The Christmas gift guide for Francophiles

Few days ago I went to the Distillery Christmas market and realized that Christmas will be upon us in 38 days… yes, they put a huge countdown at the entrance and you cannot miss it!!! As you read these words, you have even less time left so it’s time for you to think about gifts. If you have Francophiles around, this gift guide is going to help you.

Ma P’tite Culotte, women’s lingerie

Offering a new set of lingeries to a woman you love is always a good idea. Ma P’tite Culotte is a French brand that offers an optimistic and enthusiastic line of lingeries. For her last collection, Charline Goutal decided to create pieces that correspond to women’s moods.

Available on Ma Ptite Culotte website

Le Slip Français, French underpants

The founders of this underwear brand believe that companies can no longer just be economic forces with a narrow sense of purpose; they must, instead, define and pursue certain values. Their definition of success includes the well-being of those around them and the sustainability of their business: “You want to change the world? Start by changing your briefs.”

Available on Le Slip Français website

MAGNETHIK ethical handbags

MAGNETHIK is a brand founded by Fabienne Pomi, a French, vegan fashion lover who offers made in France and vegan handbags. All the pieces are made without any animal products and according to an ecological and ethical process. MAGNETHIK has been voted “Best Fashion Novelty” by the PETA association in 2016.

Available at Importation Lou

Chapon chocolates

Patrice Chapon is one of seven French bean-to-bar chocolate makers. His know-how is internationally recognized — he just got two awards from Salon du Chocolat in Paris.

Available on Chapon website and in Toronto at McEwan Don Mills and TD Centre Location.

Red wine

A Francophile will always appreciate a glass of good red wine. This gift is probably the safest — you cannot go wrong with it. If you feel like offering a bottle of red wine to one of your relatives, I recommend this bottle of Château Vignot Saint Emilion, 2009. It goes perfectly with cheese.

Available at LCBO

Review: Tales of Endearment

Image Source

In 2017, style blogs are a dime a dozen.

This is merely fact, neither a good nor bad thing until interpreted by those in the fashion community. (Bad news to the magazine industry, good news for brands looking for free advertising.)

In a city such as this one, you’ll find folks everywhere who have their own blog. The writer of this article has one, for example.

And out of all the blogs and YouTube channels and personal branding has come an influx of deserved and undeserved book deals. This has often been the way for many a franchise: conquer one medium, find another.

In 2010, however, this was not the norm, as Natalie Joos points out in an introduction to her book, Tales of Endearment: Modern Vintage Lovers and Their Extraordinary Wardrobes. That year, Joos created her blog of the same name, a vintage-focused tour through the lives and passions of friends and strangers. The site launched in the pre-blogging-blowout years and became hugely successful. Now, seven years later, Joos has compiled stories of some of the most captivating vintage-lovers she has come across in her travels.

The book itself is beautiful, which is something I would expect from Joos based on her website design and her eye for photography alone. The photographs accompanying each story capture their subjects in their homes, outside, formally and candidly. Joos shoots areas of their home, beloved pieces from their wardrobe and other things that can be more intimate and revealing about a person than any answer they can give to a question. And many of those wardrobe pieces (I’m thinking of the completely mind-blowing closet of stylist Catherine Baba) are just to-die-for. If I’m ever feeling a bit down, looking at beautiful vintage clothes is a pretty easy way to cheer myself up. If you’re the same way, this is an ideal coffee table book to have on hand.

Joos writing style is that of the blogger: casual, anecdotal and familiar, like a friend recounting an encounter to you over Eggs Benedict, instead of something you’re reading from a book penned by a stranger. Part of Joos’s charm comes from her ability to take these larger-than-life characters and make them more relatable.

And these characters are strange. They are international, diverse, unrelated except for their collective love of vintage clothing. It makes me wonder how Joos finds everyone she features, and above all I commend her for featuring the style secrets of Dee Hilfiger, Maxine Ashley, and Greg Banks in the same book. Seeing their stories back-to-back is fascinating and provides endless style inspiration for whatever persona you are inhabiting in that moment.

I believe this to be one of Joos’s strongest points, and my favourite part of the book. Within its pages, she tells the stories of an incredibly varied cast of characters, each one as endlessly fascinating as the last. It’s the people who populate Tales of Endearment that make it great. While Joos’s writing and photography convey their stories in a pleasant way, something also needs to be said for finding so many different perspectives on the same topic and giving each perspective space to come across genuinely.

Reading the book has turned me into a fan of the blog, which I did not read regularly before. It’s a bit of a wonder, isn’t it, that publishers turn to books as their next conquest after finding success on the Internet. But people like books, the same way the stars of Tales of Endearment like vintage clothing. It has a weight to it, a meaning and intent that isn’t found in its faster, modern counterparts. These days, it feels like a choice.

I’m going to recommend this one to every vintage lover, fashion lover, anyone who likes a good short story, and anyone who likes meeting new and interesting people. Like me, I think you’ll find yourself endeared.

Tales of Endearment will be available in Canada starting November 21st. You can visit the blog here and follow Natalie Joos on Instagram here.

Tried and tested- holiday party outfit (anything but a dress)

As we get closer to the holiday season, we find ourselves looking for the prefect glam outfit to go with the holiday spirit. Normally, we associate the festive season with the Little Black Dress and, sure, there is no doubt that the LBD will always be a safe choice. But what if we feel the urge to pull off something bold and experiment with colors and textures. I believe the LBD deserves a little break once in a while. So I decided to find creative ways of putting together an outfit with ensembles that feature anything but a dress. Whether it’s a fancy jumpsuit, a metallic pleated skirt, or a tuxedo-inspired look, the following 5 pieces will not only get you into the festive mood, but also let you shine at any holiday cocktail parties.

Glitz and glam

Shiny pieces and metallics define the holiday season. They can definitely function as the ultimate neutral at any holiday party. For a festive punch, I opted for a pair of bold pants with a luxurious damask jacquard prints, which evoke a sophisticated feel. I paired it with a silky blouse with a metallic sheen and ruffle details along the neck and sleeves. This statement piece adds a touch of glam and gives a feminine twist to the holiday dress code.

Blouse and pants: Alice And Olivia (Nordstrom)

The velvet suit

This menswear-inspired look offers and alternative way to mix things up. Simply trade in your classic tuxedo suit with a velvet one. I chose this set because the shimmering kimono-like jacket paired with matching pants keep everything sleek and sexy. Velvet is my favorite formal fabric during the holiday season because it provides a warm sense of luxury. For those that fear an all-velvet look, you can break things up with a silky top, a contrasting texture.

Jacket and pants: Zara

The ultimate jumpsuit

I always feel drawn to jumpsuits for some reason. The overall is an unexpected option when you need to look instantly put-together on casual days. It’s not only an easy to wear piece, but also one appropriate for special events. Choose a tailored and formal-esque jumpsuit — look for a balanced fit and avoid silhouettes that are too baggy. I love the idea of a monochrome jumpsuit that can flatter any body type. So I chose this burgundy piece and paired it with a statement necklace and a tailored coat with subtly metallic details.

Jumpsuit and coat: COS

Rise and shine

Metallic skirts can be the go-to perfect option once the holiday party season is in full swing. You can wear it during the day in the office and at a cocktail party after work. Simply by switching to stiletto and adding a furry or a snakeskin clutch, you can elevate the look. I love how the shine factor is mixed with other textures and unexpected combinations. A black top with little frills was the first thing popped into my head. It’s delicate and feminine. Plus, you can layer it with a cool leather jacket for an edgy twist.

Skirt and top: BP (Nordstrom)

Fairy tale story

A maxi tulle skirt is a great substitute for a traditional dress. The luxurious fabric creates a fairy tale look and will help you stand out in a crowd. There are so many options when it comes to tulle. For a full glam effect, you can pair the voluminous skirt with an embellished or sequins top. For a classy look, pair it with a basic blouse an a statement accessory. I paired the tulle here with a silk fabric with dotted mesh and lace details, and finished the look with red pumps.

Skirt and top: MassimoDutti

STYLE SLAYS AND NAYS: CELEBRITY STREET STYLE EDITION #3

Fashion is not about what you where, but about the way you wear it. We all have that story about someone who wears an incredible piece in an unflattering way.

Sometimes I feel like people are trying their best to ruin their own outfits. They either don’t choose the right shoes or the right jacket or something else entirely and make things off. And the same thing goes for celebrities and their styles.

For this edition of Slays and Nays, let’s find out how our favorite stars made or failed to make the fall fashion trends their own!

THE WHITE BOOTS

Slay: Gizele Olivera. Nay: Rihanna

Years ago, wearing white boots was a shameful thing… This fall they are back!

If I say super mini denim shorts, white shirt, and white boots, who comes to mind? Probably Britney Spears, right? And if I add the American flag behind, you picture a cowgirl for sure! Well, look how beautiful this cowgirl is. Gizele is wearing these boots the easiest way you could wear them, but she looks stunning and fashionable.

Rihanna again went too far… Why do people think that being fashionable = being dressed up? With white boots, the shorter the better.

ORANGE AND BLACK

Slay: Bella hadid. Nay: Chiara Ferragni

How difficult it is to wear orange… However, it’s one of this fall’s colors. While Bella is killing it, Ciara looks like she is going to a Halloween party. Even though the shape of Ciara’s jacket is really interesting, this orange is too flashy for her skin tone.

THE SILK PYJAMAS

Slay: Jeanne Damas. Nay: Gigi Hadid

Silk pyjamas shirts were already trendy last fall, and, guess what? Get ready to see them again this season.

The French it-girl Jeanne Damas looks fabulous in this outfit. The print could have been too much but it’s not. No big handbag, no jacket, and we barely see the shoes, which is a good thing.

Gigi is showing us what we shouldn’t do if we want to make this trend ours. First, the pants are too short, it’s more elegant to wear them really long. Second, never tuck the shirt in the pants. And finally, it’s better to go up one size for a loose fit.

THE BERET

Slay: Rihanna. Nay: Cara Delevingne

Whether we like it or not, the beret is a huge trend this fall and we won’t be able to escape it.

While Rihanna is just stunning in this all black everything outfit, Cara looks too retro in this dress and red beret. Her outfit is so cliché. Maybe a little bit of finesse would have brought more elegance.

THE METALLIC WINTER JACKET

Slay: Kendall (left). Nay: Kendall (right)

Ok, let’s make this a Kendall vs. Kendall. She obviously loves wearing metallic jackets more than everyone else, so let’s see when she slays and when she nays.

The aviator jacket is perfection… the shape is perfect, the gold not too aggressive, and the black details go very well with the overall outfit.

The puffer jacket is very cool to wear, too, but the material looks maybe a little bit too fake. The jacket goes really well with this scarf and the grey t-shirt she wears, but not that much with the pants, which accentuate this shiny material too much.

Bridal Week Wedding Inspo: How to the plan perfect weeding, high fashion style

Weddings are sometimes the hardest events to have to plan. It takes a detailed and well-organized plan to really have a wonderful wedding come to life. Recently, at Bridal Fashion Week, many of the world’s great bridalwear designers once again blew away their audiences with utterly stunning and completely forward-thinking designs for spring. With that said, just a simple article reviewing the gowns wouldn’t be enough to demonstrate how different the bridal world is becoming. Instead, this article aims to feel more like a how-to guide on how to plan an artistic wedding steeped in fashion that will blow any guest away.

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The Luxury Couture Bride

Photos: Vogue Runway

The Dress

Vera Wang can essentially be seen as the reigning goddess of the bridal world and for very good reason. This season, Vera Wang brought her already stunning gowns to a new level. Rather than following bridal trends, Wang created new trends by infusing more personal couture elements to this season’s gowns. Draped in stunning lace and luxurious volume, Wang created a new silhouette and new expectations for what a wedding gown should be. Pictured above, The Aurore wedding gown creates a stunning regal silhouette that mirrors the luxury and excess of European fashion, which perfectly reflects the grandiosity of a true couture wedding.

Photo: Taylor Hazell Architects

The Venue 

Casa Loma, Toronto’s historic castle has been the go-to destination for old-world opulence in the bustling city. Set within stunning manicured gardens, Casa Loma offers a stunning take on the traditional wedding. Rather than pushing for your run of the mill hotel wedding or golf course wedding, splurging on a one of a kind venue like Casa Loma and you will definitely have your guests gasping for air. Another brilliant aspect of the castle is its many rooms: You can have your dream wedding in either an outdoor or an indoor space, and take in the beauty of any season on your special day.

The Décor

The best way to blow your guests out of the water at a dream couture wedding has to be with excess! Pull out all the stops to effectively create a couture wedding. Chandeliers, strong neutral colours, like black, white, and grey, and beautiful blooms are all perfect ways to create the luxury fairytale you’ve always wanted. For the perfect day, pick a venue that either has outdoor space or allows a lot of light to come in. This is especially important if you’re having a summer wedding because nothing is more beautiful than the late evening summer sun setting and bathing your venue in warm sunshine as your guests dance and enjoy the evening.

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The Bohemian Bride

Photo: Vogue Runway

The Dress

Now, most boho brides are often inclined to buy lacey, hippie-inspired dresses that are more like Coachella than wedding day glamour. But don’t just give in and put that flower crown on your head. Carolina Herrera has answered every boho girl’s prayers with a dress that is equal parts elegance and flower child. This fall 2018 confection fuses timeless elegance with a sweet and pure floral print that perfectly encompasses the floral fantasy every bohemian bride dreams of. Rather than rely on lacy overload, this dress uses its sheer volume and embroidery to create the gentle elven fantasy that signals an outdoor boho wedding.

Photo: gardenvisit.com

The Venue

The Toronto Botanical Gardens is the perfect backdrop for the bohemian bride. Filled with stunning flora and beautiful open-air spaces, Toronto’s botanical gardens offer the beautiful nature filled backdrop a bride craves when planning an outdoor wedding. However, the wedding itself doesn’t have to be entirely outdoors — the gardens offer various indoor venues that accommodate different sized groups that all open up to beautiful gardens and terraces, giving guests the option to enjoy the outdoors or the party inside.

The Décor

The beauty of boho décor is that it doesn’t have to be pristine. Often, the more organic and natural your decor looks, the more on theme it will look. Boho décor is about embracing the raw aspects of nature and allowing things to look more relaxed and natural. Avoid any kind of mirrored or jewelled accents as it may throw the earthy décor completely off. Another good way of creating a simple bohemian theme is to simply have your event outside. Let the natural spring of summer landscape engulf your guests and creating a whole new world within the city.

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The Classic Vintage Bride

Photo: Vogue Runway

The Dress

The classic bride loves the idea of timeless simplicity and Viktor & Rolf are the kings of understated and timeless excess. This season, V&R once again created a collection based heavily on vintage tropes from the ’50s and ’60s, creating a time capsule filled with old world glamour and elegance. Mirroring the gowns of old world royalty like Princess Grace, Duchess Kate, and Princess Margaret, this Viktor & Rolf embodies what it means to be a queen on your wedding day. It’s reserved yet extravagant, just like the royals of the world.

Photos: Caesars Centre

The Venue

With simplicity comes elegance. Caesar’s Center in Bolton, Ontario, fuses the chic minimalist appeal of a boutique hotel in Europe with the care, comfort, and attention to detail that comes with old world dining and event hosting spaces. The space is perfectly geared toward a bride who craves something very different from the traditional banquet centre scene. Something new and fresh, yet effortlessly classic. With soaring windows and ceilings, the space is always bathed in natural light, with a view of blue skies and white clouds peeking through from the uppermost windows. What stands out the most about this venue is the openness of its minimalist design, giving the classic bride (and any bride) a blank canvas on which make their dream a reality.


The Décor

When it comes to modern elegance, the best way to go is with simple and luxurious minimalism. Pristine white linens and crisp deep blacks pair beautifully with simple glass vases filled with subtle florals. Orchids in white, Cala lilies and monochrome exotic flowers in bright colours are all wonderful choices that add a strikingly simple and subtle elegance to your event. Remember, think classic elegance, vintage Calvin, crisp lines, clean design, and contemporary minimalism. This is one wedding where less is definitely more, avoid over-the-top extravagance at all costs!