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Elena Vasilieva

06/03/2010

I met designer Elena Vasilieva a few weeks ago and have been waiting for her lookbook to come out since I first spotted this dress on her blog. Well… perhaps ‘met’ is a strong word. More like found each other …ah Twitter…  but we couldn’t quite content ourselves to 140 characters and so, a few emails later I happily laid my eyes on her Summer 2010 lookbook for what will be her first collection.

This pink dress is simple in cut, but there’s something about the detail on the shoulders that I really love. Not quite  puffy enough to qualify as pompoms, let’s call them 3-D polkadots?… So these little 3-D polkadots… they really got me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the material used to make the dress either and felt slightly silly when she told me it was cotton…(The light cotton material is the reason behind the slight ‘shine’ featured by some of the dresses.) In the same breath she explained that she tends toward natural materials and does her best to steer clear of synthetics. Looking over her other designs, she takes a basic design and seems to really zero in on the details. Most of her pieces have textural detail be it the 3-D polkadots, aptly placed buttons or adding strings of pearl beads to an otherwise demure carry-all.

Admittedly the collection is made up of classic cuts and there are a few basic pieces included for good measure (also, the orange purse harkens back to this falls Chanel bag à la Lily Allen)..but all in all this recent law graduate is doing pretty darn good for herself. Yes, you read it right: law graduate. As in, she hasn’t studied design, and yet….and yet her blog chronicles her journey through her drawings and inspiration, her creations and designs and this both in terms of clothing and accessories. Not one to rest on her laurels, she does plan to do see this fashion thing through. She’s actually currently in a toss up between London College of Fashion & St Martin’s. Decisions, decisions…

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Un peu de répit

06/02/2010

I couldn’t help but grab my camera last week when the skies finally filled with clouds and the very first flash rainstorm of the season broke. Every summer there are a ton of these little spurts of rain… But don’t be fooled. Spurt because the storm lasts for about 5 minutes.. But not for nothing, the rain definitely delivers. Think thick, heavy raindrops coming down in a massive deluge. There’s nowhere to hide if you happen to be outside at the time (I was happily pearched on my balcony out of wetness’ way,) and then like magic the clouds dissapear and the sun comes out, as if there never was a cloud in the sky. Post rain, like clockwork the humidity brakes, and the suffocating heat settles but people caught in the storms way all of the sudden look particularily ridiculous, walking around soaking wet while the sun beats down on them…

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Il pleut…

06/01/2010

I found these two images recently and can’t stop going back to them in my little inspiration folder. These two ladies seem to find themselves in the throws of a hot summer. They look chic, they look inspired, and above all kind of content. They just seem to be really in the moment as opposed to so many editorials where models look a tad..aloof? One of the shots is a street snap, which would explain the ‘presence’  and the other shot is rather dated I know, but let it serve as a testament to classic style and beauty. Going back to that first image – I love the little bracelets she’s got on, in fact I would happily sport the whole outfit from head to toe (assuming her heals aren’t sky high… doubtful though..).. color, cut and mood of the outfit is a must for me. Love.


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Take off your clothes…

05/30/2010

Yesterday afternoon I spent a few hours at a city wide clothing swap. The event, Take Off Your Clothes, invited anyone and everyone to haul their lightly used/never worn clothes to the Musée Juste Pour Rire for an afternoon of riffling. As with most things, the event had it’s pros and cons. Unloading of everyones hauls to the main swapping area was slow, and there were loads of people grabbing at the same items which made for more than a few glares and stares, but I thought it was wonderful that any left over clothes were given to the salvation army. The swap system was pretty straight forward as well:  each item brought yielded a ticket that could be exchanged for any other item and higher end items got you a higher end ticket (and access to the coveted ‘higher end room’..)

(meet my friend Eliza – yes, we have the same name. Weird. She on the other hand, is awesome.)

These events are always kind of a gamble. I don’t know that I necessarily agree that one mans trash is another mans treasure… Not in every case anyways. More than anything I find these types of large scale events to be a kind of testament to all the crap we accumulate. I actually felt a bit gross after a while. There were just… so many piles… so much stuff..


Granted, I’d expected to have to do some serious rifling and I did manage a few good finds but it was the high end room (as would be expected…) that had some amazing little gems including a seriously dated Pierre Cardin dress and some Yohji Yamamoto pants that an acquaintance nabbed before I could even spot them (hence, no pic. I know! sad…) Also a stark reminder that just because a ‘name’ is attached to something, doesn’t mean it’s gonna be nice.

In the end I left with less than I came with, which I think indicates a success. While once I would have been determined to nab my tickets-worth of exchangeables, on this day I was more happy to scour about and see what I could find that I really liked. I know, revolutionary thinking right?… I’m such a consumer… but I think the heaps and piles of clothes really threw me through a loop hole and thanks to my depressing trip to the city center last weekend I think I’ve been officially shaken out of that mentality that drives us to pile up on superfluous items based solely on their tiny price tag. And what did I walk away with you may wonder? …

Aside from the usual few mens shirts I like to pick up at these types of things (seriously, the best place to find them!) I came away with a dusty cotton candy pink knit top that gives me wonderfully broad shoulders minus the 80’s pads…

(pink top – Swaped | grey skirt – h&m | brogues – steve madden)

…a yellow button down silk shirt that immediately made me think of a certain miu miu collar.. There may not be a naked woman sprawled across the collar, the chickadee yellow is nearly as charming as the print itself.

(yellow shirt – swaped | purple tank – aa | shorts – garage | necklace – f21)

..And finally a Michael Kors frock. I was inspired by the current surf wear moment fashion seems to be having and the I heart Norwegian Wood lookbook that just came out when I put this together.. Paired with cut nylons and a sweater (with purple and black stripes that you can’t really make out because unfortunately my bookcase blocks much of the light in my apartment. ack..) and a paillette colar from h&m.

(source)

(source)

(dress – Michael Kors | sweater – Calvin Klein | booties – Steve Madden | shorts – d.i.y nylons | colar – h&m)


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Garçon manqué

05/30/2010

Just a few pictures that I’ve come across recently that I absolutely love…I was a bit reticent to get excited about the 90’s redux we’re experiencing, but I’ve since come around. I was just a tot during the original era so I didn’t get the full benefit of the grunge movement the first time around. To be honest, the only thing I really remember are my cousins wearing neon zink on their noses. That, and Aerosmiths ‘Crazy’ (the first music video I’d ever seen!)

There’s something to be said about the adrogyny vs utlra fem, and the third-wave feminism… This is actually one of those times where I think fashion’s reflection of society is the most clearcut with todays. Just a casual search yielded words like environmentalism and entrepreneurship, individualistic, counter-cultural…or my favorite:  “retro styles inspired by fashions of the 1960s and 1970s were also prevalent.” So many of the same words being thrown around today…



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Feeling blue

05/29/2010

The other day I did something that I haven’t done in years. I wore a sky blue skirt. The skirt part? Not so odd. The sky blue however, very strange. You see, I have a very strained relationship with that hue… bright but light contained all in the same tone, it’s always kind of intrigued me… A shade akin to the sky on a nice day… Also the one color I spent all of high school in. Yep, not my proudest moment. I even asked my mother recently why in the world she’d let me leave the house with a tight ponytail parted down the middle(…I honestly…I don’t even know…), dressed head to toe in sky blue. She had no answere (Ok, not so true. She politely pointed me in the direction of my own stubborness and my general me-against-the-world attitude.. I was 15 guys, come on.. and anywyas, I choose to blame it on my rebellion against the color pink.) Either way though, I’ve since reconciled with both the awckwardness that is high school (recently parused a friends year book only to realize that everyone looked awckward and gawky at 15) and that lovely bright blue.

Now, I know that this isn’t a particularily inspired outfit, but keep in mind it was about a million degrees outside, which as I live in a self baking oven, means a million and half degrees in my appartment (hence the facial expression of death. Less is definitly more in this case…)

I particularily enjoy the contrast of the blue on an equally bright red. Though I’ll conceed to feeling a bit like both a sailor and an american on the 4th of July.. Technically it’s also the color combo sported by the now ousted Habs… but we needn’t speak about that… (for those of you with giant question mark above your heads, I’m referring to hockey and Montreal’s run for the cup being over… but again, we don’t need to talk about that…)

shirt: H&M | skirt: AA | belt: Tristan

While it’s not quite the same shade of blue, the outfit was actually inspired by that little cup I’m holding in my hand in the first picture. Take note peeps: when the barometer climbs, get yourself the following: mint, blackberries, strawberries, a jug and some water.

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A breeze would be nice

05/27/2010

Yesterday I was lucky enough to get to poke around Angie Johnson’s studio. In case that name doesn’t ring a bell (and it really should, so you may as well commit it to memory) you might be familiar with a little label by the name of I Heart Norwegian Wood? I say little, but Angie’s creations have made their way around the world and back at this point. I must confess, I love her all the more for calling Montreal home (bing!) It’s not often that fashion designers from these parts are a) so darn inviting b) so unique and c) so willing to make the international leap…(an issue we ended up discussing and one that I’ve mentioned here before) To be honest, I’ve been feeverishly looking forward to meeting Angie since she extended the invite, and I was flored by the whole visit. I know I sound like I’m gushing… but, well I suppose I am!

First things first, I a shot a ton of video but you’ll have to wait a little longer for that because it was so unbelievably warm yesterday (35 degrees and counting! – that’s 100+ in farenheit fyi…and totally unheard of for May…) that neither of us thought it was a good idea to capture such a sweaty conversation on film. A re-do is in order and coming soon!

In the meantime you’ll have to make do with a little teaser:

If you’re wondering who the other hardworking peeps making appearances in the vid are, they happen to be fellow designers sharing the studio with Angie. Check out Broundoor (self-taught leather designer who uses recycled bits and pieces to create bags and even jewelry. Spotted some earings while I was there,) Simone’s Rose (she uses vintage kimono cotton to create most of her pieces) and Subayana (she sticks to recycled/eco-friendly materials for her designs, but don’t be fooled, her creations look anything but recycled) Before going into too much detail here I hope to get to visit them again and get to know their stuff a bit better.

My visit confirmed a few thoughts I’ve been having about fast fashion too. Funny that I just divulged my love of florals to you and now I’m totally over it. Well not completely. I was in awe of Angies collection of prints and patterns and went off on a rant about how I’d gone shopping with a friend last weekend and no matter the store, I just kept seeing the same prints over and over and over. There’s something to be said for fast fashion, cheap but trendy clothes and accessibility… but the same cut and style in every store? Really? From the tiny petal prints, to the actual cut, which begs the question: why pick one store over another? Why bother period? A bit much.. a bit dissapointing…

And then I realized I was ranting and promptly stopped. Nearly got embarassed before realizing she was agreeing with me. Yay! We also chatted about the chictopia vs bloggers debacle, as well as the more recent Zara vs Betty ridiculousness (really, is it that hard to just ask people if they can use their pictures??…) And then got to talking about the goods. I was happy to hear that she wanted to make her clothes more prominent. She’s very aware that she’s best known for her accessories – the fringe necklace is nearly a classic at this point, but many (myself included) have had their first encounters with her designs care of Susie Bubble. From the cage dress back in 2008 to a more recent gingham LYCRA cut out dress (that I’m getting increasingly obsessed with…) Miss Bubble has been one of her most prominent supporters.

But back to the point: the clothes! So many prints, and not all floral *wink* There are some really light fabrics so perfect for the current heat wave, lots of bright colors, wood and leather accessories, cutouts…A lot of mixing happening with so many different prints. She was just mentioned on Refinery 29 yesterday for that very reason (you can also grab a view of her newest lookbook there or on her flickr page here.) And can I also mention how wonderful it is to find someone who understands the ridiculous heat waves that Montreal experiences? Only someone who truly knows would expressly position cut outs at the armpit!..

I now have a seriously long wish list. I feel so lucky to have gotten to actually go through her spring summer 2010 collection and touch it all! I have a feeling I spent much of the time breathing “amazinggg” every time she’d show me something…ack. So much more to say about her, and a proper vid complete with a sit down chat is still to come!

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