Retail Therapy

Holiday Gift Guide: 35 All-Canadian Items For The Fashion Lover In Your Life

Christmas is so close we can taste the turkey, but if you’re anything like us, you’ve barely made a dent in your holiday shopping. Three days is plenty of time, right? No need to panic (yet), because we’ve gone ahead and done you a solid: we’ve rounded up 35 of the very best made-in-Canada gift ideas for the fashion addicts in your life. Your mom/sister/friend/boss is guaranteed to love what you got them, and you’ll also have supported a local or national brand. It’s a win-win, really.

Take a gander at the gallery below for jewelry from the likes of Jenny Bird, Biko and Niki & Lola, handbags from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, ela and Mackage, accessories from Quill & Tine, Danier and ALDO, and much, much more. Good luck and happy shopping, fellow procrastinators! See you on the other side.


Spotted from the Backseat: DX Intersection 2012 Edition

Jenna Naumovich

On November 16, the Design Exchange held the inaugural DX INTERSECTION, a fundraising party in support of the Toronto design museum’s youth education and design preservation initiatives. Hundreds of attendees were treated to everything from a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind, customized IKEA items to a Food Dudes food truck serving breakfast (genius!), and much, much more. Every corner of the museum offered something new to see, do, eat. A contender for art party of the year? Most definitely.

Toronto’s fashion set, including blogger Anita Clarke, fashion director Liz Cabral (in that Margiela x H&M trompe l’oeil bra top!) and accessories designer Jenny Bird, showed up in full force to support the DX and have a little design fun. They had the opportunity to meet author and artist Douglas Coupland, winner of the DX’s very first Gamechanger award, DIY their very own fascinators at the FLARE x Milk Glass Co. booth (how fun is that?!), and stuff their faces at the late night food market (oh wait, that was me).

I sadly didn’t get a chance to check out all that the evening had to offer (in hindsight, maybe I should have spent less time munching on those to-die-for risotto balls), but I’ve certainly learned my lesson. Next year, I’m going to be the first in the door and the last one out. DX INTERSECTION just officially became one of my favourite fundraising parties of the year, and I don’t want to miss a second of the next one.

Kevin O’Neill and Liz Cabral

Anita Clarke

Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine

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Retail Therapy

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Oh Canada!

I prepare holiday gift guides in the same manner that I do my holiday shopping: last-minute. With only a week left to find the perfect presents for the fashion-minded folks in your life, and perhaps buy yourself a treat or two, we’ve rounded up our all-Canadian picks for this holiday season. Because we have a feeling we’re not the only procrastinators who’ll be scrambling for gifts this week!

Clockwise from left to right:

1. Ela Handbags M.I.L.C.K. clutch ($280) – With just enough room to fit the essentials (money, ID, lipstick, cell phone, keys), this clutch is the perfect pop of colour to your outfit. Comes in a range of colours, including purple suede (our favourite!) and black fur.

2. Biko Jewellery Adoria spike necklace  ($175) – I’ve been wearing this Biko classic non-stop since I bought it (see herehere and here). It’s an incredibly versatile piece that adds just the right amount of edge to any outfit.

3. Smythe tweed riding jacket ($650) – I’m obsessed with Smythe’s smart-looking blazers and equestrian jackets. I think every woman should have at least one in her closet. They don’t come cheap, but they’re investment pieces she’ll be wearing for years to come.

4. Flare Magazine and FASHION Magazine subscriptions – What could be an easier stocking stuffer than renewals to a gal’s favourite Canadian fashion magazines? Both are must-reads.

5. Philip Sparks mountain sheep muff ($350) – It doesn’t get much more luxurious than this (in my world, anyway) when it comes to cold weather accessories. This muff was at the top of my wish list after I attended Sparks’ Fall 2011 presentation earlier this year.

6. Lauren Elan ‘Aaron’ bracelet ($35) – The arm party is still going strong! Add to it with this lovely, rather affordable piece from one of our favourite Canadian jewelry designers.

7. Nella Bella Miami weekender bag ($150) – I’ve been daydreaming about this bag ever since the Toronto-based brand’s Fall 2011 preview. It’s from the men’s line, but it can be a great travel piece for women too.

8. Hudson’s Bay Company Collection striped sweater ($300) – What’s merrier than classic HBC knitwear? The fact that it’ll keep her warm through the winter is an added bonus.

9. Brave Leather Roshana bow belt ($140) – A chic statement belt for the lady in your life who loves bows, ruffles and all things frilly.

10. Pink Tartan gold tulle skirt ($395) – This is perfect for New Year’s Eve festivities, as well as parties throughout the year. Who doesn’t need a gold tutu? I know I do.

11. ‘A is for ALDO’ fragrance ($45) – ALDO’s new range of fragrances has a scent for every personality type. Is she a Blue, Yellow or Red?

12. Maryam Keyhani necklace – This piece is at the top of my holiday wish list. I wrote to Santa about it; here’s hoping I find one under my tree on Christmas Day!

Happy holiday shopping everyone!

xx, S

Runways and Showrooms

Philip Sparks for Danier Spring 2012 Men’s Accessories Collection

When Danier recently announced the latest addition to their roster of designer collaborators, Toronto-based Philip Sparks, there was an audible cheer from fashion-conscious men across the country. An accessories collection to call their own, one they wouldn’t have to share with the ladies? Definitely cause for excitement. Today, we got a sneak peek at the collection at the Danier Spring 2012 preview, and it’s everything they – and we! – hoped it would be.

Sparks’ designs for Danier are classic, functional, and downright attractive-looking. “We started with a nostalgic idea of travel and how people once boarded airplanes and train cars with a wardrobe of carryalls, duffle bags and cases,” says the designer. “Then, we updated that mix to include iPad cases and backpacks filled with extra pockets and compartments for contemporary travelers who expect the functionality of five bags in one.”

The results are highly covetable. In fact, I’m disappointed that the collection won’t be available in time for the holidays; a swanky new briefcase would’ve been a perfect Christmas gift for the Mister. Or me, for that matter. Because if the men thought they wouldn’t have to share this collection with the women, think again.

xx, S

Street Style

Stylin’ from the Backseat: Cougars and Plaid

Matchstick sent over a pair of Cougar Boots a while back, and I’ve been waiting patiently to debut them. They’re not my usual style, but a girl can’t wear shoes like these all day, every day. As much as I love my 4″+ stilettos, my feet need a rest once in a while, especially when I’m chasing my son around. Enter my brand spankin’ new, limited edition Pillow Boots.

The temperatures dropped this past weekend, so I finally took them out for a spin. Boy, was I surprised – these babies are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever put on my feet, hands down. When the folks at Cougar say ‘pillow’, they mean it.

These exclusive Pillow Boots are an updated version of the Canadian classic first introduced in 1976, and only 900 pairs have been produced. I didn’t wear Pillow Boots growing up, but I sure am glad I found them now. Better late than never, right?

Philip Sparks shirt / CURRENT/ELLIOTT jeans / Cougar Pillow Boots / H&M belt / YSL ring / Balenciaga bracelet / Blackberry protruding from my jeans pocket (oops) / MAKE UP FOR EVER make-up

xx, S

Runways and Showrooms

Toronto Fashion Week: Philip Sparks Fall 2011

Having lived in Toronto all my life (the ‘burbs count too!), I consider myself to be a city girl through and through. I’m not outdoors-y, unless you consider pounding the pavement on the hunt for designer shoe sales time well spent in the great outdoors. I don’t camp, I don’t play outdoor sports, and the thought of me doing either would make those who know me laugh out loud. What I can do, however, is look the part of a chic outdoors-y type quite well. I’m about the plaid, for example. And I’m forever trekking around in boots that look like they’re meant for some heavy duty activity that I will probably never, ever take part in. Don the right gear and I can almost fool myself, so when I ventured into the countrified world that Philip Sparks created for his Fall 2011 collection earlier this week, I felt right at home.

Sporting tweed and sheep’s fur and all rosy-cheeked, the models looked as if they had just stepped out of a winter wonderland where the snow is always powdery, the temperature cold but not too cold, and the spiked hot cocoa never runs out. From shawl collar coats to plaid button-downs to penguin suits, the collection was a lovely countrified chic that’s perfectly suited for Canadian winters. The womens’ contrast lapel tuxedo and wool toggle coats were right up my alley. The message I took away from the presentation was simple: baby, it’s cold outside, but throw on some Philip Sparks duds and let’s chop some firewood, ride a sleigh or two, climb a couple of mountains…and look glam doing it.

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Retail Therapy

FGI Fashion & Beauty Sample Sale – November 26-27, 2009

Some of the very best in Canadian design will be hawking their goods at the FGI Fashion & Beauty Sample Sale this coming Thursday and Friday. I know where I’ll be first thing Thursday morning!
xx, S
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