Retail Therapy

Lucian Matis Home Sets Up Shop at Shops at Don Mills for the Holidays

We’re all about the fashion here at The Backseat Stylers, but this week we’ve got home décor on the brain, thanks to a new venture by one of our favourite Canadian designers. Lucian Matis, purveyor of exquisite couture pieces and Project Runway Canada alumnus, recently launched a home décor line, aptly dubbed Lucian Matis Home. It’s got everything you would expect from a collection by the celebrated Romania-born, Toronto-based designer: an ultra-chic aesthetic, luxurious materials, and fine craftsmanship. And the very best part? It’s currently on sale, up to 50% off, at the Lucian Matis Home pop-up store at Shops at Don Mills in Toronto.

In other words, run – don’t walk – to the Shops to get your hands on a gorgeous array of decorative pillows, rugs, throws, bedding and more for your own home and for gift giving. We certainly did this week when we heard word of the pop-up, and our wish list was long: a few of those uber-cool leather pillows, a cowhide storage set, a luxe quilt, and some festive holiday throw pillows. Not to mention the womenswear runway samples also available for sale at up to 80% off.

Our shopping list only got longer when we had a chance to chat with the designer himself:

BSS: What inspired you to start a home décor line?

LM: It’s just a natural progression from fashion to home décor. I felt like I was narrowing down my clientele to just the womenswear target market, (whereas) a guy can buy a candle or a throw or some cushions. It’s all about expanding the market and expanding the categories that (I’m) working in. Home décor is something that I never knew I loved so much until I started doing it.

BSS: Did you find it challenging to infuse the Lucian Matis aesthetic into home décor?

LM: We were (striving for) a happy medium between a contemporary home décor line and the Lucian Matis brand. What we found was most feasible was more of an industrial feel to the collection. Lucian Matis fashion uses a lot of raw materials and natural fibres, like the embossed leathers and feathers, and we were trying to incorporate that as much as possible into the home collection.

BSS: Which pieces from the Home collection are you particularly fond of?

LM: A few of the pieces I’m actually going to have in my own home because I love them a lot. One of them is the collection of cowhide decorative pillows. There’s also a faux-fur pillow that I absolutely love; it feels so real and it’s so nice and comfy on your couch. And I’m going to buy some poufs – those are for sure going to come to my home as well.

BSS: Why did you choose to host your pop-up store at Shops at Don Mills?

LM: It’s so elegant. I love the whole concept of walking around (outside), it’s a very L.A. concept. I love the fact that there’s free parking and it’s very accessible. It’s a very beautiful mall. Classy, I would say.

The clientele at Shops at Don Mills has a lot of knowledge about fashion and about home décor. The reaction to the collection has been very positive. They really love the design aesthetic, the quality of the product, and the value (they’re getting). And especially now having such amazing deals for the holiday season, they just cannot believe the prices.

BSS: What’s next for Lucian Matis?

LM: I’m thinking probably accessories. I used to be an accessories buyer, so that’s something I really love doing. Handbags, jewelry, belts, all kinds of accessories. I get a lot of feedback from my clients, so I know exactly what they’re looking for – there are certain items that my clients just cannot find in the market. With their help, I understand a bit better what the need is.

You heard it hear first, accessories by Lucian Matis are on their way next! In the meantime, be sure to pay the Lucian Matis Home pop-up shop at 23 Karl Fraser Road a visit before January 5, 2014, and tweet with the hashtag #shopsatdonmills to let us know what swanky new items you snagged for your home. For more information about the pop-up, including hours of operation, click on over to the Shops at Don Mills website and check out the gallery below for a peek at the very covetable offerings. Happy shopping!

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Runways and Showrooms

Toronto Fashion Week: Lucian Matis Fall 2013

Never mind the front row – backstage is where it’s at when it comes to fashion shows. I love watching as garments hanging on a rack come together as complete, fabulous looks on the models through a hurricane of activity by the designer, stylist, dressers and hair and make-up professionals. It’s a fascinating process infused with excitement and nervous energy, and I thoroughly enjoy my moments backstage as a fly on the wall. In fact, I got so caught up in it all at Lucian Matis‘ Fall 2013 presentation that I never made it to my seat, and I didn’t mind it one bit.

From the shards of glass on his one-of-a-kind dress made from Baileys bottles to the gorgeous nail art by Tips Nail Bar and the incredibly chic line-up of separates, dresses and outerwear in between, it was a pleasure seeing the collection so up close and personal. With black, ivory and grey for his colour palette, Matis’ latest efforts showed a side of his creative talent we haven’t seen before.

Minimalism wasn’t expected from the designer who’s made a name for himself through heavy-handed use of embellishments, bright colours and loud prints – to great success, I might add. And yet, the voluminous silhouettes and impeccable design details still felt distinctly Lucian Matis, making for one of my favourite of his collections to date. Not a look passed me by on its way to the runway that didn’t make me swoon.

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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Our 10 Favourite Looks of 2012!

Krystal Koo and Suzanne Rogers at Rodarte event at The Room at The Bay

Some of my nerdiest (and more awkward) moments as a fashion blogger are those times when I’m full out freaking out about someone else’s outfit, oftentimes a chic stranger. “It’s that Mary Katrantzou dress!”, I’ll hiss to T, to the Mister (who could care less), or to no one in particular. I’ll then do that little jig where I’m pretending to be engrossed in the hors d’oeuvres spread or silent auction offerings but am really tracking said person’s movements, waiting for that opening in between bites of food or inside jokes to go in for the shot.

I always try to be polite to the individuals in the incredible ensembles, and respectful of other photographers and bloggers also trying to get the shot. Over the last 3+ years, I’ve been turned away by a would-be street style subject exactly once. Other times, I would have preferred a refusal over the scowl I saw through my camera lens; although, to be fair, this is also a rare occurrence. Most everyone I ask for a photo responds kindly and generously.

There was that time one bold face name vouched for me to another bold face name: “It’s OK – she’s cool.” The Toronto socialite stamp of approval! I was, quite honestly, delighted to be considered safe to pose for by the city’s social set. There was also that time one of Toronto’s most prolific event photographers waited very patiently for several minutes as I tried desperately to get my camera to co-operate and snap his picture. His empathy and assurance that this sort of thing happens to him too made the incident just a little less humiliating for me.

To Suzanne, Krystal, Liz, Faith, Monica, Amy, Glenna, Megan, Alesia, Ainsley, and everyone else who indulged me and my camera this year, thank you from the bottom of my fashion-obsessed heart. I can’t wait to do it all over again in 2013!

Liz Cabral at Power Ball

Monica Mei at Operanation

Alesia at Prom at the ROM

Megan Loach at Prom at the ROM

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Spotted from the Backseat: P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards 2012 Edition

Yours truly with presenters Glen Baxter and Hans Koechling and host Rob Lowe

On November 19, the 2012 edition of the P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards were held at The Carlu in Toronto. Hosted by the extremely handsome actor and Brat Pack member Rob Lowe, the Awards brought together the biggest names in the Canadian beauty, grooming and fashion industries to honour the year’s best print and online content in 19 categories.

Stacey McKenzie and Jully Black

Assisting Lowe (who was kissed on by all the ladies who graced the stage and was a good sport about it) in presenting the Tiffany & Co. crystal trophies were familiar faces like the iconic Jeanne Beker, Greta Constantine-clad singer Jully Black, supermodel Stacey McKenzie and boxer Mary Spencer.

And the winners are…

1. Best Art Direction: Tanya Watt, FLARE
2. Best New Face: Jenna Earle, Next Models
3. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper – Trend/Profile (English): Adriana Ermter; FLARE, Back by Popular Demand
4. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper – Trend/Profile (French): Sophie St-Laurent; Châtelaine, BB La crème a tout faire
5. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper – Scientific/Technical (English): Michelle Villett; FLARE, Best Beauty Innovations of 2011
6. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper – Scientific/Technical (French): Micheline Lortie; Châtelaine, La nature en pot
7. Best Beauty Editor of a Magazine: Lesa Hannah; FASHION Magazine
8. Best Male Grooming Feature: Greg Hudson; Sharp Magazine, The Sharp Guide to Grooming: Stepping it Up
9. Hair Stylist of the Year: Justin German
10. Best Fashion Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper (English): Sarah Nicole Prickett; FASHION Magazine, Bro Code
11. Best Fashion Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper (French): Elsa Vecchi; Dress to Kill, Spécial Design: Rad Hourani
12. Best Fashion Editor of a Magazine: George Antonopoulos, FASHION Magazine
13. Best Male Fashion Feature: Yang Goh; Sharp Magazine, Style Manual
14. Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (English): Sharon Ng Hayes; The Backseat Stylers
15. Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (French): Anik Lacasse-Richard; Montreal in Style
16. Best Beauty or Fashion Website: Randi Bergman,
17. Photographer of the Year: Malina Corpadean
18. Make-up Artist of the Year: Nicolas Blanchet
19. Best Magazine Cover: Dress to Kill, Stéphane Le Duc, Winter 2011

With Kimberly Lyn in Arthur Mendonça (left) and Nelia Belkova in Lanvin x H&M (right)

You may have noticed a familiar name in there for winner of the Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (English) category: The Backseat Stylers. WOOHOO! What an incredible honour it was for us to be named finalists alongside our blogger friends Nelia Belkova of Style Blog and Lolitta Dandoy of Fashion Is Everywhere, but to win?

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Runways and Showrooms

Toronto Fashion Week: Lucian Matis Spring 2013

Lucian Matis is the only show I care to see,” a certain blogger declared to me last week, immediately after the runway presentation for his eponymous line. My own list of must-see shows may be a bit longer than that, but I could certainly understand why she would feel so strongly about Matis’ work. Season after season, his collections never fail to surprise and delight. In fact, as a sometimes society photographer, one of my greatest pleasures is spotting an unmistakable Matis creation from across the room. So what might my camera capture next spring?

What Matis sent down the Toronto Fashion Week runway last week was to die for, to say the least. Known to be heavy-handed with the embellishments, there was surprisingly no sequin, bead, or flower petal in sight. And yet the designs were undeniably Lucian Matis in their dramatic flair, played out in voluminous peplums rather than feathers, and beautiful mosaic prints instead of paillettes. Sans the delightful overabundance of embellishments typically found in a Matis collection, the designer’s Spring 2013 wares were no less covetable than usual.

Standout looks featured eye-catching peplum dresses in croc-embossed fabrics, one in light, airy silk and the other in dark, heavy leather. I have no doubt I’ll be seeing both of these gorgeous creations on a red carpet in the coming months.

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Spotted from the Backseat: Operanation 2012 Edition

On October 18, the Canadian Opera Company held Operanation 9: Sweet Revenge, the 2012 edition of its annual fundraiser in support of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, its training program for young opera professionals. Operanation 8 was a fabulous fusion of music and fashion, and this year’s event was no less so. Toronto’s social set flocked to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for an evening featuring performances by none other than Canadian songbird Nelly Furtado and the 2012 Juno winner for Group of the Year the Arkells.

Vibrant prints weren’t on the dress code, but it sure looked as though it was: Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz donned a beautiful Erdem gown, FASHION Magazine‘s Paige Dzenis chose an eye-catching abstract-print frock for the occasion, and Monica Mei sported a gorgeous floral-print and sheer number of her own design. Black and white was a favourite among the chic guests as well, with Rac Boutique’s Faith Orfus balancing an uncharacteristically girly lace dress with Balenciaga boots, jewelry designer Jenny Bird stepping out in a frilly lace top and suspendered pants, and actress Gabrielle Miller looking downright stunning in a design by Lucian Matis.

Operanation 9 was both a feast for the eyes and the ears. How will the COC top it next year? I can’t wait to find out.

Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz and Rac Boutique’s Faith Orfus

AIME designer Monica Mei

Jewelry designer Jenny Bird and guest

FASHION Magazine’s Paige Dzenis

Actress Gabrielle Miller

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Lucian Matis Fall/Winter 2012 Ad Campaign

I haven’t posted an ad campaign in a long time, but the images in Lucian Matis‘ Fall 2012 campaign featuring model Leigh Hoby and photographed by Greg Swales are too breathtaking not to share.

The runway show back in March completely blew me away, and these shots have me in awe all over again. Stunning designs and a gorgeous campaign to match. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see some of these pieces on the upcoming TIFF red carpets.

xx, S

Image Credits: Greg Swales

Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: Much Music Video Awards 2012 Edition

Katy Perry in VAWK

Tonight’s Much Music Video Awards red carpet brought a few pleasant surprises in the form of black, black and more black. I shrieked aloud when I spotted Katy Perry in a stunning gown from VAWK‘s Resort 2012 collection, and then again when I recognized Nelly Furtado‘s to-die-for dress from Lucian MatisFall 2012 runway show. What a great night for Canadian fashion! Rounding out our best dressed list is Carly Rae Jepsen, who donned a sexy double-slit dress and Dannijo statement necklace.

Did you watch the MMVAs? Who else has “Call Me Maybe” stuck in their head for the 17th day in a row?

Nelly Furtado in Lucian Matis

Carly Rae Jepsen

xx, S

Images via Just Jared, Bell Media

Street Style

Stylin’ from the Backseat: That Jacket

There are jackets, and then there are jackets. My Lucian Matis sample sale find most definitely falls into the latter category. It’s perfectly over-embellished, in that Lucian Matis way, and by far one of the most mind-blowingly beautiful pieces in my closet. I could stare at it for hours, live in it for ever. It’s that kind of jacket.

I wore it, quite befittingly, to Matis’ breathtaking Fall 2012 runway show during Toronto Fashion Week. One thing was clear as I left the show sporting my very first ever Lucian Matis acquisition: I’m going to be needing a whole lot more.

Lucian Matis blazer / Burberry shirt / Elise Overland pants / Brian Atwood boots / Céline bag / YSL ring / MAKE UP FOR EVER make-up

xx, S

Runways and Showrooms

Toronto Fashion Week: Lucian Matis Fall 2012

World Mastercard Fashion Week, Toronto’s official fashion week, officially kicked off on Monday, March 11 with none other than Lucian Matis, the Project Runway Canada alumnus turned couturier, almost. ” I wouldn’t call myself a couturier because I’m not, but it’s all hand done, it’s very organic, it’s very labour intensive,” said the designer of the latest collection for his eponymous line.

Presented in the grand setting of the Fairmont Royal York’s ballroom, Matis’ breathtaking Fall 2012 collection – couture or not – set the bar impossibly high for the rest of the week. As with every Lucian Matis collection to date, there was high drama. The regal backdrop was the perfect stage for the stunning stream of models that glided past in black lace and feather-embellished gowns, styled impeccably from their braids to their intricate nail art to their shoes.

Each gown was more stunning than the last, and drew me further and further into the deliciously dark fantasy world that Matis had created. When the last model turned the corner out of sight, there wasn’t a woman in that room, I’m certain, who wasn’t daydreaming about donning one of those gorgeous dresses for a glamourous night on the town. In fact, I must confess that I’m still in that wonderful dream.

xx, S

Image Credits: Featured photos by The Backseat Stylers, all others by Jenna Marie Wakani

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