Warm-weather makes me happy. Why? Shopping of course! Time to sport your favourite summer gear and maybe even buy yourself a little something special.
But what to get?
A new top or dress would probably suffice but what about a stylish tchotchke or beauty toy that’ll keep you smiling the whole summer? If you won’t let an hour go by without tweeting, live by your RSS feed, have more apps on your smartphone and tablet than even your most well-connected friend, it’s time to ditch the usual seasonal buys for a shiny new fashion-, beauty-, lifestyle-inspired trinket instead.
Here’s a round up of six perfect items (as low as $7!) to give your closet, vanity—even your kitchen—a geek-chic upgrade.
Canadian born, Paris-based designer Calla Haynes has been a fashion darling for a while now. She designs under her eponymous brand Calla, collaborates with brands like Samsung, April 77, Honest By, and 3 Suisses, designs textiles for many others, and continues to steal our hearts with her bodycon silhouettes and eye-catching digital prints.
She’s got that something: She experiments with androgynous codes, prints—she’s got cool couture down to a science.
Plus, her accolades speak for themselves: Haynes was a finalist for the prestigious ANDAM award, the highest award in France for young fashion designers. She nabbed that title in 2010, 2011, and 2012. No big deal. She was also a finalist for the Dorchester Fashion Prize in 2012. She’s been referred to by Style.com as the “Lindsey Wixson of up-and-coming designer brands: Cute as a button and sweet as pie, but check out that body.” Couldn’t agree more.
Naturally we’ve been counting the hours and days until her collaboration with another cute-as-ever French brand, Comptoir des Cotonniers. The two have come together to create a spring-y, floral-inspired, feminine collection of denim, T-shirts and tops with peplum finishes and dresses and separates priced from $95-$300.
Last Tuesday, Toronto fashion obsessors got a special retail treat: Max Mara’s Spring 2013 collection was unveiled at the brand’s 151 Bloor Street W. store by Harper’s Bazaar executive fashion and beauty editor, Avril Graham. Models wore the luxe Italian womenswear designer’s spring collection all done in rich corals, purples, pinks, neutrals and black-and-white. Graham talked trends (like Pantone’s colour of the year, emerald green) and dished on her amicable style run-ins with Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge and on-camera personality, Katie Couric and reviewed the just-off-the-runway trends for Fall 2013.
Sundays—for me—spell out shoe shopping. And that’s exactly what I did this past Sunday.
I’ve been on the hunt for a nice nude-beige-grey pair of shoe booties for a while. Every time I see a pair I like, I freeze and the world goes into slow motion. Here’s how it usually goes down:
I pick them up, I hold them tightly to me (hugging them) as I circle the rest of the store in search of a darker, less damageable doppelganger—something exactly the same, but black, or an almost-black hue. If I find no kin kickers, I give in to my light shoe lust: I try them on. I invariably love them. Then I take them off and stare at them. Then my feet, almost of their own free will, start moving in the direction of the cash register, but before I do that, I do something incredibly nonsensical.
After spending a minimum of 30 minutes fondling these light shoes, I put them back.
I PUT THEM BACK.
This in-store game of musical shoes is likely hilarious to an onlooking salesperson, I’m sure. The truth is, I never buy them! Why? Well, light-coloured shoes—especially suede ones—are hard to keep clean. The trendsetter in me wants these booties almost as much as I want a hot fudge sunday most of the time, but the Practical Patty in me thinks I should stick to a dark-coloured, wear-everyday-pair. Harumph. What to do?
Well, dear readers, this weekend I did the unthinkable—the almost undoable: I just bought them. They’re right here! Zara is having a mega sale of all mega sales and I snapped up these cute ones without thinking twice this time. They are soft suede, comfy and look great with army greens, browns, jewel tones, other neutrals and greys. A true steal at just $59. My nude booties have found a home at last. Now all I have to do is keep them away from the February slush and muck. I’ll be wearing these babies indoors for months to come.
Whether your latest tech obsession is a smartphone or tablet, fashionable cases for each are everywhere. And what are you doing on your well-dressed toy? Checking emails, searching the Internet, watching movies and of course, taking pictures. Rarely do I ever take my digital SLR with me to fashion events. Seasons ago it was me in the front and second row, snapping pictures with a proper, professional camera. This always led to me toting it around, or trying to stuff it in my already over-stuffed purse. Yet one more piece to my never-ending editor baggage trucked along from the office, to fashion previews to cocktail parties. Now, I rarely use my SLR (only for serious streetstyle or interior store shoots. Poor, lonely SLR.
I stumbled on Japan brand Gizmon which makes a case that takes the whole idea of your phone being your new camera to a literal level. I’m testing the The Gizmon iCA Military phone with a cool army-inspired look and all black exterior. At $33-$40 the sturdy polycarbonate case fits the iPhone 4 and 4S perfectly (sorry iPhone 5-ers!)
It’s a huge change from my dainty, girly Kate Spade case (which I still love).
This one has a whole new tough-girl vibe and a whole lot of tech-geek cred. I’ll be test driving this case for the next month or so to see if it stands up to the test (multiple drops) and sticks with me through some tough love.
Fashion darling and creative accessories designer Margherita Missoni touched down in Toronto last Thursday at Holt Renfrew’s Bloor street location for Missoni’s philathropic and fashionable initiative for the Holidays. The Italian brand partners with retailer Holt Renfrew to create limited-edition stuffed animals to benefit non-profit organization, Orphan Aid Africa, which aims to help orphans and disinfranchised children and youth and give them loving homes. Missoni sat and greeted customers, signing each of their cute little bears and elephants printed with Missoni’s signature zigs and zags hope to raise more than $100,000 for the cause. So open your heart and snatch up these adorable perfect-for-Holiday critters before they’re gone! At holtrenfrew.com
Despite being in one of the worst seats in the fashion house—the awkward corner where models turn and face their backs to you—this was one of my favourite shows.
Canadian golden boy Jeremy Laing is always a runway crowdpleaser and fashion’s most notable came to view the designer’s Spring 2013 collection: dark and moody palette of black, grey, cream, white and dusty rose. Laing’s presentation—which capped an exciting two-day fashion presentation at The ShOws held at Andrew Richard Design in Toronto—was a gorgeous, layered, utilitarian mash-up of jumpers, shortalls, maxi dresses. All of these practical silhouettes were crafted in light, flowy, shimmery-sheer fabrics like chiffon and silk with hits of embellishment on shoulder plates, bibs and with beaded tribal patterns on dresses.
Not only do we love Jean-Pierre Braganza’s name (“Brrrraganzaaaaa!”) we love the looks we saw during The Shows, a pre-Toronto Fashion Week runway presentation held at Andrew Richards Design’s venue space in Toronto. His pop-art inspired Spring 2013 collection featured strong-shouldered blazers with hits of teal, black, and cream with bold graphic prints.
After spending two years as a designer for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Elizabeth and James brand, Canadian-born Tanya Taylorbrings us easy, breezy 1960s-inspired A-line maxi dresses, and circle skirts with headscarves—the kind Rosie the Riveter would wear to Sunday brunch with the girls. She opened has the first of two during The Shows, a pre-Toronto Fashion Week runway presentation held at Andrew Richard Design’s venue space in Toronto.
Animal prints, skinny belts in bright colours, tops, separates that are perfect for work and play. Ann Taylor has finally opened in downtown Toronto and its fall cache is a thrilling sartorial mix of office and apres-five.
See below for some of my favorites (many of them spotty, you’ll notice!)