It’s always fun to watch a debut unfold before you. Tara Rivas unveiled the Fall Winter 2015 collection from her newly minted womenswear line, TMR Collection. Tara began her career altering store bought clothing and after years of that she made the jump into creating custom clothing for herself. This collection is the logical conclusion to those efforts.
“I want to create collections that offer women maximum style with minimum effort,” said Tara Rivas, founder and designer. “My desire is to create clothing that makes women look and feel good.”
For her first collection, Tara has wisely focused on a tight edit of beautifully made foundation pieces that can easily be integrated into anyone’s wardrobe. She’s taken classic pieces and added a bit of flair which makes her collection both stylish and office appropriate. Pleather inserts and mesh detailing bring the style and sex appeal to the garments. In addition to pleather, Tara uses triacetate crepe, bamboo and rayon. The entire collection is produced in Toronto and uses locally sourced fabrics.
Lets take a look at my favourite pieces
Portland Reversible Dress. The reversible dress isn’t a new idea but it’s beautiful to see it done well. This dress looks great on all shapes and it’s perfect for travelling. Nice little bodycon number.
This is the result of the Eve Gravel Garden Party Challenge style challenge. Eve Gravel sent me a Garden Party kit that included a dress from the SS15 collection and some addition styling items to add to the shoot. I chose the dress but everything else was a surprise. With this box of goodies I was to come up with a Garden Party themed photoshoot. The Red Hat dress is amazing and has some beautiful movement to it.
At first I was like, I don’t have a garden! I thought about going to a park but it was cold and brown out there (this was a few weeks ago). I realized that this would be have to be an I want – I got style garden party and that meant my balcony would take centre stage.
In the #evegravelgardenparty party kit styling items included a super cute pineapple bracelet from Horace Jewelry, Misslyn nail polish (available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) and a pair of incredibly cool Italia Independent sunglasses (available at Pink Eye Optical). I’m obsessed with them with the sunglasses. Perfect bright colour for summer. For decoration was a paper pineapple, booze, cocktail shaker and an Eve Gravel fabric pennant banner.
My garden party guests were some plush guys from Monster Factory to add a bit of a teddy bear picnic feel for kicks. Unfortunately my cats wouldn’t sit still enough to participate. Thankfully, I just picked up a new patio set that would go perfectly. So, I set up my trusty Cannon camera and got my remote shooting app and got to work taking shots on a lovely evening as the sun set.
I’ve been completely spoiled by my custom fitted boots from Poppy Barley. It won’t be possible for me to buy another pair of tall boots off the rack again because nothing is going to fit as well. Poppy Barley is an Edmonton based shoe brand that I first heard about in the summer. They offer custom, handcrafted footwear that is Canadian designed and ethically made in Mexico. Sisters, Kendall and Justine Barber are the brains behind the brand. The idea of Poppy Barley came to Justine when she was on vacation in Bali. She came upon a local shoemaker and was disappointed when a pair of boots she wanted didn’t come in her size. The shoemaker said no problem, measured her feet, processed her address and payment. A few weeks later, her custom made shoes showed up at her door in Edmonton. While this is an affordable option for many shoe buyers in other parts of the world, it isn’t common in Canada. Justine had the idea that she wanted to bring custom made footwear to the Canadian market.
Justine recruited her sister, Kendall to join her on this business venture. They did extensive research before partnering up with Laura who is the Operations Manager and Lupita who owns the Studio where Poppy Barley’s shoes are handcrafted. Laura and Lupita are based in LeÃ³n, Mexico which has been called the Footwear capital of the world. The Poppy Barley site has extensive material on their manufacturing practices available giving the consumer a level of transparency not seen in the Canadian shoe industry.
The Poppy Barley team visited Toronto in the fall last year and hosted a series of appointments for customers to get sized, check out the collection in person and order a new pair of shoes. I was invited to a breakfast to meet the team and get a look at the collection in person. When I first discovered Poppy Barley, I thought it was a great idea. There were existing companies doing some custom footwear that are American based and I always love seeing Canadians make a go of it.
Buying boots is a horrible experience for me and for many others. It takes so much time to find a pair of boots that fit acceptably in a style I enjoy. Too many compromises are made that leave me mostly unsatisfied with my purchases. I bought my last pair of tall flat black boots over 6 years ago and they reached end of life. I was dreading the search to replace them that I pretty much avoided it. Custom footwear was a perfect option but I’m pretty old school in my purchasing. I needed to see the product in person first. A good Photographer can make any piece of shit look great and that leads to disappointment when it finally arrives at your door.
Kendall and Justine made the Poppy Barley visit even better by letting me in on the Poppy Barley experience. They generously let me select a pair of shoes and took me through the whole fitting process. The fitting process sounds like it’s complicated but anyone can do it from the comfort of their own home. (http://poppybarley.com/how/) For those of you that want an expert’s touch, Poppy Barley hosts fitting appointments Toronto at another great Canadian shoe brand, Brodawka & Friends and Edmonton. Check the website to setup an appointment or find out when the next Poppy Barley Pop Up is scheduled.
This was the perfect opportunity to replace my tall flat black boots. They are a wardrobe must and I there was a massive hole in my wardrobe options. It wasn’t an easy choice and I spent a good chunk of time figuring out which ones to go for. I also flipped between flat and heeled boots because the Poppy Barley heel boots are pretty amazing too. After much bemoaning, I settled on The Foxhunt Boot in all black. It’s a classic riding boot with gold hardware. In addition to the standard foot measurements like size and width, I was able to customize the calf size and height of the boot. I have long legs so having the option to customize the height of the boot was a godsend. Ditto for the calf size as it’s always been a bitch getting boots to fit my calves. I’m an ex-athlete and always felt that the standard calf sizes were made for women with toothpick legs. So here was Poppy Barley that allowed me to order the boot I wanted without compromise. That’s massive!
So the hardest part of this whole process was anticipation. Each Poppy Barley shoe is made to order in Mexico and takes about 4 to 8 weeks depending on the shoe type. I ordered on November 15, 2014 and the boots shipped out on January 21, 2015. I was on vacation in Whistler when they arrived. It was one of the only reasons, I was happy to return to flatland. For those of you that don’t want to wait 8 weeks for shoes, Poppy Barley had a ready to wear line also in standard sizes that you can order from. I’d suggest you go for the custom though.
Unboxing was delightful. The boots were exactly like the samples I saw. I had no surprises in terms of quality. Of course, the fit was like nothing I’ve experienced before. The length and width was perfect when wearing tights or socks while the calf size was spot on. The only part of the boot that required some breaking in was the zipper side of the ankle and that only took a couple wears. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t need to add grips to the bottom of my boots. I took the Foxhunt boots into the tundra like conditions Toronto seems to be serving up these days and I didn’t slip and slide all over the place. I can truly say they are the best pair of boots I’ve ever owned.
Also included in my boot purchase was an Organic Collonil Leather Care Kit which came with Organic Bamboo Lotion, Organic Protect and Care, Combi Brush and a polishing cloth. I had no idea there was organic leather care products out there. I immediately put the Organic Protect and Care on my boots. It was nice to be able to use the product indoors and it didn’t have the harsh chemical smell that other products have. I haven’t used the Organic Bamboo Lotion yet but have successfully used Boot Rescue wipes to get rid of salt stains.
So, I hope I’ve convinced you to give Poppy Barley a chance. This company is a godsend if you have a hard to fit feet or you just want the experience of custom footwear without going the whole bespoke route. I’m a convert and plan to get myself a pair of Promenade or Highline boots in the near future. I even have a great customer service story to pass on to you guys. I mentioned how much I love the zipper pulls. Well, I broke one and I was fucking devastated. I was put in touch with Customer Service and I sent a few photos of the broken zipper. Thankfully, it was only the pull that was broken and Poppy Barley put a couple zipper pulls in the mail and even told me that they would reimburse me for the cost of getting my Cobbler to put them on. That there is some damn good service!
My down parka boycott began last year. I was sick of wearing the damn things and longed for the days when the wool peacoat ruled. (Does anyone remember that?) I have nostalgia for the stylish look of a wool coat but I really didn’t miss the unfortunate side effect of freezing my ass off in extreme cold weather. How was I going to get the best of both worlds?
Last year, I started to wear a down vest from Danier Leather underneath my Philip Sparks pimp coat. This combo did a great job of keeping me out of my down parkas on some really horrible days. It was a good solution but not perfect. The down vest was the purple and really didn’t match the coat. Then spring came and I put all thoughts of winter coats and optimal layering solutions to bed.
During the summer, I received an email from Marissa Freed. She’s the President of Freed and Freed International, an outerwear company based in Winnipeg. The company is 95 years old and you can read about their rich heritage here. She was designing a new line of winter coats for Fall Winter 2014 and wanted to send me a sample of the line to put through its paces this winter. This email came in June and let me tell you I was in full on “LA LA LA LA, it’s not winter yetâ€ mindset. However, she already had buy in from Holt Renfrew and Pink Tartan so I thought something must be going on here and I should check it out. I was totally expecting more of the same down parkas that I can’t stand but it was like Marissa knew what I was thinking. The PDF line sheet for the Freed line was full of these wonderful tweet coats in various silhouettes. Holy Shit, I thought to myself, Marissa is the bomb.
What was Marissa’s brilliant design idea? English Tweed that is treated to be wind and water resistant paired with a removable down vest! 100% English tweet is bonded with a Dintex membrane and a thin fleece lining. Dintex is a Thermoplastic Polyurethane member which is waterproof and wind resistant. Wind and water are killers in winter and one of the major failings of your typical wool coat. The vest is 90/10 fill of down and feathers. It also has snaps which make it easy to remove and secure the vest in the coat. Luxury details like leather buttons, leather elbow patches and a removable fur lined hood round out the coat. The FREED line was everything that I was looking for in a winter coat. I felt like Indiana Jones reaching for that wooden cup, this was my holy grail. And to make things even better, everything is made in Canada. I can’t believe I’m excited for winter in June!
I decided on the Montrealer in grey. It took me a very long time to decide because all the coats are so beautiful. Thankfully, a media preview in August gave me a chance to see the coats in person and try them all on. I was pretty blown away by the photos of the collection but they didn’t do the collection justice. The fabrics were just gorgeous and all the coats looked great on. Again, here I was a staunch summer baby excited about winter in August. I was really impressed.
The Montrealer arrived just in the nick of time. A week later we went into deep freeze and I pulled that puppy out. My first forays in the coat were without the vest. It wasn’t too cold yet and I always wear warm sweaters. The wind resistance is immediately noticeable. One day I got stuck in the rain and I marveled at the water just beading off the tweed like it was Gore-Tex. A coat gets major bonus points from me if there is an inside pocket and of course Marissa thought of that. It fits my phone perfectly.
I have a saying that I’ve repeated a lot these days, “I need another one of these like I need a hole in the head”. Lately, its been applied to coats, sweaters and shoes. I said it to myself again once I spotted the Sully Wong x Amanda Lew Kee sneaker collaboration. I don’t need another pair of sneakers because my closet is full of them but the Sully Wong x Amanda Lew Kee Swalk Hi sneaker is one incredible shoe.
Amanda has incredible style so I had big hopes for the design when I heard about the collaboration initially. She has surpassed anything I could have imagined. The shoe is perfection, I cannot lie.
“The SWALK HI collaboration personifies all aspects, both in design and philosophy, which Sully Wong and I share as a team. The design itself is sleek, smart, and constructed with the finest attention to detail and luxury materials. Together we are aiming to give the women’s market a sophisticated limited edition option, in the realm of casual athletic footwear, focusing on quality over quantity,â€ states Amanda Lew Kee.
The shoe not only looks slick as all fuck but the attention to detail on the materials are great. It uses a premium raw-cut leather upper, silver stitch-tag detailing, Japanese leather lined denim interior and black waxed rope laces. The leather footpad is removable making this a great option for those that wear orthotics too.
I’ve been a fan of the brand since the beginning of this blog. It seems like it was only yesterday when I wrote my first of many posts on the brand. It was way back in November of 2005 and I have to thank Now Magazine for turning me on to Christie’s and Andrea’s beautiful designs. Man, looking at those early posts are painful 🙂
To celebrate 10 years, Smythe is hosting a Flashtagram Right Now! Upload a photo of yourself in your favourite Smythe Jacket to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #smythejackets #10X10 #flashtagram. The Smythe social media channels will be posting their favourite shots of their fans. You can follow the fun on Smythe’s Twitter and Instagram pages.
It was an absolute honour to be asked to take part in the Smythe flashtagram. So much so, that a meager selfie of the Reefer Coat wouldn’t do. I got into the studio to show off my favourite 10X10 collection piece.
The Reefer Coat is an absolute stunner. The colour is really vibrant and the gold button are perfect match. Functional pockets and button holes are important things in my life and Smythe never lets me down. Thank you so much Andrea and Christie for the jacket! I will love it and cherish it for the rest of my days.
Outfit Breakdown: Smythe Reefer Coat in Royal, Zara Dress, Manolo Blahnik Heels, Jenny Bird Earrings
eBay Canada contacted me this with a Style Challenge request. My mission, should I choose to accept, would be to style an office and nighttime look featuring the Bee Print Bustier by Jordan de Ruiter. A couple of weeks ago on twitter I mentioned how much I liked the Bee Print Bustier so I was happy to take on the challenge.
Let’s start with the office look. I pretty much did what I always do when I want to wear something inappropriate to the office, put a blazer on it. This look obviously wouldn’t fly in my financial district office place but many of you work in lest draconian dress code environments. I’m wearing my Junya Watanabe Commes des Garcons blazer (which I picked up at The Room for a steal), H&M high waisted pencil skirt and 3.1 Phillip Lim Chelsea boots. For the night look I ditched the blazer and swapped out the boots for gold sandals from Aldo Shoes. The night look is my World Pride 2014 look for Saturday’s parties!
The Bee Print Bustier is part of Boutiques on eBay which they setup to support Canadian Designers. For this exclusive collection they collaborated with Toronto based boutique Coal Miner’s Daughter. All pieces are under $90 with free shipping Canada Wide. Other designers in the collection are Jool Clothing, Jordan de Ruiter, Haller, Sara Duke, 3rd Floor Studio, and Norwegian Wood. The collection ends on June 30, 2014 so get your orders in ASAP.
I get a lot of t-shirt pitches. If you could see the face I make when I read them you can understand that I don’t pay them much attention. I’m a fashion blogger and I like clothing design. If you t-shirt is just showing off your graphic design skills on some American Apparel t-shirt I’m generally not impressed. I have a shit load of Threadless t-shirts, believe me, I’m over that phase in my life.
However, I’ve learned to never say never in life and last week a t-shirt pitch arrived in my inbox which I adore. Fairgood’s art director Shauna Luedtke came up with the Sorry t-shirt which puts a tongue in cheek look at one major Canadian stereotype, politeness.
Anyone that has lived in Canada for a long time falls into this trap. We say sorry all the damn time, even when we don’t have to. I do this regularly and I don’t even have an idea of where in my upbringing this politeness thing manifested itself.
The Sorry t-shirt was pitched to me as a Canada Day story. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around why some of these holiday pitches exist but I’m not going to complain now because it worked in my favour.
The Sorry t-shirt is printed on a red 100% cotton American Apparel t-shirt (buwahahahaaha, sorry, just recalling the first paragraph in this post) and costs $24USD. You can purchase the t-shirt on the Fairgoods website.
Fairgoods is based out of Calgary and sell “curated selection of accessories, housewares, apparel, and decor, as well as digital goods like type. Some of our products are things we’ve created with makers, some are things we’ve made ourselves, and some of them are existing products we love. (Source)â€
I never knew I wanted a linen jumpsuit in pale pink until I saw that Horses Atelier created one for Spring Summer 2014. Now, that’s a bit of a lie, I’ve always had an interest in jumpsuits. A military flight suit is on my military “I want” list and has been for a long time. I haven’t pursued acquiring a flight suit very actively. When I do come across them they are either too weird-looking like this Soviet MIG flight suit or they are just too big and beyond the magic of alterations. Then there are the colour options which don’t really leave much room for light-hearted fun.
Combinaison by Horses Atelier provides a great fitting silhouette that looks slim fitting and roomy at the same time. The cotton linen blend will make it cool for the summer even though you’re encased in fabric. It’s got pockets which are a must. I love that it can be dressed up with some heels and a great handbag or it can be completely casual with sneakers and a baseball cap. I’m honestly having thoughts of this jumpsuit paired with my Danielle Meder Doc Martens. It’s really bringing me full circle into this 90s rehash the fashion world is obsessed with right now.
Horses Atelier also makes the Combinaison in black if you are looking for something more stain resilient. The Combinaison by Horses Atelier is made in Toronto. You can buy it via the Horse Atelier online shop for $400. Proceeds from all online sales go to the Clean Clothes Campaign which strives to improve working conditions in the global garment industry.
The Smythe Spring Summer 2014 collection takes their classic tailoring and minimalism to new heights with suiting in liquid textures in Flouro and Petrol Shine. They recently expanded to trousers and this spring summer we will see skirts as the new must haves from Smythe.
As with every Smythe collection there are a lot of I want – I got approved pieces. I’m loving the Petro Shine suiting. Turn heads with the total suit or if that’s too much for you, just go with the pants. It might be a bit bright for most but I’d totally wear it to the office.
I was at an event late last year and saw the Foil Pant in person. They are so hot it’s not even funny and in the perfect silver shade.
The Flouro liquid texture suit is gorgeous too. It doesn’t have the leather vibe like the Petro Shine but it’s still gorgeous.
It’s not a Smythe collection without a military inspired jacket and Spring Watch Jacket is a great colour. The Smythe skirts are adorable. There is one that isn’t pictured because I didn’t like it that much but it’s more office friendly than the shorter ones that get the I want – I got stamp of approval.
The Harem Pants with the tassel are a must have in black and tangerine. I’m obsessed.
On my bucket list is a jacket with tails and this is the perfect cropped jacket with mini tails.
There are some great rainwear this season and I love this leopard print Lab Coat one. If you are looking for something more classic, check out the Khaki Walking coat.
I’ve notice that Bomber Jackets are going to be a big trend this spring summer. This classic black bomber has a twist, it’s quilted.
Smythe Spring Summer 2014 hits stores this month. You can find Smythe in the GTA at TNT Women, Holt Renfrew,Â Andrews Bayview Village,Â Grafic Woman and NYLA.
It’s that time of year again and I want – I got is putting together massive Gift Guides of things I think would be perfect to give as gifts this season. The fifth edition of the Gift Guides is the one we’ve been waiting for Fashion, Beauty and Jewellery. This is a big one and I could go on for days with selections.
It’s really unfortunate that I don’t own anything by Comrags yet (Note to self, remedy this in 2014). I love the Quartz Border Ed Tunic by Comrags for $335. It’s available online or at their Toronto location.
Philip Sparks’s Footwear is amazing. I love every style with the tall boots being my absolute favourite. They range in price from $350 to $495 and are available at the Ossington location or online.
I finally bought my first pair of Abel Munoz shoes this year. I love Harlow Gold and Black which retails for $495 and is available online. If you are in Toronto you can book and appointment and buy the shoes in person.
I’ve purchased sweatpants twice in my life since turning 20. They are just something I don’t wear outside the house. Sometimes, I do need something cute to wear when running to the corner store and the laundry room. I’d be totally happy to receive Green Camo Skinnies from Lazypants are perfect. I love camo print, they are slim fit and they aren’t the traditional grey colour. They retail for $118 and is available online or at TNT.
It’s not an I want – I got gift guide if I’m not telling you to get some Lancome mascara. The Holiday Makeup Collection by LancÃ´me contains:
– limited edition HypnÃ´se Star Ã‰tincelle for $33
– HypnÃ´se Velours Multi-Wear Eyeliner Patches for $28
This ultra-precious kit contains 3 pairs of eyeliner patches which can be reused up to 3 times, to enhance the shape of the eye and stretch out towards the outer corner for an incredible wide-eyed look.
– Vernis in Love nail polish in Ã‰tincelle d’Agent, Ã‰tincelle de Neige and Lovered for $16 each.
I’m in love with the nail polish this holiday Ã‰tincelle de Neige has a really beautiful effect. The holiday collection is available online or at your local Lancome Counter (try The Bay, Sephora or Holt Renfrew).
No words are needed to describe the beauty that is Dean Davidson’s Spectrum Collar for $425. Available online and there is a select of merchandise available at Holt Renfew. It comes in several options for stones (Black Onyx, Lapis, White Topaz) and metal (Rose, Silver, Gold).
Eyecatching statement jewellery is always a great gift and Shay Lowe’s Shay Lowe Jewellery Fall and Holiday Collection definitely fit the bill. I’m quite partial to the Glorious Emerald Statement Necklace which retails for $395 and is available for purchase online.
Jenny Bird is such a sweet person. I purchased some earrings from her and she gifted me the Long Horn Tusk Earrings which were inspired by the beauty of elephant tusks. They are amazing and come in a Gold version too. $55USD available online.
Marni Eau de Parfum is my favourite new perfume of the year. It’s exclusive to Holt Renfrew and retails for $125
I have a soft spot for JACOB. It was the shop that helped me transition from student to IT office worker. I didn’t have much use for business casual clothing in school while taking my B.Sc in Kinesiology and Diploma in Computer Programming and Analysis. So, when it came to real world dress codes, I had a lot to catch up on. JACOB was there as an affordable place to get nice pieces for my new environment, the office. Even after my tastes got more expensive, JACOB was always there as a place I went to for basics and cute dresses. There is a lot of choice for business casual clothing out there with all the new American shops in town but I always fall back on JACOB. It’s the Canadian in me. When JACOB approached me about showcasing an I want – I got approved look from their Holiday Collection and I said yes.
I had the Holiday Collection lookbook so I made some preliminary choices in my head before stepping into the Eaton Centre. In the end, I went for a dress and cardigan combo. It’s one of my staple looks for winter office dressing. I didn’t feel like going colour crazy so the look is all black everything. Let’s break it down.
1. JACOB Bustier dress with lace $139.90 – I fell in love with this dress immediately. It’s perfect for the office with the hint of lace in an office appropriate manner. I’m also in love with knife pleats, my favourite pleats of them all.
2. JACOB Black and Crystal Necklace $39.95 – The store manager helped me out with this necklace as I was trying to figure out something to add to the dress. I couldn’t find this one online, but it’s in store!
3. JACOB Cardigan with jewel buttons $47.92 – I have to thank the Store Manager again with this choice. After I picked up the necklace, I decided that I wanted a cardigan as a topper for the dress. The manager thought this cardigan would be great because it matches the necklace. I agreed.
4. Pattern Tights – These are from my closet and I can’t remember where I bought them. I thought they worked well with the lace as they were similar in pattern
5. 3.1 Phillip Lim Chelsea Boots – I was going to wear heels with this look but I thought it would be more appropriate with the shoes I’m currently obsessed with, the Chelsea Boot.
This post was sponsored by JACOB. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely our own.
Operanation might be over for the year but you can still support the Canadian Opera Company with a limited edition KAELEN X Sam Roberts Band Operanation Tee. The T-shirt incorporates elements of this years Operanation theme, Temptation. We may not have gotten the Kaelen x Amy Burstyn-Fritz treatment but the t-shirt is a more accessible way to get into Kaelen.
As a friend of Operanation, I was gifted a KAELEN X Sam Roberts Band Operanation Tee to wear. The first thing that struck me was the fit. It might just be me but when I put on a t-shirt with the perfect fit everything feels right in the world.
The next thing that hit me was the perfect branding. I hate logo shirts so it was really refreshing to have a t-shirt that managed to namedrop without it being overpowering to the design.
The third thing that stood out was the design itself (and that it extends to the back of the shirt). This is a t-shirt that looks like it wasn’t designed by committee. Many times fundraiser t-shirts are barren of creativity and people end up wearing them to bed or they go to Goodwill. This KAELEN X Sam Roberts Band Operanation tshirt is one that I wear outside the house with pride as my selfies attest.
There are only 50 of the KAELEN X Sam Roberts Band Operanation Tee available. They cost $100 and all proceeds go to COC Ensemble Studio. The tshirts can be found online at the COC’s Opera Shop and in-person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts at 145 Queen St. W.
Canadian online shopping is developing rapidly and I’m getting notified of new shops all the time. One of those shops is Pont Neuf Boutique. I was browsing the site and discovered this great leather blazer by Bano eeMee. The New York Blazer has a fitted, sever cut. I also love anything that can be worn a number of different ways.
Calgary based Bano eeMee was launched in 2011 by Creative Director Aleem Arif. Aleem works closely with artisans in his native Pakistan to produce the brand’s leather jackets. Canada isn’t totally left out and some pieces are produced in Calgary.
To celebrate Nuit Blanche, the Philip Sparks shop will be converted into a bespoke bow tie workshop on Saturday, October 5. Between 7 pm and midnight, Sparks and his studio team will be taking custom neckwear orders from shoppers and cutting, stitching and pressing them up on the spot.
“Our focus this season has been on highlighting that our menswear and womenswear is proudly made in Toronto,â€ says Sparks. “This event is an opportunity for customers to see local manufacturing in action and order a one-of-a-kind piece made just for them.â€
The installation will also mark the launch of a new, premium bespoke service available through the store. Unlike many other made-to-order offerings, Philip Sparks tailors collaborate with customers to develop coats, suits and shirting from scratch with personalized design and material sourcing and multiple fitting appointments.
Philip Sparks Bespoke Bow Tie Shop
Saturday, October 5, 7 pm to midnight
162 Ossington Avenue (side entrance off Foxley Street)
Statement earrings always catch my eye and I love these Blackhole Hoops by Beaufille (formerly Chloe commes Parris). These Canadian made earrings are available in oxidized silver and brass and cost $125. You can order them online from the Beaufille website.
The Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto is celebrating it’s first anniversary. Together with Sunny Fong of VAWK they unveiled new Lobby Lounge attire for the female staff that he designed.
“I wanted the design to truly reflect a hybrid of my brand and what I feel Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto represents. I was inspired by the art work in the lobby, the Ming vase tea library and the ornithological theme that is prevalent in the hotel and the Zhang Huan â€˜Rising’ sculpture,â€ said Fong of his inspiration. “When I met with Richard Cooke, we wanted something that seemed almost theatrical, so naturally I knew the silhouette had to be both sophisticated and sexy. I felt my desire to custom create a bold graphic print inspired by the Ming vase would absolutely make a dramatic statement.â€(source:Press Release)
The design is inspired by architecture and design of Asia. The dress is a take on the tradition gipao. The print reminds me of blue and white porcelain that began development in 14th century China.
I really like the design of the dresses and they fit perfectly with the Shangri-La aesthetic. Great job Sunny, I hope they let you redesign the men’s uniforms too.
A few weeks ago, I went to an event for Etsy Canada. We were introduced to some of Etsy’s biggest Canadian partners and talked about their Affiliate program. I received a personalized gift bag at the end of it. It was curated with me in mind and featured some designers the Etsy folks we up my alley. That’s how I discovered Lost Apostle.
Lost Apostle is based in Montreal and creates bronze and silver jewellery for the person who doesn’t want something dainty and feminine. We are talking animal skulls, anatomical hearts, flying picks, syringes, feathers and hand grenades.
If that isn’t enough, there are Lost Apostle Octopus earrings to match. I’m dying. Lost Apostle is pretty affordable also with prices starting around $30 and going up to $300. The Octopus necklaces range in prices from $42.24 to $58.08.
Sunny Fong of VAWK has teamed up with eBay Canada to launch a seven piece limited edition collection called Vawk for eBay on August 12, 2013. Everything will be priced under $120 and will be available at Buy It Now pricing until September 15, 2013. I got the scoop on inventory and it’s really limited, if you have some favourites you need to purchase on August 12th. An added bonus is that eBay is providing free shipping.
The Manta shift dress at $119 is a steal and my favourite piece of the collection.
There is something for the guys too with the Duo leather skinny tie at $69.
Toronto has a number of great jewellery designers and Dolorous is one of them. Danielle Singer, designer, uses brass chains and various vintage components to create her beautiful, minimalist designs. I’m really into her body jewellery right now.
Menat Broad Collar Body Chain is my favourite piece by Dolorous right now. It would make a great statement piece on a long gown for formal occasions. It also would be great more causally too. It’s $278.64 at here Etsy shop.
The Menat Broad Collar Body Chain, inspired by medieval accessories, is a modern style of body jewelry meant to be worn across the shoulders. This beautiful and flattering statement piece is made with two draping strands down the front and three across the back, connected at the shoulders with a section of ornate vintage copper chain from which several strands of brass chain are draped, creating a cap sleeve style look that allows the piece to balance comfortably across your shoulders.(source: Dolorous Etsy Page)
Crystal Lattice Body Necklace is another great piece that would make a great statement on a simple gown. It’s a cheaper option than the Menat Broad Collar Body Chain at $187.55.
The Crystal Lattice Body Chain is a versatile necklace featuring a large vintage chandelier crystal that is absolutely breathtaking in person.The vintage crystal at the center of the necklace is surrounded by layers of draped brass chain, interlaced with one another.
Its constructed to allow it to be worn either as a draped and layered necklace, or as a beautiful body chain with chain interlaced down and around the torso and creating beautiful back detailing.(source: Dolorous Etsy Page)
It’s National Denim Day on May 14, 2013 and Canadian denim giant, Bluenotes is continuing it’s participation in the event. Bluenotes will donate $1 for every denim purchase across the country during the week of May 14, 2013
Leading Canadian denim philanthropists Bluenotes will donate a portion of proceeds from each denim purchase nationwide from May 13 to May 19, 2013 in partnership with National Denim Day to the fight against breast cancer. Benefitting the CURE Foundation, the fundraiser advocates education and awareness through wearing and purchasing jeans.
“Bluenotes’ goal is to bring attention to today’s youth about social and charitable issues through fashion,â€ says Royal Nasager, Director of Marketing at Bluenotes. “We want to foster tomorrow’s concerned, caring and informed citizens. Our work with National Denim Day is a natural fit.â€
Royal Nasager from Bluenotes invited me to the Eaton Centre store to talk about Denim Day and reintroduce me to the brand. I haven’t purchased anything from Bluenotes in probably 15 years and I can’t remember that last time I even walked through the store. The invite intrigued me for two reasons. First reason was the name Royal. It seems shallow but I opened the envelope, looked at the invite, scratched my head and thought “This dude’s name is Royal. This is blowing my mind. I must meet him just to satisfy my catlike curiosity.” The second reason had curiosity at its core too. I’m curious about Bluenote’s business. They are one part of the massive Toronto based apparel manufacturer, YM Inc.. Bluenotes alone has 120 stores across the country and they’ve been around since 1984. Bluenotes operated under the name Thriftys until 2004. I’m a child of the 70s that grew up in Richmond Hill, prime target for the Thriftys brand. My curiosity about Royal was satiated. He’s a very lovely man. He talked to me about National Denim Day and the company’s history of charity work. I didn’t ask many questions about company operations, there wasn’t much time as I was on lunch.
Royal asked me the dreaded question, “So, when is the last time you walked into a Bluenotes store.” I answered it truthfully which was I couldn’t remember. Royal gave me a $100 gift card and said let’s get reintroduced. He also walked me through the many, many styles of denim available. Every style you can think represented in a number of washes. Bluenotes is taking advantage of the printed and colourful denim trend with a range of colours and prints available. (We stuck to the Women’s side, sorry Guys). Denim at Bluenotes retails for $20 – $39.50 making it very affordable for their 14 – 24 demographic.
I ended up with two pairs of jeans from their curvy line, a sleeveless button up shirt and a cropped denim jacket. I liked a lot of other printed and coloured skinny styles but they aren’t really made to fit my thighs and butt. The denim jacket is my favourite piece. I needed a cropped jacket as I lost my favourite one a few years ago. The idea of getting a denim jacket again was bopping around in my head so it worked out perfect. I haven’t worn anything but the jacket as of yet. I wore it to the Right to Play Gala last Friday.
Bluenotes aren’t going to replace my Hudson’s anytime soon. They are my go to denim and the brand I tend to wear the most often. I like my denim fabric to have a heavier weight than Bluenotes. I’m a bit of a snob about denim manufactured in the States too. I hope YM Inc.is one of the companies getting involved in the Bangladesh Factory Safety Pact.
I’m a big fan of the Aldo Rise collections and I’m a huge fan of Preen. So when these two get together, I get a little giddy. For Spring Summer 2013 Preen and Aldo released three styles of shoes with two different colourways per style. I’ve already picked up the Musilova style which has a pointy toe, asymmetrical vamp and ankle strap. It’s in a bone colour and the leather has some texture to it. I’m also a big fan of the Preen x Aldo Rise Buito Sandal. It wasn’t available when I purchased the Musilova thankfully because I would have walked out the door with both.
All the styles from the Aldo Rise x Preen collection are $155 and can be found online at aldoshoes.com or in select Aldo Stores like Eaton Centre.
So, this is the second post in my I want – I got Editorials group. I was blogging for the award-winning MasterCard Stylicity project this season and I organized three editorial shoots for the stores Philip Sparks, Nomad and Spectacle. The shots turned out really well so I’ve decided to showcase some of them here too. This is Nomad.
I really wanted to do the modelling for Nomad myself. However, I felt there were a couple of problems with that. One would be sizing. The other problem was audience. Nomad is a menswear shop and I need to speak to their main customers who are men. So my photographer Dave Yan and I convinced my tall and lean brother to model. He was great!
Nomad is an amazing shop and their sales associates are some of the incredibly helpful and down to earth. I even saw a couple of things that would fit me in the store. I’m going to have to go shopping.
Curtis makes everything look amazing. Thanks dear brother for your hard work and thanks to the guys at Nomad for styling everything up. You can check out all the shots from this editorial in the gallery below.