Monday, October 08, 2012

Jocelyn Picard - LYN


The above link is a videography profile I produced a while back with my cameraman-pal, Jon. I came up with the title, "Intersections" for the series because with fashion, I am most interested in where and how ideas intersect. I delight in the work of designers who see fashion first, as ideas, not commodities. For this webisode, I interviewed Jocelyn Picard, the Québecois, Montréal-based designer behind, Lyn. His work interests me because he skillfully deconstructs everything (the dress, the hat, the scarf), while playing with the idea of knitting too. Knitting is something associated with tradition, gray-hair, and tea. Picard as you'll see in the video, is far from that description.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Radio Raji

Ladies and Jellybeans!

I've been quite busy on the radio front this summer, doing Arts and Culture reporting as the daily columnist on a morning show on CBC Radio One in Montreal. Hence the break in blogging of the last several months. This will be followed by a stint in training for television broadcasting. As my schedule balances out I'll be back, but til then, un petit pause.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Product Talk - a reader request

My sweet maman doesn’t wear makeup. She doesn’t need to, and never has. Her lifelong practice of meditation and yoga, smoke and drink-free vegetarian diet (and no doubt, genes!) have made her skin radiant. Beyond the rare application of a lipstick, I’ve never known her to apply anything to her face. And her glowing skin thanks her for it, but also, so does her lifestyle. Imagine the thousands of dollars and hours she has saved, not to mention the vanity-free attitude she has enjoyed because of it. She’s never worn mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, concealer, foundation etc. Makeup is a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, isn’t it? One uses makeup to hide flaws and enhance features and yet, doing so tends to damage the skin in the process.

Despite my mother’s saintly example, I on the other hand, do indulge in the slightest bit of makeup, though I keep it simple. (I recently got asked by not one but TWO readers about what I do for my skin, alors...on y va!). I love Dr. Hauschka’s natural creams and I swear by the organic  Prodigious Oil by NUXE and use it on my everything; face, neck, nails, legs, and even my long mane of curls. 

The Body Shop (remember them?) is still around, and they’ve revamped their product offerings including an easy natural and mineral line of makeup. The Bodyshop Hemp handwash and Brazilian almond hand cream are deliciously rich.

But the grand prize in buoying vanity naturally goes to Lariese. I discovered this all-natural skincare line on my recent trip to Sydney, Australia where I met with the son of the chemist and designer who started the line. The company's objectives are clear: all-natural, effective, luxurious products. The 100% pure organic Argan oil by Lariese is my favorite product e-v-e-r.  Use it on wet or dry hair, straight or curly: it protects hair and gives it natural bounce. And, drum roll please, it doesn't even contain any silicones i.e.) plastic coating for the hair,  (ahem, Shu Uemura Essence Absolue!). Alas, you can't buy Lariese products anywhere in Canada, hint  hint local distributers!

Admittedly, perfume isn't really "skincare" and yet allow me this one last indulgence and unpaid plug (companies must love fashion bloggers), to share my fave scent. I've pushed all my Prada and Balenciaga bottles to the back of my beauty shelf to make room for "CB Experience" scents from, "I Hate Perfume", a Brooklyn-based company that begins with the premise that, and let's face it, most perfumes are gross; stenchy auras that remind us of old women too done up in layers of lavender and rose-things. My bottle of "In the Summer Kitchen" is airy, light, and unlike any cloud of aromas I've ever waltzed through before.

Ok Spring kittens, with beauty post #1 under my belt, let's not make a habit out of this.

Monday, November 21, 2011

'Kaffeslabberas': Handmade is Best

Erna Christensen, 86, from Kaffeslabberas in conversation with fashion designer Mads Nørgaard
Photograph Mads Emil Hilmer, Courtesy
I've never re-blogged an entire article, but this one about "Knitting Nanas" by Lars Eriksen of the Guardian, deserves it. A sweet story about how a contemporary fashion designer collaborates with local senior women in Denmark, it reminded me of how my own beloved grandmother (a superb knitter and crafty person herself) was commissioned by the Hudson's Bay Company to knit amazingly dense, and sturdy, comfortable, woolen jackets for them in the late-seventies. If on the market now, my guess is that these beauties would likely go for $700-900, but of course, I'm doubtful they fetched that much then.  My grandmother, who spoke all of two words in English, was a perfectionist when it came to anything she made by hand. From food, to clothing, to crafts, she had the midas touch. One of the coats which she made by hand remained (somewhat miraculously!) in circulation among my five siblings. What a far more important heirloom than something manufactured, or preciously ornate and sans character.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

November Diaries - Ann Demeulemeester

Normally, this time of the year has our flat village of a city teeming with red leaves and thinning trees. But Montréal is surprisingly still green for November, and balmy-warm too! I'm still happily biking to work every day, my Dries Van Noten's sliding down my nose. I'm even able to dress in light layers for my ride back home after catching a yoga class (I'm doing the 30 Day Moksha Hot Yoga challenge for the second time this year!).

The warm temperature is finding its way conspicuously in my wardrobe choices too which synchs up conveniently with the fact that I'm still poring over images from the Spring/Summer 2012 collections.  I can't get the moody yet light Ann Demeulemeester SS12 looks out of my head! I find myself incorporating Indian sari-like draping and long and flowy dresses paired with tough footwear or a hat. Here are some of my favorite looks from Ann's SS12 collection...

Portishead, playing outside beneath a clear night sky on 7/10/11 @ Quai Jacques Quartier, Montreal 
While we're on the topic of devastatingly beautiful things that stay in your head... This year I experienced two concerts which have tattooed themselves on the inside of my head and heart: Portishead, and James Blake.  Portishead's lead singer, Beth Gibbons, made me rethink what an artist can be in the field of music. Seriously. And James Blake is the manifestation of the old adage that you have to know what you are doing before you know how to mess with it. He did his version of Joni Mitchell's "A Case Of You", which (I know, not even I can believe I'm saying this!), rivals the original. It's not even that these artists' music has dominated my iPod these days so much as moments from their concerts have been swishing around my mind when everything else is quiet. I'll find myself singing The Rip while I'm cooking or Glory Box while I'm biking.

These striking images and arresting sounds are with me this rollickingly delightful Fall.

O' Happy Fall. What an enchanting time of the year.

Friday, October 28, 2011

YARD666SALE - Picture Puke

It looks like someone ate glowsticks and projectile-vomited neon kitsch everywhere. It's YARD666SALE! Run by Montréal designer (and kind man) Dane Richards and his boyfriend, this vintage Etsy Shop is filled with tacky, sporty, trashy, folky, hippie, 90's duds and is bleeding with color like psychedelic syrup. Get to it. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Galerie Noel Guyomarc'h II - Artist Barb Smith

An installation of lockets by Amelia Toelke, on exhibit at Galerie Noel Guyomarc'h.
I've mentioned my favorite Montréal jewelry shop - Galerie Noel Guyomarc'h - before. Gallerist/owner, Noel, just recently invited Venetia Dale to the shop to put together an exhibition of jewelry and objets d'arts by other artists including the incredible work of New York-based metalsmith, Barb Smith.

An Alex Hibbs sculpture (it sold to an intelligent and striking woman during the opening).
Smith often works with the readymade or found object. From repurposing bobby pins to dryer lint, she creates whimsical reflections on how we interact with everyday items.

Smith's simple series on keys cleverly flips the ubiquitous item from its regular context. A key is altered; elongated, stretched, and morphed into a a kind of visual poem, drawing your attention to the very 'thingness' of the object itself.  You find yourself considering the intended use of a key and our gestures around it. Suddenly you can see how within a single object an entire set of social expectations are implied.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Special Delivery

I couldn't sleep last night because I was thinking about my gorgeous roses I had received. I crept out of bed at 4am to take photos of them! And now I've learned that another delivery is coming later today. A house filled with roses, yes!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Best bag dress - Genevieve Savard

I love this black silk, mullett dress (shorter up front, long at the back). It's by Montréal designer Genevieve Savard with whom I had a fun lil' city sojourn the other night. It's my absolute favorite piece in her collection because it's versatile, unique, and beyond comfy. My only other piece by this designer is my ADORED horse hair necklace.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wearing Morales in FLARE Bloggers' Feature

Iconic Canadian fashion magazine, FLARE, hollered at me as one of their "Favourite Canadian Fashion Bloggers". I'm flattered to be featured on in one of my favorite Canadian-based designers, Morales.
Morales clothing is handmade in designer and artist Renata Morales' atelier, located amidst the inspiring architecture of Old Montréal. I'm pleased that she continues to gain international notoriety, including a recent glowing piece in the NYTimes T Magazine.

I asked Renata how her taste has changed over the course of her career and she said, "I think that I more than ever try to aim for lightness in my clothes, even when they are intense looking."
Detail on Morales dresses takes your breath away, including on this lightweight, ivory and gold sequin frock. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Steven Alan - Quality Control

The downfall of purchasing clothes online is that you can never be too sure of fit until your clothing arrives, and doing mail returns is as dreadful as asking for the bathroom key at a gas station. So when I finally visited the Steven Alan boutiques in New York and LA last year to see the clothes in-person and try them on for size and fit, I was pleased to see that their Made-in-America craftsmanship pays off. Steven Alan makes simple, quality Americana clothing with covetable details. SA is appropriate for 'office casual' but also rough-and-tumble enough for a day in the studio, a picnic in the park, a dance-off. And so a few months ago when several occasions arose including two outdoor summer weddings, I surfed the SA site and called the LA store for more product information and ended up buying an off-white, high-waist, cut-out, lined skirt with a matching crop top. I also ordered several Daisy Tops to wear underneath cardigans. But the clincher (and reason for writing this post!), is that my online and over-the-phone shopping experience with Steven Alan was made even better when the package arrived. All my items were neatly wrapped in a parcel containing a handwritten note from Andrew, the manager at the Los Feliz store. That little gesture guarantees that I will shop SA again for myself, and my styling clients. Quality and care should be present from the first point of exposure of a brand to the very last stage of possible contact. A good label does not take an adoring client for granted. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Raji and the Dream of Horses

Since I was a young lass I've had one recurring theme in dreams at night: wild horses. I see black stallions with their majestic manes flying past me while racing through open fields.  But then they would pop up where they don't belong too, including, running out of elevators onto cubicle'd floors of high-rise buildings. Dream analysis anyone?? I wonder if my wild horse dreams may be what flying dreams are for others...

And yet, I've avoided the powerful imagery of horses in waking life because any obvious representation has seemed too cliché. But every cliché has a potent antidote, doesn't it?

Recently at Pop Montreal's PUCES Pop, I discovered the best incarnation of horsey symbolism that this fashionoid can handle: a long necklace of jet-black braided horse hair linked to vintage chain. I tried it on and was harkened back to my galloping dreams. After my heart found its beat again, I bought it.
The clothing and accessories designer behind my new coveted piece is the über talented, Genevieve Savard.  Yesterday I visited her studio to look at her handiwork more closely and to examine her silk, leather, and hand-dyed cotton garments and leather and horsehair accessories to pull for an upcoming shoot I will be styling.  When examining Savard's masterful work up close, it comes as no surprise that she's from a background in costume design. I can't wait to shoot pieces from her collection! And today, I'm wearing my new necklace for the first time; gonna take that horse hair to a press viewing, and to some styling meetings, including for an upcoming music video I will be working on (woot woot!).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


These beautiful photos are property of Raji Sohal and may not be reproduced without permission.

P A R I S - Part I

   Normally I don't dress so girly but I couldn't resist this handcrafted, millner-made fascinator hairband.
Grinning in Paris on the most beautiful day.
Every time I visit the Louvre I appreciate the glass pyramids... clear, jagged geometry: a running theme in my life.
Got up close and personal with many of Duchamp's works. 
The light at Centre Pompidou 
Resting at Palais Tokyo, watching skaters put the grounds to good use.
Meeting my giant friend.
Museum paparazzi shot. 
Je ne peux pas croire que j'ai presque oublié de partager ces photos de mon voyage a Paris! 

Friday, September 09, 2011

La Semaine de Mode - Montreal Fashion Week SS12 Looks


UNTTLD (design duo comprised by my chums Jose Manuel St. Jacques & Simon Belanger)


 Images source: Bureau de la mode de Montréal | Photographe : Vincenzo D'Alto

Monday, September 05, 2011

Radio One / SdM and Coffee to go Hand-in-Hand

Enjoying my Labour Day latté this morning. YUM.
This morning on CBC Radio One program, Daybreak, I got to talk about the upcoming Semaine de la Mode (Montreal Fashion Week). The mayhem kicks off tomorrow. Looks like I'll be needing a few more of these cup o' joes...

It being Labour Day, I also got to play a lot of music for Radio One listeners this morning, including bands that will be playing the upcoming Pop Montreal Festival (Tune Yards, Random Recipe among others), some PBJ, and some of my friend, Oscar's band, Holiday for Strings

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Christian l'Enfant Roi - SS12 - Masculine Romanticism

Montreal Fashion Week kicks off next week but my boy, Christian l'Enfant Roi, presented his beautiful SS12 collection last night at a grand church in the Plateau. The opulent, pious backdrop was well served by DJ Dan LaFleche who layed tracks down while an opera chanteuse sang live during the show.
Click the image above for video.
The collection could be described as masculine romanticism. The pale, soft palette of colors of the clothes were apparently inspired by hues worn well by Christian's striking, lanky, pale-skinned, white-blonde partner (who also modeled in the show). Pajama-like pieces were an appreciated nod to the loungewear trend, but I could have done without the small-fitting (silk?) onesie that one of the models donned. My favorite pieces include gorgeous, hand-knit shoulder shrugs, bepoke button shirts, and luxe trousers. Everything looked comfortable to wear and charming without appearing too flowery. BRAVO to my chum Christian for another solid showing and an impressively original vision. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Abseentee'ism Explained!

I have been so absentee on my blog, I ought to pay it child support. My excuse is that I have very luckily been on the morning shift as Arts Reporter on the super-duper-awesome morning program on CBC Radio One in Montreal all summer. This means waking at the crack of summer's magic hour: 4:30am. It means stumbling through twilight-lit closets, groping in the depths of my wardrobe for the right texture, or color combination while my coffee machine brews the World's Strongest Espresso in the kitchen and BBC's World Report plays in the background. (That proper English accent delivering the news serves like an extra dose of caffeine!). While I hardly need to look a beauty queen in the studio (and who needs to when the mic doesn't come with a camera?), I still think a little bit of effort is important, especially at that hour - it wakes you up and is a sign to your colleagues that you respect what you do for a living, and that you respect the professionalism of the work environment. It doesn't hurt that I love visual ideas and composing an outfit is an expression of that fun, and ongoing experiment. Besides, if anyone doesn't have to dress drab for work - it's me! As a radio personality and arts/culture writer who runs her own personal stylist consulting business, I get to take a few sartorial liberties where I realize others may not... with one caveat, I need to be able to ride a bike in my outfits. 

My Summer days on-air, not blogging here
On my bike ride to work, there are very few cars on the road. I race the rising sun downhill to the Mothership, ahem, the Glorious CBC Headquarters. In my head, I am rifling through the top Arts and Culture stories in my head. I am going through the playlist of songs from bands that are playing in our city throughout the week, thinking about which ones I'll play for listeners. I am grinning and biking, and singing.

I love doing Arts on CBC Radio One in Montreal. I love interviewing local artists, musicians, film makers, authors and actors; uncovering their stories and sharing them with listeners. Every story I do is part of my ongoing loveletter to this wonderful city. And now, back to my other radio commitments, and writing deadlines and S T Y L I N G. Happy End O' Summer y'all & thanks for keeping up despite my infrequent posts!
Random photo of  me + sunset. Going to have to revel in these last days of Summer... feels like Fall's a heartbeat away!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Berlinde de Bruyckere Exhibition at Gallery DHC in Montreal

Judging by the GoogleStats on my art writing entries on this blog, seems like y'all are already hip to the fact that I am the Canadian Columnist for PBS' Art21 Blog. I cover contemporary art in Canada on the critical cultural site, exploring the face of art practice and process, curatorial mandate and audience reception. My latest piece is on Flemish sculptor Berlinde de Bruyckere's exhibit at Gallery DHC in Montreal. Read full article here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Montreal vs. Toronto: StreetStyle Battle Royale

Oui, c'est moi! I was recently asked by the great people at Tourism Toronto to be their Stylist judge for a streetstyle contest -- Montrealers vs. Torontonians via a live web cam/screen downtown in each city -- at  "The Cheating Wall". 

From the photo above it's hard to tell that I'm melting (32degrees that day!) in my vintage cream, silk Lanvin blouse and lawn-green, high-waisted Prada skirt, but it was well worth the effort. Normally, I wear leave my crown of curls as-is in humid weather but I had a T.V. gig earlier that day and I would've barely fit in the frame with my usual wild mane!

I love Montréal and I visit Toronto often for clients. It's hard to 'judge' places held so close to heart, and yet... I did! Shoot, to be honest, for people that live in these cities, pegging TO against MTL is unavoidable. It runs deep in the DNA of our available conversation topics. After the contest, Tourism Montreal interviewed me about Montreal and Toronto style. The results are pretty funny. Peep it here (and sorry - you'll have to mind the writer's typos in the linked article!). 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Virtual Fitting Room

I buy clothes on the basis of FIT and FABRIC. But if those factors don't matter to you, I just learned (a little late!) that there's the Magic Mirror: a virtual way of trying on clothes without having to ever actually undress. Where laziness meets imagination! Pure genius... proving once again the prophecies of Alicia Silverston's character in Clueless.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to wear a 'fashion turban'

Why am I sharing this photo of me giving the camera some sizzling eyes at awesome vegan, gluten-free resto, SAF, in London's Shoreditch neighborhood? Because this photo is the source of a triumphant sartorial revelation I just had: how I should rock a 'fashion turban'. I'm wearing one here designed by my pal, Montréal designer, Audrey Cantwell. I wear it knotted in the front, and with my curly hair poppin' out the bottom. This façon seems to make it clear that I'm not going for the whole fortune teller/tribal/healer/pious look. Thought I'd share that lil' fashion '"aha moment" (Oprah show RIP) with y'all.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

But does it float? (Photoshoot I styled for Bijougraphie)

Bathtubs. Who knew I'd spend a day hovering over, and in one, breathing atop two dainty knock-your-aqua-socks-off models?

I styled some shots for a SS11 campaign for the jewelry line, Bijougraphie, designed by pal Mercedes LaRosa in Montréal. My job was easy. The photographer on the other hand, had to (hilariously) straddle the tub with a foot on either side of the tub for hours on end, in a steaming room, working beneath hot lights on a slippery surface for 7 hours. No biggie. Here are some extra images from the shoot styled by yours truly...

The Bijougraphie line is simple: wooden spheres, hand-painted and polished laquer that dangle from delicate chain as necklaces and earrings.  These lightweight balls of joy deserve to float from your loverly self too. Buy them online here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Vintage Pop - Week Long Sale in Mile End

I've just gone through yet another Springtime closet cleanse in time for selling some vintage gems at le PopUp Shop week-long vintage sale in Mile End, put on by the good people of the Pop Montreal Festival (for whom I've organized a new designer's fashion show in the past and hosted last year). 

It's one thing to coordinate a huge sale like this, but one of the organizers, Ms. Marilis Cardinal , helps handle the shop with a smile. Drop by, say 'whaddup' to her.
I had a pre-sale in advance where I sold authentic men's vintage 50's 'aloha' shirts, and beautiful 60's and 70's maxi dresses for women that are particularly storied: handpicked from closets and tiny thrift shops across Canada and the States. At le PopUp Shop, I am selling platform wedges and sweet Spring dresses, perfect for bike riding and picnicking this Summer. 

I also urge you to check out the thrifted treasures of my dear friends from Caesar Pony and Tarantula Sisters (the latter of which is run by my girl, Audrey Cantwell, an amazing clothing designer whom my regular readers will recognize I have styled and modeled for). Check out the Etsy sites of these amazing ladies! 

Hope to see you at le PopUP Shop in the next few days.  

Fashion Minute