My Luxury Rebel booties were the talk of the water cooler yesterday at the office.Â Many conversations I had revolved around the shoes in various places like the kitchenette while I was making my morning Mate Chino from Tea Emporium or washing my hands in the bathroom.Â I found it amusing as this wasn’t the first time I wore them to work. Maybe it was all the flat boots I wore last week and people got used to my real height. I tend to fluctuate in the height department due to my love of platforms and heels.
When I was younger, I wanted to be tall. 6 feet was my ideal, although I would have accepted anything 5’9″ and up without complaints. I was a dedicated athlete back then and I had all kinds of plans on how the extra inches could help my game. Alas, my brother got the height in the family, he’s 6’3″. Me, I’m a measly 5’5″.Â I shouldn’t complain, I’m still taller than average.
I originally wanted these Luxury Rebel boots, but they didn’t have my size. So in consolation the booties were presented to me instead. There is a covered platform in the shoe so the stiletto looks insane.Â The platform is about half an inch.Â They aren’t the highest shoes in the my closet, they just look the part.Â I like the square toe because it gives the shoe a clunky feel.Â I get a little futurism vibe from the shoe also.
My coworkers haven’t seen even a quarter of my shoe closet.Â I can’t wait for more reactions when I dig the rest of them out.
Some of the best part of writing this blog is meeting amazing designers in this city. One night I was out with friends I was introduced to Tarek Al-azbat. He is a Toronto handbag designer. His focus has been producing handbags for other designers. One of his former clients is Alexander Wang. He has been in the business for 14 years and now he is looking to bring more attention to his own handbag line called Nella Bella.
Nella Bella is here to give you another fashionable outlet for vegan handbags. I asked Tarek, why vegan? In addition to the environmental benefits he explained that using PU leather allowed for different fabrications that just aren’t possible with leather. He showed me a black bag with a chevron pattern that is possible with PU but not real leather. Tarek showed me a few different designs. I was impressed with fashion forward styles and you can tell design is just as important as vegan materials. I even got a croc stamped tote to give a test drive. I’m enjoying it very much and it becoming part of my regular rotation. Nella Bella isn’t just for women and there is a selection of handbags for men too.
H&M and Sonia Rykiel president and artistic director Nathalie Rykiel are proud to announce that Sonia Rykiel will be the next guest designer for winter 2009 and spring 2010. The French house founded by the “Queen of Knitsâ€ represents the distinctive, modern and impertinent spirit of Paris. This marks the first time that H&M has extended its designer collaboration to the world of lingerie and related accessories for women, with exclusive pieces to be launched in-store on December 5, 2009. The collection will be launched in 1,500 H&M stores worldwide and at the same time, Sonia Rykiel will make this lingerie collection available in Sonia Rykiel’s major boutiques around the world â€“ another first for H&M.
Ever fans of surprises, H&M and Sonia Rykiel are pleased to announce a second collaboration for spring 2010, featuring an iconic knitwear collection for women and girls (1.5 to 8 years old) accompanied by playful accessories. This second collection will be launched in around 250 H&M stores on February 20, 2010. (source: H&M Press Release)
image: Sonia Rykiel Spring 2009 Ad Campaign from thefashionspot.com
Suzi Roher Belts is a Toronto based Belt manufacturer. Suzi Roher is the accessory designer behind her namesake company. For 24 years she has been creating luxury belts out of her Toronto studio. She created belts for all occasions and styles. These are the ones I like the best.
I attended the FASHION Magazine’s Men’s Fall Style Special Event last week. I brought The Grumpy Owl with me since he sometimes concerns himself with fashionable things.
The party was to celebrate the launch of the FASHION Magazine’s Men’s Fall Style Special supplement. It’s a magazine created by the Fashion Magazine team dedicated to men’s fashion. There were cigars and a small cigar lounge setup outside. The Grumpy Owl bought a nice cigar and enjoyed it on the patio.
There were canapes and drinks at the party but we were also treated to a Hugo Boss Fall 2009 fashion show.
The Men’s Fashion Fall 2009 supplement is pretty good. I love the product offering and the way they are displayed. There is also a long article demystifying men’s grooming by Andrew Sardone. I LOVE the men’s editorial though. Here are two images to get your hungry to find it.
When I heard ChloÃ« Sevigny for Opening Ceremony would be a unisex collection I had my doubts. Early photos didn’t turn my crank at all either. However, I’m a sucker for a great pair of pants and ChloÃ« Sevigny for Opening Ceremony delivers for men and women. I also enjoy how they use the male and female together.
I don’t like it when things are named after celebs but I’ll over look that for this boot and the fact that Rihanna is from Barbados. My parents are originally from Barbados and the island is beautiful.
I first heard of The Mi Concept through a friend. He was insisting I visit and he was going to arrange everything. My friend has just taken a position in the company and was very excited about it. I probed for more information and learned that the Mi Concept is luxury sportswear with a twist, customization. Each piece is made to order based on your measurements.
I was intrigued and I immediately googled the Mi Concept when I got home. The main storefront is in San Francisco, there was no mention of a Toronto location (That has changed and the website has been updated). The about page didn’t provide any information on who was behind the label but did explain the concept behind the venture.
Mi is a new concept in retail-design project, creative collaboration, clothing collection, art space, atelier.
Mi, a collective, creates a collection of discreet luxury-evolved interpretations of classic pieces, making them modern with elegant distortions in shape and design. Almost a severe sensibility.
A made to measure atelier service complements the ready-to-wear clothing line which offers each client a way to build a wardrobe that is customized to their unique look and lifestyle.
Mi is defined as an essence-what we fundamentally are, our essential self.
Mi will always be a work in progress.
The clothing, both men’s and women’s were delicious. I laughed like a child and immediately send a message to my friend fawning over everything. “I told you it was coolâ€, he scolded, “You should never doubt me againâ€. After some back and forth he arranged for a time for me to visit the Toronto studio and meet Dean Hutchinson, the man behind the show. The studio is in the heart of the fashion district, just a stone’s throw away from the giant thimble and button at Spadina and Richmond. I love walking into studios; it’s like peeking into a designer’s brain. They all have some things in common: paper patterns hanging on clothing racks, rolls and rolls of fabric stashed under tables, clothing samples and inspiration boards. The Toronto location also is the production center. White curtains separate the showroom space from the studio. Racks of men’s and women’s samples stand waiting to be browsed. A lone judy stands alone wearing a bodysuit and leather jacket.
I didn’t even get a chance to look over the racks before a beautiful structured jacket was handed to me. “You have to try this on, it’s amazingâ€, my friend cooed. He was right. At that moment Dean walked in and we were introduced. “Wow, this jacket looks great on youâ€, he said, “Check this outâ€. Dean comes over to me and grabs at both sides of the jacket’s collar and pulls it up onto my head. “Oh my godâ€, I exclaimed, “It has a freaking HOODâ€. I was in heaven right there and then. That’s when the photos started with Dean behind the lens of my point and shoot.
I was like a kid in a candy store, trying on everything I could get my hands on. I was pretty much taken with ever piece from the buttery soft leather jackets to the silk jersey sleeveless hoodie. I kept thinking of the lucky custom clients and the possibilities that await them with Dean’s patterns and their imaginations. His take on the traditional incorporates small design details that make the garment more modern. Trench coats have multiple collars or strategically placed ties. Zippers turn a large piece of suede with one armhole into a cape. Many of the garments have a convertible nature to them and I love that kind of thing.
Some of my favourite pieces are:
The high collared tunic. The collar is to die for and very Elizabethan. There is enough volume at the hips to make it interesting. It would make a great dress also.
The sleek leather jacket. The leather was buttery soft and had zipper details on the arms.
The sci fi coat. I’m all about futurist clothing so it was only natural that I loved this coat. The surprise with the hood just made me giddy. Look at that profile!
The silk jersey sleeveless hoodie. It’s s basic piece with a luxury feel. The fabric is so beautiful, great weight and feel.
The convertible scarf coat. It can be worn many ways but when it’s wrapped the details are gorgeous.
The Mi Concept offers a full range of clothing items for both men and women. I didn’t focus on the men’s stuff at all because I was too busy trying things on. The men’s line included jackets in leather and wool; cardigans and shirts in cashmere and denim. Like the women’s line, there are design details that serve both form and function.
After the excitement of playing dress up I get to sit down with Dean and learn more about how he started. He is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan in Fine Arts. After graduation he moved to L.A and spent a few years in the early 80s there. In 1985 he returned to Canada and set up shop in Toronto. His company supplied everything from small boutiques to high end department stores. In 1992 the opportunity presented itself for a store front in San Francisco Dean took the leap. The business also changed from a wholesaling shop to retail production. Now in 2009 it’s sort of a homecoming for Dean. Even though Toronto has been production central for the Mi Concept we’ll now get the retail experience too.
471 Richmond Street West