Saturday, September 12, 2015

KNIT WIT

At the AMBI2015 Inaugural Gala in my Mark Fast dream dress. 

Mark Fast is Canada's best export; better than oil, vehicles or cereals (yes, apparently we export large quantities of that ?!) While not readily recognizable to some, he is well known to the likes of Rihanna and Beyonce who are both customers and fans. He's beyond sweet and kind and even told the Daily Mail once he would NEVER think of paying a celebrity to sit in his front row but would  "...rather spend the money on the work itself." Add integrity and pure artistry to his list of admirable qualities.

Mark moved to London in 2002 to study at Central Saint Martins. He's untouchable when it comes to designing body-con knits. His textures and ability to transform granny's wool into tomorrows gala gown is nothing short of reMARKable. 
For the Inaugural AMBI2015 Gala at this year's TIFF2015, I knew a Mark Fast runway piece was in order. This dress is from his A/W 2013 collection. The skirt was an impossibly light creation that appeared to be ostrich feathers, but was actually made from fringed and feathered yarn. Such a smartie pants is Mark. It's a brilliant technique, that looks super sumptuous. Nobody does knitwear like Mark. Kinda funny that the boy from Winnipeg Manitoba rules as king of knits.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

MRS. HILTON CHECKS IN

(From left) Rick Hilton, Kathy Hilton (in Chanel), Graham Alloway (my hubby), and yours truly in an Isabel Marant Jacket and a Maison Martin Margiela silver choker. Photo: Korby Banner
My beautiful friend, Kathy Hilton, popped in to Toronto this Spring. She was here to act as Honorary Chair for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre BELIEVE IN FASHION event, featuring a runway show by Canadian grown superstar designer Erdem Moraglioglu. (For those who need to know it's ER-dem Moralee-oh-glue). 


Kathy wore a lemon yellow Valentino lace effect dress to the event. She is a classic beauty who, btw, does her own hair and makeup. I just love that she flies so under the radar. Photo: Korby Banner
I first got to know Kathy and her husband Rick Hilton when I lived in LA several years ago. We knew each other through mutual friends, and I ended up working at her decadent store on Sunset Plaza called "The Staircase". She was always so generous of self which is such a rare quality that when you meet someone like that it really resonates with you.  I have encountered those who write very large six figure cheques for various causes, attend all the right fundraising galas and are therefore labelled philanthropists. With the right resources, anyone can make a donation, but I don't think that makes you a philanthropist. Kathy is a humanitarian in the true sense of the word. Jet lag...what jet lag? She tirelessly campaigned for the cause for 48 hours non-stop, making TV appearance after TV appearance, skipping sit down lunches to get the job done. And when interviewers attempted to do some off road discussion of Kathy's well known friends and family, she gracefully navigated the discourse  back to the cause. 
Mrs. Hilton was a media darling: (Clockwise from top) Breakfast Television with Dina Pugliese,  ET Canada with Roz Weston, Etalk, and Entertainment City with Brad Smith.
Everyone who met her, doctors, photographers, TV personalities, was captivated. She also insisted on touring the Bras Drug Development Program facility at Princess Margaret Hospital so that she could speak intelligently about the specific area for which she was raising awareness.  Scoring a Princess Margaret lab coat at the time, she shed the Chanel and instead wore the lab coat for all her on air interviews to further promote the cause. Her style is nothing short of sensational, but it's so much more than the designer labels and brilliant jewellery she wears. How she carries herself, her sharp sense of humour and her ability to really be in the moment and make a personal connection with each individual she meets, are what make this woman American Royalty. She knows who she is and is very much aware of the cachet she can lend an event, but that celebrity doesn't define her. Audrey Hepburn said that "true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.". Kathy Hilton is all that and then some, and I am honoured to call her my friend.

On a much more materialistic note, I wore a fantastic Erdem strapless dress to the event. The fabric was a delicious1960s brocade he had rewoven. I couldn't stop stroking it. I knew his theme for the s/s2014 collection was "school girl gone bad" so I decided a garland of black roses as a headpiece would work well. Gayle Osaduke at Hatsmade (www.hatsmade.com) fabricated it especially for me. Some rock'n roll Haider Ackermann shoes worked perfectly to keep the vibe. The designer was so humble and sweet. It's such a treat to meet and chat with an artistic genius like Erdem. He entirely approved of my styling choices and even asked me personal questions like "Do you like the length of the hidden corset?". Blissful time.
In Erdem dress and Haider Ackermann shoes with the man himself...Erdem. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

ABOUT A DRESS

This story picks up in January when I knew I had to secure a dress for the fab Zac Posen event in Toronto, held at the end of April 2014. Back in January I spied a beauty of a gown on Moda Operandi's VINTAGE VANGUARD collection (www.modaoperandi.com).
Zac Posen and model Karen Elson for Moda Operandi's Vintage Vanguard. Photo courtesy of VOGUE.

Karen Elson is a personal friend of Zac Posen and is passionately involved in an incredible charity called Dress for Success, (www.dressforsuccess.org) along with L.A. filmmaker and vintage clothing aficionado, Liz Goldwyn.The proceeds from the sale of the pieces went to the charity. The VINTAGE VANGUARD auction was curated by Moda Operandi's Lauren Santo Domingo. Karen Elson and Liz Goldwyn donated several pieces from their personal vintage collections and had various top tier designers "re-imagine" them. 
Liz Goldwyn, in a "re-imagined" Gregory Parkinson tie dye V-neck column dress,  Karen Elson in my Zac Posen sequinned and beaded ball dress and Zac Posen for Vintage Vanguard.
So here we started out with a beaded vintage top that Karen wore back in the day when she and Zac would boogie it up in NYC. Zac added miles of crinoline and tulle to transform it into a dark Cinderella kind of gown. I knew I had to have it.
At the NYC Zac Posen atelier.
After the big buy, off I flew to Zac's atelier to get a fitting (admittedly I'm not the same measurements as Karen Elson...lol). It was tricky to do because of the vintage beading which we had to work around as we shortened the bodice and hem.
Strategically placed safety pins indicate areas that needed shortening.
Sonia Traika and Simon de Beaupre are two of the genius talents at the atelier and they made sure the fit was exact. I sensed I was in the hands of perfectionists...guess that's why they are Zac peeps.
Sonia Traika (second from left) and Simon de Beaupre (far right).
Meanwhile back in Canada...I had to determine how I would style the dress. I knew Zac's S/S2014 collection was heavily influenced by historical French stage and film actress, Sarah Bernhardt. She really hit her stride during the Belle Epoque period. One of her most infamous roles was as the lead in Theodora, Empress of the Byzantium, wherein she dons this massive headpiece. I asked the super talented Gail Osaduke at www.hatsmade.com to fashion a headpiece that incorporated that Belle Epoque aesthetic, along with the "Modern American Glamour" theme of the evening.
Sarah Bernhardt was a French stage and early film actress in the late 1800s.
Now for the big reveal...



 



I was so pleased with the vibe. It was exactly what I was after. The dress, complete with requisite Posen corseting (deep breath), was divine.

In a serendipitous case of irony, Zac invited Lauren Santo Domingo to jet to Toronto to act as the evening's Honorary Chair. The same Lauren Santo Domingo who curated the Vintage Vanguard collection on her Moda Operandi e-store.
Lauren Santo Domingo, me, and Zac Posen.
Lauren was so tickled to see me in the gown. We took a bundle of pictures to send to Karen and Liz. American Vogue's Hamish Bowles was also at the event and crossed the room to let me know he knew the origins of the gown, and loved my styling choices. Swoon. That was indeed a "this just got real" life moment. 



I like to refer to this dress as a "PAY IT FORWARD" garment. I bought the dress because I wanted an original Zac Posen piece to wear at his Toronto event. Zac only came to Toronto because I brought the event organizer with me to meet him in May 2013, when I visited his atelier as part of a Charity Buzz auction item. The atelier visit was representative of Zac's personal donation to benefit the rebuild after hurricane Sandy. Schematic diagram illustrating same coming soon...
  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sweet and Salty Sweatshirts

Sweaty ladies: (left to right) Gisele strolls Manhattan in Kenzo's single eye sweat top; Christopher Kane's S/S2014 runway; stylist and former model Hanneli Mustaparta at Paris fashion week.
I remember the first time I sprinkled M&Ms on my movie theatre popcorn. My mind was literally blown...it shouldn't have worked but it was fabulous. Exactly the feeling I had when I saw the street style shots from New York, Paris and London wherein 90's style sweatshirts were hooking up with tailored skirts, skinny jeans, heeled sandals and single soled pointy pumps. It was as if worlds had collided and Friday night out was now partnering with Saturday morning in. Just like the chocolate complimented the buttery saltiness, the humble frump of the sweatshirt compliments the acute fit of a sharp mid-length skirt and a Swiss-Army-knife sleek shoe. Ditto the effect when the shapeless upper is bottomed out with skinny jeans or an elegant ladylike skirt. 
Helmut Lang's leather luxe sweatshirt (left), Clover Canyon's prismatic version (right).
Designers have really embraced the trend and given us plenty of candy-bar colour choice beyond locker room grey: liquorice black in leather at Helmut Lang, hot tamale red at APC or snow cone white with contrast blue sleeves at Equipment. The more daring of us can wander further afield with Kenzo's single eye or Clover Canyon's graphic kaleidoscope. Pick one up now and fearlessly hang on to it for Spring/Summer because it also works when paired with structured leather shorts or denim cutoffs. For his S/S2014 collection, Christopher Kane sent his darlings down the catwalk in blinged out cut out sweatshirts with silky elegant skirts.  Again, the duality was miraculously refreshing. To mimic this effect right now, add a glittery statement necklace, and a sweatshirt over top a summery slip dress, don some suede booties and prepare to embrace your sporty self.
Street style sweats: (left to right) with an architectural skirt, punking with plaid, ladylike lace and statement necklaces.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ahem: Where is your Hemline Hitting?

Midway on the runway AW2013 as seen at (left to right): Victoria Beckham, Celine and Haider Ackermann.
It's time to raid your closet and ask yourself this compelling question. The current hemline for skirts, the one to be wearing right now, is the midi. It started last year, when houses like Miu Miu went full on midi for SS2013. At the AW2013 collections (shown in February/March), it was the only length the frowers were wearing. This season it has really arrived. No longer dowdy, today's midi skirt is sleek, feminine and surprisingly sexy. Credit the likes of Mrs Beckham, Sienna M and Carine Roitfeld for giving midis their  sultry seals of approval and thereby propelling them to superstar status. 
Playing the Hitchcock heroine: Victoria Beckham in he own design, Sienna Miller at LFW last September and Carine Roitfeld in Balenciaga in Paris.
The best ones hit mid to lower calf, and either hug the body all the way there, or offer a slight surprise of a flare towards the end. Color choices abound from the season's dusty roses, to midnight blues or the fail safe stormy black. On a practical note, a midi skirt takes you from daytime to evening seamlessly. The only paramount "don't" is "Don't skip a heel". Midis demand heel height of some sort, and miss the mark when they duet with flats. On cooler days, mimic the catwalks and pair your midi with a pony texture, single sole bootie and piece of over sized outerwear, like a cocoon jacket. It's a look that's suggests both a ladylike sensibility with a good dose of steam; think Hitchcockian icy chic like Tippi Hedron only minus all those bothersome birds.

Roadtest
I did a day to night look by combining a black lycra Haider Ackermann midi with a vintage YSL peasant blouse and a pair of suede Haider Ackermann sandals. The peek-a-boo slit in the back of this skirt keeps it slinky without being overdone.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Terriers: Oh My!

Animal graphic sweaters and sweat shirts are an easy way to update your casual look in a jiffy. They're PETA approved and take solid separates or denim from meh to (to quote Seinfeld's Kenny Bania)"Gold Jerry, gold!". Who wouldn't love the raw fierceness of Givenchy's Rottweiler tee, especially as seen on the likes of Liv Tyler? Buyer beware: this is a trend that may be in for now but don't blink because it will be over and done with by January. 

ROAD TEST

Personally, I'm a little less savage than Ms Tyler, so my choice was an adorable Terrier on a grey cotton/wool blend 525America sweater. I decided to give ghetto fabulous a try and added a Lanvin beanie, R13 boyfriends, Thierry Lasry sunnies, a Rick Owens scarf shawl and Guiseppe Zanotti open toe booties. I'm thinking my bite was just as big as my bark. Grrr.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What a Waist of an Outfit

At 3.1 Phillip Lim, models tied one on, on the runway.
There was a time...back in the day...when tying a garment of clothing at the waist was a perfectly acceptable practice. Then came Y2K and we all embraced a sense of pristine put togetherness. Good news; that 90's vibe of grunge-ish nonchalance has once again resurfaced, and is the ideal way to season a middle-of-the-road outfit with a bohemia flavour. A few points to keep in mind in order to pull off the unstudied vibe:LENGTH AND POSITIONING ARE KEYThe tied shirt or sweater must reach your knees. Also, you'll have to determine if you want it tight to the waist (tailored) or relaxed on the hips (grunge).
Nicole Richie demonstrates how length and hip action work together to create the profile.
PLAID IS BAD (THE GOOD KIND OF BAD)Bold plaid prints work very well, especially with denims. 
Love how Candice Swanepoel pairs plaid with white skinnies. 
TRY IT WITH A MAXIThis look works so well with a longer maxi dress. It's legit, lengthening and oh so handy in case you get a chill.
There is so much that's good here: contrast of patterns and weights for starters.
IT TAKES SOME THOUGHT TO LOOK SO THOUGHTLESSLY CHICIf you are in solids, you have a choice. Mismatching will read grunge; colour coordinating will come off a a bit more refined. If you opt for denim with denim make certain you pair light with dark. 
MK Olsen's plaid shirt + floral mini+ dicker boots = grunge perfection.  
ATTITUDE REALLY IS EVERYTHINGYou can not possibly pull this look off without a whole lotta swagger.  
Ciara gets it right with a plaid shirt and a big attitude.
ROAD-TEST
Having tried out the look in a number of ways my fave version by far was the top left - an entirely mismatched approach with a side of swagger.


Monday, September 2, 2013

White Away Dahling

Paris Vogue's Emmanuelle Alt (front of the line) and one of her minions work white jeans in   Paris' chilly February air.
Today is Labor Day. For some, this day marks a return to school studies. For others, like myself, it usually marks the time of year the whites (shoes, pants, skirts) are relegated to the rear of the closet until some time near the end of next May. It's been a fashion unspoken rule adhered to as strictly as "never wear stockings with open-toed shoes". So imagine my dazed and confused state when I spied the fashion doyenne, Emmanuelle Alt (the Paris VogueEmmanuelle Alt), wearing (gasp!) white jeans in February. Leave it to her ALTerior trail blazing nature to take an ancient fashion "must not" and smash it to bits. 
Paired with one of this A/W's animal prints
and black boots, white jeans  rock.
As seen here (again) on Emmanuelle Alt.
Geraldine Saglio, Emmanuelle Alt's right
hand girl, pairs whites with a
tied-at-waist oxford shirt and black heeled booties.



Here, Geraldine Saglio does a black leather jacket,
a cobalt t-shirt and black booties with the white jean.

Amazingly, as I searched the web for other white jean gate crashers, I grew more and more intrigued at the fresh crisp nature of a pale pant finding its home among heavier winter garb. Rather than out of place, they appear to be the perfect foil to a warm coat and dark ankle boots. At the same time, I was able to formulate a few effective strategies employed by Ms. Alt and her blanched comrades, including fashion power  girls like Kate Moss and SJP. 
1. Go for masculine pairings up top: a men's oxford shirt, a duffle coat, a boxy boyfriend sweater.
2. Animal prints work surprisingly well with white jeans in cooler months.
3. Never do a painted on fit. Even in warmer climes, painted on white jeans will read "striperella". It is especially essential that your winter white jeans give you room to breathe.

4. Ankle boots or single sole pumps with a pointed toe work well as your anchors. The more feminine and smouldering, the better. 
5. Boot cut and crops don't "cut it". The best style to really emulate Emmanuelle's devil-may-care chicesque attitude is a slight relaxed fit, just below the ankle, skinny cut. It's a well known fact that her favorites are Top Shop's "Baxter". An excellent choice indeed, although I find DL 1961's "Angels"  suitable contenders.
Alt's winter wardrobe includes sky high
ultra feline black booties and quilted thigh
grazing jackets to compliment her white jeans
.















Kate Moss uses animal print, a grey sweater 
and a fringed bag with black boots 
to offset her whities.

Sarah Jessica Parker shows herself to be a fan of the white jean after Labor Day. Two of her three takes (below) work for me. #1:The rolled cuff with the pointy single sole pump and longer coat is very 16th arondissment. #2:The riding boot with the sweater, vest, and fingerless gloves delivers unashamed country chic. But #3: the last take, a longer oversized belted sweater, massive scarf and desert boots in neutral tones (with a neon bag?) just reads schloppy.




x

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Catching Up

Summer Days: Relaxing in my Bikini Lovers bandeau, Cartier aviators and J.Crew hat.

Well hello there. Apologies for being out of sight and out of touch for so long. Had to iron out some wrinkles with the blog and am happy to report all is pressed and crisp; ready to wear. Kinda ironic that my last post was that iconic shot of JLaw tripping up the stairs at the Oscars. Just as she picked herself up and moved on, so is Sparkles and Feathers and Newsprint. You will notice some changes as well...mostly the tone will be a little less serious and a little more conversational. After all, we're old friends now, aren't we?
Rather than simply skim over my closet activities since March (what?), I'm going to do a fashion flash and catch everyone up in a jiffy. Hold on to your hangers...
MAY
What a great month May was. It began with a personal visit to the NYC atelier of renaissance man Zac Posen. He is such a multi-faceted talent: his clothing is above and beyond but did you know he also cooks like he's America's answer to Jamie Oliver? He creates floral arrangements with the artistry of Monet. Just check out his Instagram if you doubt me. We also enjoyed a very different Japanese dinner at one of his regular hangouts in the Village. I have never tasted black cod like that: delish!
Zac's A/W collection is so drool worthy. His fabrics and workmanship had me spellbound.



Posing with Posen: I know why he's a fan favourite on Project Runway. 



For A/W 2013 Zac did this sensational bustier (left) and trumpet skirt (above) both with a winter floral pattern. The fabric was like a rich antique velvet...so tactile. I wanted to rub it on my cheeks. I didn't. 








(Below) I was in lust with this strapless gown. It was a mesmorizing shade of silvery pewter. The sparkly detail was hand painted onto it. Oh the craftsmanship...the artistry!

I had so much fun trying on some of Zac's Resort 2014 dresses. It was like one of those montages in an Amanda Bynes movie. For the visit and dinner at one of Zac's "village favourite Japanese restaurants", I wore head to toe Ann Demeulemeester: shorts, jacket and shoes. 

Back home again, I wore (SS2012) Prabal Gurung (and A/W2013 Louboutin booties) to attend a Christian Louboutin exhibit opening at Toronto's Design Exchange. Wowzer. Stellar exhibit, especially if you love the red soled shoe as much as I do. One of my gfs said if she met him, she'd like to slap him in order to even the score for those years of torment to her toes, but I am happy to report that when she did do a meet and greet, she totally behaved herself.
Prabal Gurung dress and Christian Louboutin pink suede booties. for the DX Toronto Louboutin Exhibit Opening.




























JUNE
My favorite month of summer found me in Florida. This was also the month I discovered Bikini Lovers amazellent bikinis from Italy (www.bikinilovers.it) They are not too $$$ and look sooo good. Kudos to Italian style bomb Anna Dello Russo who turned me on to them. Love. Perhaps too much, because I think I now own about five. When you find a superlative bikini fit for your body, I say grab a few.
A few of my favourite Bikini Lovers (www.bikinilovers.it) bikinis: butterflies, orange and purple paisley top with solid black bottom. 
JULY
July found me returning to my old stomping ground of Los Angeles California. I really love the laid back vibe of L.A. It is totally acceptable to spend the better half of the day in your gym attire, as long as you are carrying the requisite cold pressed juice accessory. Los Angeles is where the film industry is headquartered for very good reason: the weather. It's a fashionistas dream climate - not too hot and not too cold. I took full advantage of that and rocked many of my favourite summer pieces.   
Lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel: Isabel Marant top, belt and pants. Celine "Edge" bag, Sunnettes glasses, Givenchy shoes.

AUGUST
The second week of August, I flew to Quito, Ecuador and travelled to a small city 2 hours south called Ambato. I was with a group called MMI (www.mmint.org) and we were setting up pop up medical clinics in some of the very poor villages there. I had the opportunity to work as a triage nurse. So humbling. The people of Ecuador have stolen my heart for sure... beautiful inside and out. Yes, of course I had a chance to shop while there, at a local market run by the indigenous people. The Alpaca sweater I bought is soft as kittens yet so very warm. And keep a look out for my hooded blue poncho in a fall/winter "look of the day": bohemian gorgeousness.
My Alpaca sweater paired with scrubs. Actually not seen here was the stethascope I usually accessorised with around my neck. I really loved the scrubs. They should be marketed as "mom pants", as they have zillions of mini pockets to hold a variety of kid-friendly items. Hmmmm...
This is Betty. She worked with our group as a translator. She is from a small village called Salasaca (isn't that a great name?). I was obsessed with her daily dress (she changed her jewellery daily). Very John Galliano circa 2001. Use your zoom function to check out her necklaces, earrings, and broach. Paired with the sweater, poncho and black maxi skirt the look was so chic. Love.
Well that's about all the catching up we really need to do. Be certain not to forget about the other tabs on this site which have also been updated. I am so excited for A/W2013. It's going to be nothing short of brill!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oscars 2013: Wrap Up

I am neither an art director nor in the business of public relations, but if I was...does it get any better than this?
Art Director's Dream: the iconic tumble courtesy of Dior clad Jennifer Lawrence.


Is it just me or did Anne Hathaway look like she made all of her "Oscar night" dresses in Home Ec 101?
Anne Hathaway in (from left) Saint Laurent at the Vanity Fair party, Prada for the awards show and Armani for the Les Mis number.


Jen got it backwards this year...she did a warm dress with cool highlights in her hair. In 2009 she did a cool dress with warm highlights.
Wearing a column Valentino metallic dress in 2009 (left). This year in a red Valentino (right), Jennifer Aniston missed her mark.


Jessica Chastain practices her poses in front of a mirror (strategic placement for hand wave, weight on back foot, chin down), while Kerry Washington (hand shadowing face, rounded shoulders, unfocused gaze) clearly does not.
Jessica Chastain (left) strikes a picture perfect pose, while Kerry Washington (right) needs more mirror time.
Charlize Theron is our new girl crush. She has immaculate style (love her less-is-more Dior), is one out of 1,000,000 women who looks gorgeous with little to no hair, dances like Ginger Rogers (who knew?), and doesn't take herself too seriously (her "annoyed" face at Seth McFarlane's off-colour song was filmed the day before as part of the shtick).
Clockwise from top left: grace and fluidity with Channing Tatum, "playing" disgusted, flawless on the carpet, the face that sold a million bottles of perfume, rehearsing her bit with Tatum the day before.
Halle and Jane...Message from Alexis Carrington: "No matter how hard you try you'll never be good enough for Blake." (Alexis throws drink at both)
Halle Berry (left) in and Jane Fonda (right) both in Versace are a little too 80's for our palette.
Keeping in mind that "most improved" doesn't translate to "best" but rather...largest reform, Fan Bingbing earned the title this year. She was too much of everything on the red carpet in her Marchesa, but managed redemption in her Elie Saab at the after parties. Just wish she'd deflated that tire on her head...
Fan Bingbing: Too rich and filling (left). Lighter and less syrupy sweet.(right).