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.
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.”
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.
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.
One can argue that Paris truly is the birthplace of modern fashion. It’s stars, both in fashion and entertainment, have inspired droves of people around the world to adopt a way of life and a way of dressing that is distinctly Parisian. And with countless style muses to chose from (Bridgitte, Jane, Lea, Carla, Carmen, Soko et al.) one really can’t go wrong when looking to the streets of Paris for style inspiration.
One of the most striking things you’ll see on the streets of Paris isn’t the flashing lights or beautiful architecture because Parisian dressing really isn’t about the flash or glitz, or all the bells and whistles that some other cities may require a person to wear to get noticed. Paris is about an organic style that comes from one’s environment, from their childhood, and from what feels right in the here and now. So it isn’t rare to see simple looks that incorporate small details that nod to the wearer’s personality. Whether that be a print or a family heirloom necklace, the French know that keeping the outfit simple and fresh always allows the details to come to life.
Chanel, Chanel, Chanel!
Now Chanel may be out of most people’s price ranges, but nothing says Paris like Chanel. Ever since Gabrielle set out to change the face of women’s fashion in France decades ago, Chanel has been the most recognisable symbol of French fashion. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that wearing Chanel around town could possibly be the most Parisian thing one can do besides visiting Paris itself.
Très Chic, Très Féminine
While most of the time Paris can be the land of sharp Mugler suits, and pristine Dior dresses, it’s also the city that brought us candy coloured pastries and Pompadour gowns. The old courts of Versailles can still be felt in Paris to this day in the ultra feminine clothing seen around the city. Ruffles, pastels, and sequins are all fair game on the streets of Paris, just as long as the outfit is tres chic. Because the Parisian fashionista doesn’t dress feminine to look childish, they dress feminine to exude a softness and delicate strength that comes with feminine clothing.
The Higher the Heels, The Closer to Dieu
Paris is the city of A. the classic Chanel flat or B. the most daring (and likely uncomfortable) of heels. Apart from Russia, France seems to be a safe haven for heel lovers and nowhere is that more visible than in the city of lights. Every time fashion weeks rolls around, it’d be surprising to see women walk around down with anything but the most pencil-thin stilettos. The beauty of super high heels is the boost in confidence it can give a person and the fashionistas of Paris are never one’s to walk the world on their shoulders.
Paris is a city built on romance and with that romance comes romantic dressing. Now you don’t have to run around dressed as if a Harlequin novel threw up on way, but a little throwback frill can go a long way. One way to make sure Parisian romanticism works when putting an outfit together. Instead of going full on Edwardian high-neck glamour. One should opt for something vintage yet sexy. Think Moulin Rouge in 2017. One of the greatest pros to dressing with romantic flair is the versatility of it. Victorian and Edwardian can easily be paired with lingerie or athletic wear, which adds a modern flair to any outfit.
Joie De Vivre
The “Joy of Life” is a concept that is distinctly French. It represents living life in a way that allows one to be who they are and live how they want. It’s about striving for self-love and happiness. The colourful Joie De Vivre of native Parisian’s can easily translate into everyday outfits with cheerful and thoughtful pops of colour. Stripes, patterns, polka dots, and florals can all add an effervescence to anyone’s wardrobe. Just be sure to always wear colours in a very chic way. The Parisian fashionista wears colour and pattern as an extension of their own cheerfulness, not for the sake of getting attention or attracting the cameras of photographers.
Paris is widely accepted as the pinnacle of fashion around the world and for good reason. This season seems to be no exception, with designers pulling out all of the stops to present some of their most exciting and iconic collections yet. There were designers who celebrated milestones by walking down memory lane, while others expressed their takes on modern feminism by pulling from the past. There was even a utopia created completely out of fabric that transcended words. With that said, Novella is proud to present the best of Paris Fashion Week!
Dries Van Noten
It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a runway show sport such an outstanding roster that it sends me into a flurry of nostalgia with every passing model that came into the camera’s view, but that’s exactly what Dries Van Noten did for his 100th show in Paris. Models from all over the globe strutted down the runway in his creations for the show (some whom have walked his first shows back in the early 90s) in a show of support for Dries’ 20-year long breadth of work. Apart from having the pleasure of seeing the likes of Nadja Auermann and Malgosia Bela strut down the runway, fans around the world were treated to a whirlwind of prints that came straight from the brand’s archives. Noten’s paisleys and florals were dusted off and brought back as a celebration of the brand and its iconic designer. One interesting (and completely appropriate for our current times) aspect of the show was the heavy emphasis on menswear. Coats and suits carried a masculine air that made each of the runway veterans shine with a sense of feminine empowerment.
Sometimes a collection comes along that is so underlooked by the those in the fashion industry that it’s almost maddening. Such was the case at Vera Wang‘s Paris show. The New York native presented her collection in Paris last week only using model Mariacarla Boscono as her muse and beautiful historic building as her background. The entirety of the collection seems to be inspired by the queens of the world, with a heavy emphasis on Napoleonic-era military and aristocratic garb. The beauty of Vera‘s understanding of the female form and understated elegance is completely evident here in the draping and gold embellishments that hark back to a time when what you wore showed the world who you are. And Vera’s woman is that the top of the echelon. Some of the most stunning pieces that came from the collection are an Edwardian empire waist gown that cleverly comes paired with wool sleeve military jacket sleeves and a beautiful gold dress with shearling outerwear sleeves that exudes a sexiness that commands attention. However, dresses weren’t the only thing Ms. Wang had in store for her collection. Various different aspects commanded equal praise through the collection. One important piece that comes to mind is a beautiful ensemble featuring a delicate blouse with exaggerated proportions topped off with a shearling capelet that was grounded by a beautifully tailored pair of French legion style military pants.
The new king of Parisian design has once again outdone himself for his fall 2017 collection. I remember when a young Simon Porte Jacquemus began showing his collections in Paris. His designs seemed extremely easy going and effortless in comparison to the taught (and sometimes pretentious) standards that Paris demands of its designers. However, the idea of a young self-taught designer pushing through the fashion status quo to present original and inspired ideas was quite exhilarating. This season, Simon struck gold again with another solid collection based on the love story between a rich Parisian woman and a gypsy man from the south of France. The collection features Jacquemus’s tell-tale simplicity, which, as always, tells a far more interesting story than something with unnecessary glitz and sparkle. The collection is riddled with effortlessly fashionable “French-isms” like the simple Napoleon hats and the large gold brooches, that all bring us back to the iconic houses on Place Vendôme that put Paris on the fashion map. Apart from the all-around well-designed clothing, Jacquemus still manages to add his signature touches to the collection in the form of outstanding tailoring that plays on the brand’s fun-loving take on tailoring. Some of the best looks in this collection are the simplest in terms of design and styling — a black coat with a built-in peplum waist and suit ensemble that slightly twists at the waist.
A lot of people (myself included) are beginning to become weary and tired of seeing Vetements-isms riddle the runway. It seems as if every designer and their mother are pumping out their own alternatives to the elongated sleeve, oversized everything, puffer-jackets, oversized logo everything. The list goes on and on at this point. Now Off-White is one of those brands that sprang up with the insurgence of the streetwear dominated industry, so it came as no surprise when the brand had its fair share of Vetements inspired pieces in its collection. Fortunately, this season came with a wonderful surprise, designer Virgil Abloh createda fantasy world that echoed the modern freshness of the Off-White client while standing far enough away from any of the overused trends of the past two seasons. His collection left a lasting impression by just exhibiting well made and well put together ensembles that stay relevant to French design and European trends. Two exciting trend that was easily spotted on the Off-White runway was Prince-of-Wales check and denim; the two was intricately mixed with one another to create a complementing look that nestled somewhere in between casual elegance and sports chic. In the end, some visible Vetements-isms were still in the collection, like the mini puffer and hoodie, but they were toned down and given relevant and refreshing reimaging that made sense with the collection, rather than fighting it.
Miuccia Prada never fails to wow me. While some designers opt for taking the ideas they presented for their main brands and just altering them for their side ventures, Miuccia consistently delivers news and separate ideas for Miu Miu that only ever rarely echo what Prada is doing at the time. She understands that Miu Miu girl is not her Prada girl and both women need clothing that best represents them, not a mishmash of “either or“. This season, Miuccia created a candy coloured whirlwind for Miu Miu’s fall 2017 collection. The collection, which showcased fur-clad twenty-somethings flouncing down the runway in 60s inspired outfits (an ode to the ladies that launched the first wave of feminism maybe?) presented an interesting and relevant idea. “I am a woman, a Miu Miu woman, and I’m here to be seen!” As every woman should be, which is refreshing in a moment where women’s empowerment is being expressed by how masculine she can dress. The best examples of the what Miuccia is trying to express with feminine strength come later in the show when silky mini dresses were decorated with 3-D fuzzy flowers, wild 60s prints created a strong and imposing silhouette, and pastel coloured furs left a soft yet dominating impression on the viewer.
I remember distinctly ranting and raving about this collection to our Editor-in-Chief Drew Brow whilst sipping a beer at Toronto Men’s Fashion week. The exact words I used were “I don’t think I’ve cried watching a runway show in such a long time! I was fanning my eyes Drew, I was so emotional!” And it’s true. It really has been years since a designer’s collection made me feel emotional enough to feel my eyes water, but that was exactly the case at Undercover this season. Designer Jun Takahashi presented what may be his magnum opus for Undercover at Paris fashion week last week. The collection was a cornucopia of beautiful looks that were meant to represent the residents of a kingdom or utopia built on extravagance and elegance. Now, while other designers have been rushing to pump out trend heavy and streetwear relivant collections it seems that Jun is in no way, shape, or form willing to water down his vision to accommodate the status quo. His collection was a remarkable ode to the days of Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix, and John Galliano at Dior. Where designers were more interested in telling a story through a collection rather than creating a collection whose sole purpose is to feed the retail industry’s need for new trends every season. But enough about the technicalities of the collection, because the clothing far outshines any written explanation that can be given to describe it. There were knitted gowns with accordion sleeves, and draped and gather military coats, velvet pie crust bomber jackets, oversized cable-knit dresses, beautifully printed opera coats, and a queen wearing and accordion pleated ball gown skirt that outshone anything that has been presented on the runway in the past few years. To be completely honest with everyone, no words I write can express the beauty of this collection in all of its regal glory. I implore you to watch the runway video of the show to see just exactly what I’m talking about. You can thank me later.
Before Emmanuel Farré came to Toronto from France, most Torontonians didn’t know about the art of patina or dyeing art.
This self-taught artist paints leather goods to give them a unique and subtle elegant look. He transforms natural leather with a tan, light coloured base into made-to-order, one-of-a-kind pieces, which Canadian luxury brand Maison Patina uses to create handbags, travel accessories, shoes, and bags. Originally exclusively available at the Paris-based menswear boutique, Loding — 133 Avenue Road, Sherway Gardens, and First Canadian place —, Farré’s collection of patina bags and cigar cases will now be available at Betty Hemmings Leathergoods.
I met Farré at the Maison Patina’s launch at Betty Hemmings Leathergoods in Yorkville.
In his lavender shirt and gold vest with a paint-stained apron, a yellow tie, and a retro cap, he looked exactly like the man from Maison Patina website. He was drawing on a piece of leather in front of guests taking pictures of him and holding glasses of champagne.
As both his hands were stained with paints, Farré didn’t shake mine. But when he stood up, I was able to examine his shoes — dyed with gold paint.
Farré told me about his inspiration and experience of working in Toronto.
Sveta:Hi Emmanuel, thank you for demonstrating your art. Do you always do it by yourself or do you have someone who helps?
Emmanuel: The dyeing process is done by myself. And I’m working here in Toronto with Loding shop who’s doing the assembly (shoes, bags, passport holders, etc.). So they give me the piece of leather, the templates. I do my dyeing process and after that it’s going to the Loding shop for assembly. And you know we don’t have many people who are doing it in the world… maybe 60 or 80.
S:You’ve showed your art in France and the U.S. Do you remember your first impressions of Toronto?
E: The difference is, in France and Europe the patina art is a part of their culture. The people who came to me in France already knew what they wanted. Here, it was really confusing for me in the beginning when people were asking me all the time what my feeling was, my advice. So I like to say I’m acting a little bit like a doctor. I need to talk to my customers to understand what they are looking for and why they want to go inside the patina process. So it’s more like an intimate conversation between me and my customer.
S:So there was no such a thing as patina in Toronto before you?
S:Do you dye only brand new shoes or do you paint customers’ shoes too?
E: I expand my services to many things. A lot of customers bring me their own shoes and I change their colour. Also I do something that I call ‘scratch service’.
S: ‘Scratch service’? What is that?
E: Every day you can scratch your shoes or damage them. And I can match and fix them. But you have to keep in mind that the leather has life. Every leather is different because it’s coming from the beast actually. So if you are asking me for the same colour it won’t be the same colour. When the leather is dyed, you will always have some difference.
S:What inspires you?
E: I would like to say, just open your eyes. One of my last patina was inspired by autumn leaves. That crazy red, yellow that you have inside the leaves. I can also get inspired by metal roofs with bricks. Nature is inspiring to me. For example, an insect on a flower has a mix of colours you can’t imagine.
S:And what is your inspiration behind the new collection?
E: Right now the main colour that you can see here is more like a blue and, with the starchings, orange-yellow. I like to use the wood effect with a combo of yellow and dark. And you can see on the brush that it really looks like the wood. And I play with some red. It’s like antique Chinese furniture.
S: Those colours look so bright! How do your customers choose them?
E: Here, you can see the main 12 colours that I like to work with, and they can give inspiration to the customer. You have some pink, you have some orange, some gold, bronze, green….(Farré goes through the templates). So everyone can find the colour they like.
S:What is the main element in your products? Style? Comfort?
E: It’s a balance. Work that I’m doing is like cooking, so it’s always a matter of proportions. It’s not burning too much, dark dye to this point… (Farré explains with a shoe in his hand)
S:I like your shoes. Did you paint them too?
E: Yes, of course. I paint all of my shoes.
S:What are your plans for the future?
E: I would like to expand my business. Leather is everywhere. It’s endless. Right now, I’ve just finished the bag and I’m already thinking about the next idea and where I can produce my work. A dream of mine that I’ve never realized is doing the seat inside a car.
S:Thank you for that amazing conversation and showing me your art.
Oh the Parisian pharmacie. The one secret that Parisiennes willingly admit about their infamously effortless beauty routines. The devotion that Parisians have to the pharmacie is generations deep, faithfully maintaining beauty secrets from parents and grandparents. Because really, an effortless beauty routine means investing in your skin and haircare regimes; simply, invest in the fundamentals. Recent Shoppers renovations (fancy ones!) have made ample shelf space for a wide range of French products. Look closely, and for these right products, and you could stock your cabinet like Jeanne Damas, Garance Doré, and Caroline de Maigret.
Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution
This make up remover is just wonderful. It does not sting the eyes, it has zero scent, and is not irritating on sensitive skin. And it does the job very well. It removes make up without excessive elbow grease, while also removing dirt and pollution from walking around the streets of Paris, erm…Toronto. I meant Toronto.
La Roche-Posay Toleraine Riche Moisturizer
A good, daily moisturizer is the key to your skin routine, especially during the dry winter months. This is good for at night use because of the shea butter, something to repair the skin after a long day.
Lancôme Hypnose Mascara
In How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are, Caroline de Maigret recommends Lancôme’s Grandiose mascara, which is great but I am going to recommend Hypnose instead. It’s brilliant because it manages to stay on all day without gather a shadow beneath the lower lash region, while easily coming off with cleanser and water (no need to tug your eyelashes off). I also find that it gives the lashes a nice lift if you apply a layer, wait 10 second for it to dry, and then apply another layer.
Avène Cleanance Gel
The smell is great, it doesn’t dry out your skin, and it is a lovely shade of blue. I’ve used this consistently since high school and have found it has kept my skin clear since then. The best bit about it is that you only need to use a tiny amount each time, so it lasts a long time.
Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm
I was hesitant to buy lip balm for $17 when my go-to Vaseline Rosy Lips was in the next aisle for $3.99, but this lip balm from Nuxe is on another level. It goes on thick, so I recommend putting it on once in the morning and once at night. The first few applications will make your lips peel a bit, but then your lips are like butter. Soft, French butter.
KloraneDry Shampoo with Oat Milk
Now this here is your key to that hair. You know, the messy, chic hair. The hair with je ne c’est quois. Unbrush, unfussed, yet clean. This is your tool to that second day, messy hair of the Parisienne. It is especially great if you have bangs, which seem to be on a grease cycle of their own.
Remember, each Shoppers location is a touch different (renovations may change that) and may have different selections. In my opinion, the location at Bloor-Yonge has the best stocked beauty section and the best selection of these French beauty products in particular. Bonne chance!