namesake René Lacoste, who was in search of something more comfortable for playing tennis in than a uniform consisting of a long-sleeved button-up shirt and flannel trousers, complete with a little sports tie (imagine playing in that!). From tennis players, the shirt soon made its way to polo and golf players, and now it's pretty much everywhere. But there is only one Lacoste. 

$80.99 (on sale from $135) at Lacoste.

PS. Will you be watching the Olympics? I'll be pretty much glued to tennis and swimming.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Catwalk Beauty: Watercolour Lip

Dior Fall 2012 Couture

I wrote about Dior's Fall 2012 Couture collection already, but -- silly me -- I failed to notice the beautiful lip treatment. I'm going to call it "watercolour" since it's kind of blend-y. It's pretty subtle, the way orange and fuchsia bleed into one another. Tyen, Dior's beauty director, first applied a fiery orange colour, perfectly lining and blotting the lip (very reminiscent of Jil Sander's F/W 2011 look), and then dabbled a darker fuchsia shade with his finger on the centre of the lower lip. 

Rouge Dior in 'Blazing Red' and 'Star Fuchsia' ($36 each at Sephora)

Rouge Dior 'Blazing Red' and 'Star Fuchsia' are the best match, although I'm sure everyone already has something similar to these two shades in their makeup bag. 

But would you wear them together? 

Image courtesy of Dior.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shoe Wednesdays: Manolo Blahnik 'BB' Pump

I admit that I’ve shoved Manolo Blahnik somewhere in the back of my brain in lieu of the Kirkwoods and Louboutins of the world. But, as of recent, my eyes are slowly beginning to draw themselves towards the Manolo section as I browse for potential purchases. 

A part of it is my new appreciation of classic silhouettes and also the need for a more sensible -- yes, I said "sensible" -- stiletto. I was previously turned off by Manolos thanks to Sex and the City (which I liked in the beginning) in the same way I’m now currently turned off Louboutins thanks to the Kardashians -- it’s really sad how popular culture unfairly impacts fashion in a negative way. 

Last year the New York Times published an article titled “In His Shoes.” The article argues that many women are re-establishing their love for the classic Manolo Blahnik “BB” pump after experimenting with various loud “vulgar” shoe fads, taking a stab at the louder-than-life Louboutins. Mr. Blahnik himself is quoted as saying “the gimmicky thing I’m not very keen on. I’ve never been tempted to do these hideous furniture shoes.” 

There is something to be said for simplicity versus spectacle. The “BB” is the consummate pump: straightforward, pointy, and elegant. It’s no surprise that its design hasn’t changed since the mid-70s when, coincidentally, spectacle platforms were also at the top. And according to the New York Times article, Manolos are “so comfortable, some claimed, you could wear them to scale Everest.” 

That said, it’s not like I’m going to be giving up my Louboutins anytime soon, but I think Manolos are calling my name.

Vogue (1974)

PS. Did you know Manolo Blahnik was a model? Check him out galavanting with Anjelica Huston on the cover of Vogue in 1974. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Item of the Week: Charlotte Olympia 'Baboushka' Clutch

I grew up in Eastern Europe so I'm all over anything Baboushka. My parents, who often travelled to Moscow, would always bring these little wooden dolls back for me. I loved them immensely and we brought them to Canada when we moved here. As expected, Charlotte Olympia's leather Baboushka clutch was love at first sight. It's a tiny little thing, holding only the necessities: phone, lipstick, credit card, and keys. Just precious!

$595 at Net-a-Porter

Friday, July 13, 2012

Best Bet: Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Anya's note: I'm introducing a new feature for my beauty-oriented Friday segment. "Best Bet" focuses on a singular, magical, can't-live-without product and it's slated to run monthly. My occasional contributor Shakeira McLean introduces the feature today.

The only downside to Vancouver’s newly found heat is that it requires me to wash my hair more frequently then I prefer. Thankfully I’ve discovered Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. It saves me the pain of a hot blow dry and style every morning and is great for touching up before heading out for the evening.

Dry shampoo

Oat milk for soothing and cylcodextrins for absorbing oil 

With my dark hair I was concerned about the gray and powdery look that some brands leave, but this is residue-free and doesn’t stain fabrics (pillows, clothing, etc.) like some dark hair specific options. And bonus: it adds volume, which is something I desperately need after wearing a hat at the beach all day.

-- Shakeira McLean

$15.25 at drugstores across Canada. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mary Katrantzou, FLARE

For FLARE's August issue, I had a pleasure of interviewing Mary Katrantzou (who is just as delightful as her designs) for the magazine's Visionary column. 

Not in Canada? No problem: you can download FLARE's iPad app

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shoe Wednesdays: Native 'Jericho' Loafer

It took me a while to warm up to Native shoes. For some time I considered them to be Croc-like, but they are anything but. These rubber loafers aren't clunky or sloppy -- exact opposite. The shapes are classic and slim and reminiscent of an ageless sneaker. 

Another cool thing, for those that don't know: Native shoes hail from Vancouver, my darling city, and are ideal for beaching around all summer long. I wear mine in the Hulla Blue shade.

$55 at, and Gravity Pope and Walrus in Vancouver.

Radiant and Sporty


To hit the gym or not during that time-of-the-month is an ongoing question. You might feel like it’s a good excuse to lay around like a couch potato, but most athletes don’t have that luxury. “No excuses,” says my kickass trainer, who also scolded me when I showed for a training session in I-don’t-know-how-old oversized sweatpants that have been stretched to the point beyond recognition. “But I’m on my period,” I said in their defense! “When you look bad, you feel bad,” she said while looking at my sweats in disgust. 

Lesson learned: I ditched the unsightly pants, and stuck to my regular gym wardrobe of fitted leggings and shorts, paired with fitted tank tops and sport bras. I just discovered what is possibly the chicest activewear line in the world: Michi (a Canadian brand!). I’m training for a 10K run (this is ambitious for me) this summer and, along with my new and stylish wardrobe, I have Tampax® Radiant™ tampons to thank for making me feel like it’s just any ordinary non-period day.

ENTER TO WIN: Check out ChickAdvisor’s Girl on the Go contest this month for your chance to win a luxe bag, products from the Always® & Tampax® Radiant™ collection and other goodies.

*Contest ends July 17, 2012. Approximate retail value of prize is $300 CAD. Offer open to Canadian residents of the legal age of majority. Winners will be notified by email during the week of July 18, 2012. ChickAdvisor is the contest sponsor and has sole authority to award prizes or disqualify users for any reason. Click through for full contest rules.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dior Fall 2012 Couture: a Flashback

Dior Couture Fall 2012

Without a doubt, Raf Simons' Dior debut was the most anticipated collection in years. As soon as he was named as Galliano's successor, it was agreed that Simons was the most logical choice (let's now be thankful that the Marc Jacobs rumours were just rumours), especially following the "couture trilogy" of his last collections with Jil Sander -- all three were immensely influenced by Christian Dior's work.  

Dior Couture Fall 2012

House of Dior "Bar" jacket, S/S 1947

Both designers favour clean silhouettes, with rigorous focus on construction. Dior, of course, is the inventor of the modern silhouette, with his 1947 Spring collection known as the "New Look." It wasn't surprising that Simons looked to the Dior archives, opening the collection with the iconic "Bar" jacket, one of the most recognizable silhouettes in fashion history. Simons' version of the wasp-waisted and hip-padded blazer is more relaxed and updated for 2012 with a slim pair of cigarette trousers. 

Dior Couture Fall 2012

House of Dior Ensemble, 1949-1951

Dior Couture Fall 2012

House of Dior coat, 1948

The waspy waists of the "New Look" continued throughout the collection, with belt-cinched day dresses and coats that provided plenty of deja vu of the great master, including his signature v-cut neckline.

Dior Couture Fall 2012

House of Dior "Nuit d'Août" (August Night) white silk ball gown, S/S 1954

Dior's beloved floral prints (which Galliano did oh-so beautifully) made many gorgeous appearances, particularly intriguing in the form of trimmed ball gowns, paired instead with the ever-present cigarette pant. The yellow embroidered number is a direct homage to the 1954 "Nuit d'Août" gown, from the collection of dresses inspired by different months of the year. 

Dior Couture Fall 2012

House of Dior "Petite Soiree," F/W 1955

And, of course, there is the strapless full-skirted dress worn by many prominent Hollywood figures and 1950s elite. Simons stayed fairly true to the silhouette -- respectfully and carefully so -- updating the frock with a pair of pockets. 

It's universally agreed that Simons' debut Dior collection is a triumph, a flashback and a flashforward simultaneously, a consummate understanding between two great designers. 

(Now if someone could just do the same for Balmain.)

Runway images courtesy of Dior images courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum and scanned from Dior: Man of the Century

Monday, July 9, 2012

Item of the Week: J.Crew Vintage Pyjamas

It's a little weird to be posting pyjamas as an Item of the Week but, hey, why not? They are an important part of our wardrobe. I like proper old school pyjamas: crisp cotton with a tailored menswear-inspired shirt. Piping is absolutely essential, of course. 

I recently ordered these J.Crew pyjamas, and now it's hard to imagine how I handled sleeping in anything else. Like, not to exaggerate, but I feel like a more sophisticated sleeper. Sure it's possible! Maybe it's because I had them monogrammed.

$85 at J.Crew.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Secrets of a Beauty Insider: Kendra Lovick and Tayler Rogers, Beautymark

Kendra Lovick and Tayler Rogers

Vancouver's beauty mecca Beautymark recently came under new ownership. No worries: the proud new proprietors are the store's long-time beauty experts, Kendra Lovick and Tayler Rogers. If you've been to the store, then you know that these two women know everything beauty-related. After years of experience as makeup artists, they are now utilizing their business savvy as well, all while looking really, really good. Beauty and brains, as they say.

Beauty Motto
Kendra: I think that it's important to embrace what you've got. Stop trying to fight it... be pale, have big brows, be curvy... whatever! These things are beautiful, they may not be the "ideal", but it's what makes each of us uniquely beautiful.
Tayler: Beauty to me is being able to have fun and try new looks. I love trying to recreate inspiring looks - I think everyone should get out of their comfort zone and try new things. Life's too short to wear clear lip balm every day.

Morning Ritual
K: Sleep in as long as possible, wash my hair (on a good day I'll curl it too), make-up which I've got down to a tee and then out the door to grab a coffee on my walk down Davie to work.
T: Wake up, turn on tunes! Get ready, hop on my bike and ride to Yaletown.

Kendra's picks: Mahale, Tanzania (priceless); Vaseline (the best!); Geisha Ink Liquid Liner ($30) 

The Secret
KVaseline before bed. Every night before bed, my mom would put Vaseline on her lips and I guess I just inherited the ritual. My lips are rarely chapped.
T: Sunscreen. It's not really a secret, but sun damage is the #1 cause of aging! I wear Dermalogica's Oil Free SPF 30 every single day, even when it's pouring rain in December. Your skin can still be damaged by the sun when there's cloud coverage.

The Go-To
K: Liquid liner. It takes two seconds but still looks polished and put together.
T: I always wear the classic liquid 'cat liner' & honestly feel quite naked without it! It's just so easy to fall back on -- I've always had a thing for that retro-inspired look. It's timeless. Geisha Ink liner is the best thing ever!

Tayler's picks: Morocco (for the soul); Fresh 'Hesperides' ($42/30ml); Dermalogica Oil Free Matte SPF 30 ($65)

The Signature Scent
K: I don't really have a specific scent, but whenever I travel I buy a new one so that every time I wear it, it will remind me of that trip.
T: Definitely Fresh's 'Hesperides' -- citrus sweet blend of grapefruit and I've never gotten sick of it. It's been six years!

Vacation Hot Spot
K: Mahale: it was one of the most magical places I've ever been. It's on Lake Tanganyika and you could only get there by plane and then a half an hour boat ride. It was remote and peaceful and I got to see chimps, so basically it was perfect.
T: I used to live in London, so it is really hard to choose. I went to so many amazing places while I lived there, but I'd have to pick Morocco. It was such a memorable trip. The markets, the people and all the colours -- just amazing! Would love to go back, and totally recommend it to everyone.

Beautymark, 1268 Pacific Blvd., Vancouver, 1-877-8BEAUTY,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Style Icon: Loulou de la Falaise

Loulou de la Falaise / Source: BOF

"I don't like black. You wear black when you're miserable." -- Loulou de la Falaise

What a great quote to keep somewhere in the back of one's brain. Here is a woman that embraced colour, print, the wonders of over-accessorizing, and the joy of dressing. Loulou de la Falaise is the original creator of boho chic. Sure, there were bohos before her, but she was the first to make the look of the high fashion variety.

With YSL and Betty Catroux (1978) / Source: WWD

I meant to post something on Loulou de la Falaise last year when she passed away, but then every single magazine/paper/website had written an obituary much more poignant than anything I could. A year later, and the house that she worked at for almost three decades, Yves Saint Laurent, seems to be at the crossroads with Hedi Slimane making some controversial changes. Loulou de la Falaise played the ying to Betty Catroux's yang, as they both served as muses for the legendary Yves Saint Laurent since the 1960s. If you've watched L'amour Fou, you'll know that Yves Saint Laurent was a pretty miserable chap for most of his lifetime -- and Betty Catroux, his "twin" and the inspiration behind Le Smoking, was no sunshine. Loulou, on the other hand, represented the sunnier side of things. In Catroux's words, "Loulou was poetry. We were the opposite. She saw everything in pink and I saw everything in black."

Loulou de la Falaise design for YSL / Source: 1st Dibs

To dismiss her as merely Saint Laurent's "muse" is probably doing a disservice to this creative woman. Her knack for accessories promoted her from a clothes horse to YSL's jewellery designer, a post she held from 1971 until his retirement in 2000, producing hundreds of pieces of a year, always integrating ethnic references that defined her signature style (the famous "Arty Ring"? That was her). Loulou masterfully mixed vintage couture with cheap market finds from Marrakesh. Saint Laurent loved her, her style, and her joie de vivre. 

Photographed by Bert Stern (1970) / Source: WWD

As Saint Laurent sank into deeper depression in the '80s and '90s, she acted as the unofficial creative director, organizing the staff, editing the collections, and keeping everyone's spirits up. She worked so tirelessly cultivating his ideas to life (and he was not the easiest person to deal with) that the YSL staff nicknamed the collections "Yves Saint Loulou."

Photographed by Roberto Frankenberg at home / Source: The Guardian

So, as you can see, Loulou was an immense influence not just as a style icon, but as a major player in fashion history. Far from just high cheekbones and long legs, she had style that people will be looking back to for years on end.