Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Bag Edition

“It is a known fact that a woman do carry an evening bag at dinner time.” Now this famous quote from the now iconic documentary Paris Is Burning holds more truth than people think. However, the quote should be interpreted by the fact that any outfit always feels a little more complete once you add a stunning bag to it. The perfect bag also has the ability to boost one’s confidence and mood. Allowing the wearer to express their personal style with a bag of their choosing. And for that reason, we here at Novella feel that choosing the perfect bag for that perfect someone is always a great gift giving choice for the holiday season. However, choosing the right bag can sometimes be extremely hard and with so many bags and personalities out there, having a guide on what to get is often very helpful and time-saving.

Forever 21 Faux Leather Crossbody Bag: $33.90

Photo: Forever 21

As fashion grows and progresses, so does the need to use it as a form of self-expression. Unlike the conventional bags most people are used to seeing. Today’s purses are no longer about functionality and stand more as a test of creative integrity and self-expression. One big trend that really encompasses this idea is the mini bag, while it may not be the most functional bag to its size, this Forever 21 mini faux patent leather bag is all about visual appeal rather than functionality. Sure you may not be able to fit everything in there. But this bag does hold its own perfectly fine as a party bag or evening bag. And its punchy mix of fire engine red and shiny metal hardware give this bag an edgy 80s personality that’s been all the rage the past few years.

Chanel Boy Bag: $7175.00

Photo: Chanel

The Chanel Boy Bag may be the bag to end all bags. With its iconic silhouette and chain strap. The Boy bag has become synonymous with Paris upper echelon. However, with a name like Chanel on the bag, the cost is automatically going to be quite astronomical for a purse. But its the quality of materials and craftsmanship that really makes this bag an extra special gift. Rather than purchasing your special someone a regular black Chanel Boy bag. Opt for this glittery sequined version. Which mixes the perfect amount of after-dark glamour with the conventional look of an all black bag.

Zara Knotted Bucket Bag: $49.90

Photo: Zara

Zara has a long-standing reputation for creating fashionable high-quality clothing and accessories that merge the high fashion appeal of the runway with functional everyday attire. This simple black shoulder bag is the perfect for someone who’s always on the go. It’s roomy design and thick strap are bound to last for those who can’t help but carry everything but the kitchen sink with them. What sets this bag apart from regular leather totes is its fresh design. The bag itself is very architectural. With the knotted straps creating a very angular silhouette that compliments the triangular shape of the bag.

Maison Margiela Patchwork Pouch: $2660.00

Photo: Maison Margiela

For those who want something more interesting than the average bag, Maison Margiela created this unconventional clutch. Utilizing the brand’s love for deconstruction. The clutch is decorated with pieces of Margiela staple patterns and fabrics. Creating an entirely unique look for those daring enough to wear it. Another interesting aspect of the bag is its shape. Rather than opting for a traditional square or rectangle clutch. The brand created an exaggerated and extremely elongated rectangle clutch that breaks the boundaries of what bags and clutches should look like. While this may not be the most functional option on the list, it does stand alone as a very interesting statement piece.

Aldo Wenang Light Blue Women’s Crossbody: $70.00

Photo: Aldo

These days bags can be whatever you’d like them to be and often, the more colourful and fun they are, the better. This fairytale Aldo bag brings the punch of colour many are looking for in the new year. The pastel colour scheme and embroidery is fun and playful without being juvenile. Which is often a very important thing for the purse aficionado on your holiday gift list. What makes this bag really special is how all of the colours and hardware work perfectly together. Rather than being jarring, the bag compliments itself. Especially the blue to pink gradient that makes of the colour of the bag.

How to be fashionable during winter?

If you think you cannot be fashionable during winter, you are wrong. Fall-winter is probably the best season to look trendy. Just think about it, how many items do you have in your wardrobe during winter? Way more than in summer right?! If you count jackets, coat, boots, scarf and other accessories, I am sure you have at least twice more items to play with. So, what will make you look gorgeous this season? Here is a list of tricks and items which will help you.

  1. Get a big puffer jacket

If you want to look cool no water what, the puffer jacket is always a good idea. You can easily wear it off-the-shoulder during fall or over a big jumper during winter. The other good thing with a big coat is that you can wear it with sneakers to be casual or with fancy boots to look fancy.

  1. Choose your boots with attention

Whatever you prefer high or ankle boots, you need a pair which matches with almost everything. They don’t need to be black –excepted if you only go black – but they have to match with most of your clothes AND your favorite coat.

  1. Find an oversize roll-neck sweater

At that time of the year you should forget low-cut-neckline. At the contrary, roll-neck will cover your neck perfectly and will make you look super fancy. If your sweater is also oversize or has big sleeves, it will give you a perfect fashion week street style look.

  1. Style it up

It’s not because you wear big sweaters and long sleeves that you have to look boring. Get a printed jacket, wear accessories and have fun! Getting accessories is also a good way to turn your casual outfit to a fashionable one. Find big earrings, colored sunglasses and a big hat and you will look perfect.

  1. Layer is the key

This is the season to layer so let’s go for it! You want to wear your favorite tee-shirt? No problem put a wool cardigan on it and your big coat. You want to look good arriving at work wearing your summer denim jacket? Do it! Just put layers on to protect yourself from pneumonia.

Accessories Trend Report Spring 2018: Next Season’s Most Coveted Items!

Next season’s accessories came with a fun surprise! Colours, patterns, and textures dominated the accessories game on the runway. Differing from the norm, accessories told their own story this season. You could almost say that this season’s group of bags, jewels, hats, and shoe could easily be stand-alone collections in and of themselves. Able to carry out a cohesive and impressive story all on their own.

The Printed Pop Bag

Printed bags had the biggest impact on the runway for Spring. Prints, florals, and plaids all came crashing onto many of the worlds biggest brand’s accessories. Transforming the functional bag into an outstanding showpiece that could pump up any outfit in your closet. Milan seemed to take the trend to the most extreme by putting jarring patterns on simplistic bags. Giving a graphic edge to standard silhouettes. At Prada, bags were strewn with graphic comic strip style prints that took gave each bag its own unique story. Adding a special element to each purse that walked the runway. Over at Marni, adorable square bags were splashed with bright plaids. Creating an interesting, almost vintage take on the modern box bag. Paris seemed to prefer a more subtle take on the printed bag. Opting for more elegantly and less graphic prints than Milan did. At Valentino, models walked the runway in the brand’s staple rockstud bags. However, the bag seemed to be painted with gorgeous floral motifs. Giving the bag a double identity, soft vs hard, elegant, yet edgy.

The Peek-a-boo See-through Shoe

This season’s footwear took a surprisingly fun turn for spring. Last season’s love for the chunky heel continued as expected, however, this season’s chunky heel came with an unexpected translucent friend. For Spring, Parisian fashion houses Chanel and Balmain both put their models in interesting and super clear cap toes PVC boots. The boots themselves have an air rain time high fashion chic about them, but they’re grounded with the strong pops of neutral black and white. Giving the boots a more elegant, rather than childish look. Over in New York, Prabal Gurung sported an interesting pair of mules that used a sheer mesh and clear heel combo, rather than using PVC. Giving the shoe a more reasonable and breathable appeal for the summer.

The Epic Chandelier Earring

Chandelier earrings may have become passe in the last decade. However, the glimmering throwbacks are back in a big way! In Paris and Milan, oversized earrings packed a very big punch. At Saint Laurent, giant jewelled chandeliers took on a mod feel with big rectangular sparklers, making the earing look more like bedazzled frames ready to frame a royal masterpiece. Over in Milan, both Dolce & Gabanna and Gucci used pearls, gold, and gems to create a modern take on Renaissance royalty, giving Elizabeth the 1st a run for her money.

The Theatrical Straw Hat

This season’s straw summer hat get an exciting upgrade. What started with Gucci’s huge sunhat and Jacquemus Provencal hats has grown into one of the biggest and most interesting accessory trends of the season. At Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, the straw hat took a more vagabond like look aesthetic. Resembling something more cartoonish, which fits in perfectly with the outlandish and forward thinking appeal that’s been associated with Westwood for years. At Jacquemus, the straw sunhat took on its most extreme form yet. With proportions resembling something straight out of a French romance movie. The romantic movement of the hat perfectly mirrored the sensual feel of the collection. Over in Milano, Missoni caught wind of the trend and added its 0wn interesting flair. Creating a more windswept and cutting-edge sunhat that screams Missoni.


A Conversation with Designer Natalie Dusome


Designer, entrepreneur, mother: Natalie Dusome is a woman that wears a lot of stylish hats. Her accessories brand Poppy & Peonies was launched in 2016 and her fashionable and functional handbags have garnered her a huge following and well-deserved brand recognition since.

I had the opportunity to speak with Dusome one evening in Toronto, where she appeared in a whirlwind of warmth and positive energy. I asked her about starting a business, growing up in a small town, and why finding your old designs from school is actually a good thing.

Natasha Grodzinski: When did you first discover a passion for designing?

Natalie Dusome: Honestly, I’ve always loved fashion, since I was a little girl. I come from Penetanguishine, which is this tiny town, there’s 700 people. I was always so different than everyone else. The other kids int the town weren’t into fashion at all, and I can remember begging my mom at seriously, eight years old, to buy fashion magazines! What kid does that? It was just this fantasy world. I would open up the magazines and it would take me somewhere else. Of course, I love where I’m from and I’m so grateful for where I’m from because it has kept me very grounded and humble, and I had a great upbringing. One of my grandmothers loved to sew, the other one loved to draw and my dad is a carpenter. With all of these different influences my life, I was led to fashion design.

NG: That’s a very creative environment to grow up in, and it’s you putting your own love into it.

ND: My grandmother would always be making us clothes for our Barbies and I would sit there and cut the fabric with her. I didn’t realize at the time, you know I was four years old, what an impact that would have on me. Even my dad, he would design all of these things: furniture, kitchenware, he even made his own barbecue. He would come up with his own idea and then go into the garage and would bring it to life. I think that being in that environment groomed me for what I want to do.

NG: It’s really nice to hear about a creative home like that where you feel like you’re able to grow and express yourself.

ND: Yes! And what was really awesome is my mom works at a hospital and my father’s a carpenter so they did not know any kids who were into fashion, but they didn’t care. They said, “If this is what you want and this is your dream, we’re going to fully support you.” I find that’s rare.

NG: I know you went to Ryerson for fashion design and then went the corporate route. What was that transition like, to go from small town to big city?

ND: I took a minor in marketing when I was in school. I was always interested in the business side of fashion. I was always fascinated by it. We had students in our class who were so creative that they never wanted to make anything that someone could actually wear. I was interested in something wearable but with an edge. For me, working for companies like Abercrombie or Fossil was so cool because I was able to see, okay, this is what people actually like to wear. This is what people are buying. In fashion design, you can make such crazy, out-there designs, but at the end of the day people want simple with a twist. They want wearable or functional but with a little something different. The experience I had in that commercial world really helped me towards what I do today.

NG: It seems like a perfect marriage of interests to start your own business: the creative side with the marketing side.

ND:  Yes, because our bags are trendy and affordable but they also have the functionality. That’s something different we have for the product.

NG: I actually wanted to ask about this: as a businesswoman and a mom, I imagine function came into your brain when you were conceptualizing the brand.

ND: That’s really where it came from. Before, I was living in New York and it was always fashion first for me. I was a huge fashionista. I would run around New York in heels until I had blisters!

NG: I know about that!

ND: And you do it. You’re like, “I don’t care, this is fashion and I look good.” When you become a mom, it’s like, oh God, I can’t be running around with heels and this baby. You need to still find ways to express yourself and your fashion, but do it in a wearable way that has functionality for your new life. That’s really where it came from; I became a monad realized my old style wasn’t working with this new part in my life. Looking around I realized a lot of people were just like me and needed the same things.

NG: It’s akin to how I was a little happy when sneakers became cool again. I’m gonna save my arches.

ND: Yes, exactly! And the thing is when you’re out of school and getting into your career it’s the most important thing. But you realize there are ways to look good and still have function and comfort.

NG: When you did decide to start your own brand, was the accessories the first place you went to? Or did you play around with other ideas?

ND: I’ve always done handbag design. It’s a bit funny, I created this line of handbags when I was 16 years old. I approached a local boutique to carry my bags and they must have felt sorry for me because they did carry them. They were these wire, beaded bags and I look back and just howl because they were so funny. When I did my collection at Ryerson, it was very denim, wearable, which got me my job at Abercrombie but I also designed these handbags, which were pretty nice considering I was young and in school. I’ve just always been passionate about handbags and accessories.

NG: Do you ever pull out one of those ones from school?

ND: Oh my god, I howl! You know how mom’s always store your stuff from school? My mum said to me, “Nat, I need to clean out some of this stuff, please help me.” And we were rolling on the floor laughing about the stuff I had made at Ryerson. My dad was always so supportive and I had these metal plates he engraved ‘Dusome,’ my last name on so I could make little labels. We had this little press so I could make the labels. It was so funny.

NG: I used to write creatively a lot in high school and some I read back, I think, ehhhhhhh.

ND: Exactly, but it’s cool to see how far I’ve come. I found some old handbag sketches from school and think, wow. It’s the progression.

NG: When you made that decision, was it terrifying?

ND: It was terrifying. At the time I had been working for Aldo for five years. I was their head designer. I was travelling to London, Paris, China, Italy, it was a dream. From the time I was little girl, I would see these editors, designers and socialites, these high-powered women and I would dream about being one of them. I worked so hard and became one of those designers at a reputable, amazing company. Not only did I reach my dream, but I loved my boss and the work I did. So, to leave my dream job to start my own company scared the shit out of me. It really did. But I knew in the long run, for the sake of my family and for me always wanting to start my own company, it was now or never.

NG: You have always wanted to start your own business then?

ND: Yes, and it’s funny, back home a lot of us are parents now so we had this high school party where we got sitters and acted like we were in high school. I found my old yearbook picture and it asked, what are you goals and whatnot. Under “What’s your goal?” it read, “To build a million-dollar global brand.” And that was in Grade 9. Laughs. But I did it! I mean, we’re not quite at that level but we’re well on our way.

NG: The brand really is blowing up right now.

ND: It’s been amazing. We’ve had so much support. It’s unbelievable. The influencers, the press and everything we’ve had has been unreal.

NG: When you see one of your bags in the street…

ND: I love it. People must think I’m nuts because I’m staring at them. Even in our town, a small community, everyone is so supportive. I’ll be having a crummy day, I’ll go to the grocery store and see five women wearing my bag and I think, how can I have a bad day?

NG: That must feel so good.

ND: It’s really cool. Not all of the customers who buy bags will recognize me, of course, so once someone was in front of me in the coffee line and I said, “Oh, I really love your bag.” She said, “It’s Poppy and Peonies, it’s a local brand,” and I don’t want to embarrass them so I play it off. Sometimes I say it and sometimes I don’t.

NG: It’s that validation for all the hard work.

ND: It’s so rewarding, especially at places you don’t expect it. I’ll be at Pearson or in other cities and I’ll see it. It’s so nice to make a product that people like and excites them.

NG: For any other young designers thinking about starting their brand, do you have any advice for them?

ND: I think loving what you do and being passionate are the most important things. Sometimes things get so tough that you want to give up and the passion is all that keeps you going. If you don’t have that, it would be easy to let something go. It takes determination, perseverance and a positive attitude to get you through those difficult times. You need to love it so much that you would do it for free, you would stay up until four a.m. doing it, you would do it on vacation. Trust me, there are days where it gets so tough. If you really love it, you’ll succeed at it.

Interview has been condensed for print.

You can visit the Poppy & Peonies website here and follow their Instagram here.



Slay: Kendal Jenner, Nay : Bella Hadid

If it was a battle, the youngest Kardashian-Jenner sister would’ve definitely won. The total sportswear look is pretty trendy at the moment, and being able to do it well not only shows an ability to be feminine in men’s clothes, but also look fashionable no matter what.

While Kendall looks super chic with her sunglasses, Bella looks like she has been dressed with her security guard’s clothes. The combo of voluminous pants + enormous sneakers usually works better in editorials than in real life!


Slay: Gigi Hadid. Nay: Rihanna

Wearing a total pastel outfit usually makes you look younger and more innocent. Even if Rihanna’s outfit is gorgeous, the color, the fabric, the shape… her chest doesn’t fit in this bra. Also, the fur handbag is probably not necessary with an outfit like that — it would have been trendier without!

As for Gigi, she looks more ingenuous than ever!!! The oversized short sleeves tee-shirt and the straight fit pants could have appeared too messy, but styled up with these sunglasses and her red lips, they actually look perfect.


Slay: Hailey Baldwin. Nay: Kourtney Kardashian.

Hailey rocks this outfit. Leather + sweater is a classic combo that always works. It gives to this street style a street spirit.

The Kardashian older sister went wrong on this one. Even if her style evolved in a good way these past years, I wonder if her stylist was on vacation that day! The denim jacket is not matching and doesn’t reach to make the look more casual. You should know it Kourt, a sexy bodysuit would never go with leather pants except if you plan to finish the day in a strip club!


Slay: Sarah Jessica Parker. Nay: Céline Dion

To play with this one you really have to be confident because if it turns wrong, you can easily look like you dressed up for a carnival.

As a fashionista, Sarah Jessica always manages shapes and colors like no one else. She looks absolutely fabulous in this color block outfit.

Céline went a bit too far this time. The dress comes straight from Queen Victoria’s wardrobe, its color is giving me an epileptic seizure and the flower just looks as though it was placed below her head to replace her neck.