Friday, September 28, 2012

Best Bet: Rowenta Ceramic Flat Iron

In my lifetime, I have spent a lot of money on hair straighteners that were just okay. That is until I discovered Rowenta. For over a year, we were best friends. It was perfect, ideal creating both razor straight hair and beachy waves. It was capable of incredible heat without ever damaging my hair. Then on a trip to Europe, I plugged it in using a (faulty) power converter, and my Rowenta melted away!  I've never been so devastated about the loss of a gadget before. I actually cried a little and then threw a temper tantrum (in front of my mom, teenage style). Thankfully, the nice people from Rowenta Beauty sent me a new one.

A ceramic flat iron

Ceramic infused with Titanium Technology (kills bacteria and is resistant to scratching/peeling)

Well, I already professed my love in the introduction.  Here's a tip: whether you are straightening or curling, spray the hair with Bumble and Bumble's Styling Lotion (I reviewed it ages ago) to protect it from the heat, and to achieve incredible shine. 

$219 (worth every penny) at Rowenta Beauty.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

London Fashion Week S/S 2013: Patchwork

Leave it to London to come up with the most intriguing prints and compositions of the season. While fall was all about bold hyper florals, this time things got a little patchy. Usually I consider patchwork kind of homey and crafty and it rarely ever works fashion-wise (J.W. Anderson's S/S 2012 show was an exception), but I'm very intrigued by these fun combos. 

Antonio Berardi

Antonio Berardi's entire collection is really exceptional, very fun and sporty. I love all the patchwork detailing, especially when paired with something very sharply tailored.  

Roksanda Ilincic

Kind of '60s, very geometric, and very, very fun, this was Roksanda Ilincic's best collection yet. I really appreciate all the different compositions of shapes and textures -- it doesn't feel overworked. 


Still ladylike, still floral, and still very Erdem. He's playing with cutouts, pushing his (albeit, lovely) shtick as far as it can go. 

Michael Van Der Ham

Michael Van Der Ham's collection was inspired by Joan Miro, the legendary abstract painter, and it shows. In fact, the designer hand-painted all the fabrics himself. The result is very gusty, maybe a bit too young at times, but he's piqued my interest.


Every Preen collection is always really solid and original. The patchy combo of exotic skins and stripes is usually a Cavalli-sized turnoff, but it sure works here. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shoe Wednesdays: J.Crew 'Everly' Pump

All I want to wear lately is my pointy Manolos. Yes, I wish I had more than one pair, but -- poor me -- that's all I got. When I was at New York Fashion Week last February, there was the buzz of a Manolo Blahnik and J.Crew collaboration. Sadly, it didn't happen -- it was just for the show. 

But J.Crew went and made a very similar shoe to Blahnik's famed BB pump. It's called Everly and is 1/3 of the price. It's indeed lovely, with an elegant shape and plush suede in fun colours. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rookie Yearbook One

Of the "star" fashion blogger websites, Tavi Gevinson's Style Rookie is the only one that I visit regularly. I love that there are posts titled "Bulimia is so '87," constant revisiting of Twin Peaks (best show ever), and that it all has very little to do with fashion. The charm is in the mood of the site: that feeling of reading someone's diary -- the diary of someone very, very young, but very, very cool. 

When Rookie announced itself as a "website for teenage girls," I thought, well, I'm not one, but I was one. Thus it became a site for nostalgia, revisiting the moments teenage girls go through. Even though I'm not the target demographic, I find myself learning a lot from Rookie. If anything, it gives me hope that teenage girls these days are not all Kim Kardashian-watching idiots. 

When I was growing up, I read Sassy for the short amount of time before it folded. While has been a huge disappointment to me, Rookie captures the magic that Sassy had. I find myself wanting to re-read certain articles (kind of like I wish I could do with Sassy), so I was super thrilled when Drawn & Quarterly announced they were publishing Rookie's freshman year as a book. 

Rookie Yearbook One is fun, smart, beautifully illustrated, has cool stickers, a flexidisc (!) and contributors like Lena Dunham (I hope you're watching Girls) and Sarah Silverman. So it's about as precious as precious gets -- a teenage dream. 

$29.95 at Drawn & Quarterly (also at Chapters, Amazon, and wherever good books are sold).

Monday, September 24, 2012

New York Fashion Week S/S 2013: Graphic Content

I know I'm behind on my Spring 2013 collection trend coverage, but I'll get to them all in speedy fashion. For those just tuning in, I usually don't cover individual shows, but group some of my favourite looks into a theme or a trend. I'm calling this one "graphic content," a high impact black and white composition. 

Alexander Wang S/S 2013 

Alexander Wang's laser-cut pattern is a stunner, marrying leather, silk and PVC. I think this may be my favourite Alexander Wang collection to date -- his clothes are becoming more sophisticated every season. 

Marc Jacobs S/S 2013

To say I disliked Marc Jacobs' current F/W collection would be an understatement (the clown hats, the chunky pilgrim shoes...yikes!), but I do love the look of Spring 2013. Maybe it's because I'm somewhat obsessed with Edie Sedgwick -- always have been -- and she would have totally worn this checkered/striped gown.

Proenza Schouler S/S 2013

Not all Proenza Schouler looks are as exceptional as this combo of perforated leather skirt with patchwork black vertical lines and delicate jacquards blouse with in-your-face black pockets. And then there is that little geometric clutch. 

BCBG S/S 2013

This BCBG dress works in a similar manner, with exaggerated bodice cut lines and a delicate sheer lace pattern peeking through them. I'm always excited when BCBG does a strong collection, since it sits on the affordable end of things -- thanks!

Narciso Rodriguez S/S 2013

And less aggressively so, Narciso Rodriguez takes a black and white composition and makes a really simple, beautiful dress that's visually incredibly powerful: my favourite collection from New York this season.

Black and white geometry: exciting?

Item of the Week: Lifetime Collective Varsity Sweater

This little cardigan caught my eye way back in April at a media preview. No surprise here: I love everything varsity and American-prep. Have you ever come across a menswear book called Take Ivy? It's a pretty amazing collection of photographs of 1960s American Ivy League students, taken by Japanese photographers (I guess they were onto this street style thing way before anyone else).

Lifetime Collective's (a Vancouver-based brand!) cotton sweater version of the varsity jacket is very Take Ivy, but fit for a girl.

$143 at and Plenty in Vancouver.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

¡Mexico City!

Oopsy, I definitely meant to blog while in Mexico City, but this is town is so ginormous, and there is so much to see, spending time blogging about shoes is probably not the best use of one's time (especially considering it takes over an hour to get from one side of the city to another). So, instead, here are some pics from my Instagram feed (you don't need to have Instagram to view). 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Item of the Week: Topshop Peplum Dress

I made my first ever television appearance this morning talking about a couple of fall trends on behalf of FLARE magazine. (If you watched it, thank you very much.) One of them was peplums. I love them, can't get enough. Remember that brilliant Alber Elbaz quote? 

Without the peplum, this would have been just any other skintight Topshop frock, but instead it's pretty magnificent. 

$96 at Topshop

PS. I'm heading to Mexico City this week! Follow me on Instagram.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New & Noteworthy: NARSskin Optimal Brightening Concentrate

NARS recently launched a 10-product 'skin' collection and I decided to take the Optimal Brightening Concentrate for a quick test drive. 

When it comes to serums, I find that one sees results fairly immediately. This concentrate is a serum that doubles as an illuminator, so it's to be used in the daytime, under your regular moisturiser. Its pearly Light Reflecting Complex does really brighten, especially when hit with intense sunlight. Its texture is comparable to Estee Lauder's 'Idealist' (which I'm also a big fan of), and it really leaves the complexion more even and your skin feeling silky smooth. And those are just the short-term results.

This line looks very promising. Have you tried NARSskin?

$85 at NARS

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shoe Wednesdays: Lanvin Patent Bow Slipper

Since we are splurging this week (on this blog, anyways), I thought a little Lanvin might be in order. It's a classic patent gentleman slipper, but with a satin bow. (Of course it has a bow: it's Lanvin). I prefer my flat shoes not to be completely pancake flat, and this 1" heel is just about right.

What the world need now is...more bows. I'm serious. 

$795 at Holt Renfrew.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Run Anya Run

(This is exactly what I look like when I run.) 

I know I usually don't post too many personal things on this blog, but this I had to share as I consider it a milestone in my life. 

A few months ago, I wrote that I was training for my first 10k run. Well, the run never happened. Part of it was that I was away for two weeks, in a +40 degree southern European dry climate, tending to some family matters and skipped a whole bunch of training days, and part of it was that I'm just super lazy when it comes to sticking to a routine (like, I dropped out of ballet school for the same reason). Oh, yes: then there was the occasional smoking (since I was 14)...let's just say I'm not a natural born runner. 

Last weekend I did my first competitive run ever. And it wasn't just a 10k, but an epic 14k! It was Vancouver's Coho Run, with net proceeds going to the salmon enhancement projects (hey, an important cause here in BC). 

In the 1:40 (not bragging-worthy, but not embarrassing) minutes that it took me to finish the damn thing, I thought about giving up at least eight times. People much, much older and much, much... um, flabbier than me kept passing me one by one. I pathetically walked at least 1k up the hill, stomping on my heavy feet as if I was wearing Alexander McQueen's armadillo shoes and not super pillow-y runners. I was having major fantasies that I would discover some magical oasis complete with beach beds and chilled sauvignon blanc somewhere in Stanley Park, until I finally got enough strength to zombie-limp-run across the ginormous Lions Gate Bridge towards the finish line. I finished the damn thing, and it was exhilarating.

I couldn't walk for the rest of the day. Or the next morning. By the afternoon, I was in my Manolo Blahniks (new!) going about my business like any other day. Not to get all Oprah on you, but re-programmimg one's body is possible, it just requires patience and hard work. Four years ago, I couldn't even run for two minutes and, two months from now, I'll be running the Seattle 1/2 Marathon

(If I miss a post or two in the next few months, it's because I'm dead tired from running).

Are you a runner? Please share tips, recipes, and, of course, stylish running gear. 



PS. Also, I'd like to thank Beyonce for making the runspirational (oh dear!) music. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Item of the Week: Marc Jacobs Jacquard Pant

I don't particularly love the current Marc Jacobs collection but I do love all this jacquard business, even with the paisleys. I think a jacquard suit (think Prada) might be a little much, but a one key piece mixed with some neutrals is a great look. 


Before you get mad at me for posting $875 pants (yeah, a little out of my price range too), here's a look-for-less option from our trusty friend Zara ($75).

$875 at Net-a-Porter.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Catwalk Beauty: Flushed

Issa F/W 2012

Being somewhat vampire pale, I love a good flushed cheek. We've seen many bronzed versions of this look last season, but now it's all about pink. This lovely rosy cheek is from Issa's F/W show. I'm not sure what the blush is (Google, you failed me), but I can guarantee you that it's a cream one. There is just no way a powder can achieve such dewiness. 

ILIA Multi-Stick in 'Tenderly' ($34 at and Beautymark)

I reviewed these multi-sticks from ILIA back in June. I love the finish: it dries somewhat matte, making it look very blend-y. I'm hooked; I have all the colours. 

Revolution Organics Beauty Balm in 'Blushed' ($37 at

This colour may look a bit more intense, but Revolution Organics Beauty Balm is one of those blushes that one can layer. If you use just a dab, it's sheer, light pink, and if you apply generously, you get a very intense look. 

Ah yes, both of these act as lipsticks so...bonus!

Issa image courtesy of

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Humble Luxury: Q&A With Martin Aldorsson, Ela

Ela Kowalewska and Martin Aldorsson (photo by Sarah Blais)

Starting a fashion business is challenging enough, especially as a couple. But that didn't stop Ontario-based Ela Kowalewska and Martin Aldorsson from pursuing their dream. Recognizing the gap in the marketplace between luxury and fast fashion, they launched Ela less than two years ago with their M.I.L.C.K (money, ID, lipstick, cell, keys) clutch, featuring an ingenious little asymmetrical clasp. Since then, Ela has been showcased on the glossy pages of nearly every Canadian magazine, and it's only a matter of time until our neighbours down south take notice. I caught up with Martin Aldorsson during his visit to Holt Renfrew here in Vancouver for a little chat.

M.I.L.C.K clutch

You started with the M.I.L.C.K clutch. What inspired that design?
The DNA of the brand is the M.I.L.C.K clutch. It's all handmade in Spain, with Italian leather and hardware. We have this thing called "humble luxury," which we used to say that we always want to showcase, and not upstage, the wearer. We wanted it to be functional. 

How did you come up with that unique little clasp?
We wanted to create something that was safe -- so you can always close it securely -- and also create interaction with the bag. The asymmetrical shape was something that Ela spent a lot of time [developing] and trying different options. We wanted to create the classic envelope clutch, but with a twist. 

Lardy bag 

It's become your signature.
It was translated into all the other bags, exactly! The nice thing is that people are starting to recognize it: "Oh, that's the Ela bag!" That also goes for the bigger bags -- they all have the same clasp.

Editor pouch

What inspired the Editor pouch?
The editors in general. A lot of feedback was "I need something that holds my essentials, including the iPad, but I also need something I can wear at night."

I love the mirror one, with the embossed studs. 
The mirror is cool, right? And if it was done with actual studs, it would be pretty heavy. The inspiration behind the studs: we were in Bologna for the leather show and there was this massive door with big wooded studs on it. And we thought, "that could be interesting!"

Chibi Lady bag

As a husband and wife team, is it difficult to work together?
I know how to take a walk around the block, if you know what I mean. No, it's incredible, because we do what we love. I kind of joke and I say, "all we do is eat, sleep, and make bags." The challenging part is because we are both so involved, it never stops, it's seven days a week. If Ela has a bit of a bad day, obviously I have a bad day. Overall, though, it's wonderful. 

Define Ela in three words.
Ela -- it's really her -- humble, and luxury.

Ela bags are available at Holt Renfrew in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver locations, ranging from $178 to $750.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shoe Wednesdays: Zara Platform Boot

Zara has so many great shoes at the moment (except for the studded ones -- let's stop with those), it was  hard to pick just one. I have a feeling we'll be seeing this bootie a lot in hundreds of street style features during fashion week (I'll be going to Toronto this time!). 

The platform reminds me of the amazing Acne pumps from last season. But, you know, that's what Zara does! 

$99 at Zara

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Item of the Week: Madewell Silk Floral Skirt

Ah, Solange Knowles. It took her a while to get noticed by the fashion world, but at some point this year (thanks to this lovely outfit at NYFW, I think) creative directors took notice. Now she's the face of Madewell, and I want everything she's wearing. 

Like this lovely wrap skirt, for example. The print is pretty -- very sketchy. And the wrap silhouette is such a great twist on the pencil skirt. Now, I also need that that possible?

$128 at Madewell.