Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Treehouses, the psychology of clothes and Cat Power

Tree houses

I have a fascination with tree houses. Thinking and reading about them brings me joy, peace, and some lightheartedness into my life. There is something extremely poetic about them. The thought of having my own tree house one day, tucked away in the woods or facing a beautiful scenic view of a lake, a mountain or ocean....a retreat of my own, to meditate, read, knit, write and reflect. Wouldn't that be pure bliss? The idea of these tree houses, these living structures, communing with nature....it makes me dream. One day, I want to create an association and a community of like-minded people who believe in this renewed sustainable sense of living. "The Tree Housing Sustainability Program".
Who's in?

The psychology of clothes

I was reading this article today in Elle Canada about this costume designer who talked about the psychology of clothes and what they tell you about the character portrayed by the actor at play. This topic is one that fascinates me. What do my clothes tell you about me? What do your friends' clothes tell you about them? It's true, there are certain days we dress in certain colors or textures, and other days, we opt for darks hues or minimalist outfits. I think sometimes it's a conscious decision but other times a subconscious one. For example, when I feel good about myself, I usually tend to have these great outfits put together. When I'm feeling like my self-esteem has taken a hit, I usually bum around in a hoody and jeans. But perhaps for others it's the other way around: when they feel good they might want to dress casual in a hoodie and jeans and when they feel like their self-esteem is at a low, they dress real good almost as a way to feel better about themselves. Thoughts?

Cat Power

Again, Elle Canada: I always read about inspiring topics and people in this great mag. Tonight I read this interview on Cat Power and her honesty brought me to tears after I YouTubed a couple of her songs. I always knew of Cat Power but I had never taken the time to read up on her or listen to her music. Everything that she said in that interview hit really close to home. She talks about the nature of our current society, the idea of renewal through the clothes that have been lived in – the magical wonders of thrift shopping that is. She also talks about heartbreak and how "she wanted to achieve security and family" and how hard it was now that she had lost it all. She also talks about how Karl Lagerfeld sent her flowers with a card that said "We've missed you, we can't wait to see you" which evokes that feeling of not being alone, of actually having people by your side who care about you and who want you around.
The following relationship insight really gave my heart a jolt: "...[T]he simplest things can be destroyed so quickly through miscommunication...."
Communication: how I wish it was more readily accessible to us. It shouldn't be hard to express how we feel, but sometimes we choose not to because we are afraid of our emotions, our feelings, our vulnerabilities. We are afraid of judgement, rejection or confrontation.
Why be afraid of communication when it is what moves us forward in life, brings us closure, hope or security?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Horoscope, almost too real

I want to share my horoscope from today. It is quite extraordinary how I see myself in it.
Perhaps my mind is open to it hence my ability to connect with it.
Right this moment, this is exactly how I am feeling. Incredible how things can be at times! Coincidence or not, I am taking this one in for deeper reflection.

Here it is:

November 20, 2012 - Taurus -

Health: Everything is going better. You are opening up. This is a good time to meet people. You are always more attractive when you project this radiant energy.

Love: Make peace with your painful past that was filled with pitfalls. It's time to look to the future with optimism. Jupiter is pouring its horn of plenty over you.

Money: You finally accept to listen to what your wallet is telling you. Live according to your financial means.

Work: Do not get involved in conflicts at work. Ignore your rivals. You are not strong enough to deal with it right now. 

Source: mytelus.com 
Photo from: http://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.ca 

Five simple things that made my morning

1. coffee shop talk:

2. film for my lomo cam

3. Passion Pit tickets

4. vintage shop browsing

5. ugly christmas sweater spotting

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nothing Like You and I

I dedicate this song to my boyfriend who is too preoccupied to realize how much he means to me. I am lost without you, I am worth nothing.

Nothing Like You and I - The Perishers -

We spent some time
together walking
Spent some time just talking
about who we were
You held my hand so
very tightly
And told me what we
could be dreaming of

There’s nothing like you and I

We spent some time
together drinking
Spent some time just thinking
about days of joy
As our hearts started
beating faster
I recalled your laughter
from long ago

There’s nothing like you and I

We spent some time
together crying
Spent some time just trying
to let each other go
I held your hand so
very tightly
And told you what I would be
dreaming of

There’s nothing like you and I
So why do I even try?
There’s nothing like you and I

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bombay Bicycle Club: You Already Know

I've been a little bit on a writing hiatus lately but I haven't forgotten...
There are important matters in my life that need to be resolved before I can fully engage in honest and engaging writing. There is this piece I am brainstorming that I want to only share once completely polished. I'm a bit of a perfectionist like that. I think it'll make us think twice about the lives we want to live.

While we're waiting...


Monday, November 5, 2012

Anu Raina: inspired by her grandfather's garden

I have been searching for inspiration.
Enters Anu Raina's spring/summer 2013 collection lookbook which was inspired entirely from memories of her grandfather's garden. What a great tribute.
Beautiful concept rendered into a beautiful bouquet of flirty and dreamy summer dresses.

Dreaming is so beautiful and even more beautiful when we are transforming these dreams into reality.
As you can tell, I have been soul-searching lately. This time to write and sit down in front of a writing device whether it'd be my newly acquired 1950s typewriter or my now deteriorating six-year-old Macbook has been truly refreshing.
It has been giving me hope about the lifestyle I'd like to live. I like writing and I want to write for a living.

Raina writes:

"Tathya's garden: My SS13 collection of prints is inspired by my memories of witnessing the majestic Echinaceas, the dew drop laden Daisys on the lazy Sunday mornings, the beautiful Pomegranate trees that humbly bore the weight of the biggest and reddest ever Pomegranates, the riot of colour and fragrance that invaded the senses as you walked into Tathya's Garden through heavy and massive wood/metal doors. Tathya was my maternal grandfather who lived in a large house by a beautiful stream in Kashmir. He was a quiet Mathematics teacher who loved his garden the most. While the little kingdom of flowers faded away with time, this collection is a tribute to the happy and carefree childhood spent playing in Tathya's garden."

It is Raina's simple yet beautiful creations that touched my soul today.  I hope it touches yours too.

This week, I will be applying to a magazine internship in Calgary. Wish me luck.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The diary of a minimum wage retail salesperson: beating traffic. Let it snow!

I had been on break for two days and so when Tuesday morning came along, it hit me like a rock. I hadn't showered the night before, my hair looked greasy, and I'm sure I did not smell fantastic. I hopped in the shower, made myself look presentable, but by the time I was done, it was already 8:40 (I work at 9:00). It usually takes me only 10 to 15 minutes to get to work, but for some reason, the construction on Elbow Drive was still backing up traffic.
I absolutely hate being late and since for once I did not have my uniform on, I decided to change in the car. I was shirt-less when we passed the road workers and pant-less a little further: I was determined to beat as much time as possible to avoid being even five minutes late. I got to my work's parking lot at 8:54, ran in the mall and ran to the locker rooms in the basement of the store I work at. I stuffed my bags and ran back upstairs: it was nine o'clock on the dot and the first salesperson with a start time of 9 to be there, on time.

I wrote the above paragraph more than a couple weeks ago and it made me think of this morning.
Today was the first heavy snowfall in Calgary (and it's not even Hallowe'en yet...) and believe it or not, traffic was backed up all the way to my apartment...I thought I was leaving earlier than usual but that extra 10 minutes was definitely not going to get me to work on time.

I mean, there's never going to be a good excuse for being late to work. Even snow shouldn't be a good excuse but we often blame weather for our tardiness. It's true: if I really wanted to be on time today, I should of left an hour earlier. But who knows, traffic could have been backed up even then.

Calgarians are ill-prepared when it comes to snowfalls. I bet you that more than half of the driving community did not have their winter tires on yet. I also bet you that nobody really believed it would snow that bad. Every year, it's the same story. Maybe Calgarians are just too optimistic in terms of the weather, thinking "oh, that Chinook will blow it all away sometime soon". Well, guess what, snow's here.

When I got to work, there were a couple people ready to work but I wasn't surprised to see three other persons after my 9:15 arrival (start time was nine) stroll in.

I'm not too sure where this post is going. Perhaps I'm trying to tell myself that the goal for this week is to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early instead of 5 to 10 minutes early.

Anyway, my winter tires are being put into place next Monday. I'll definitely have no excuse then...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The diary of a minimum wage retail salesperson: the stockroom

Like promised, I said I would start documenting my days at my new retail job in Calgary, AB. So here it is...

I'll be honest: I wasn't necessarily expecting to hate my new job as a salesperson but I was definitely expecting to bitch about it a lot more, what with the low wage and what not. But to my pleasant surprise, I haven't felt a bitch-fit coming on and it's already been two weeks! What can I say, I absolutely love clothes, the ongoing shopping atmosphere, the putting away of clothes and the search for clothes in the overwhelming stockroom. I love helping people out with decisions or pointing them out to clothing items they may enjoy. The people I work with are sweethearts, the managers are nice and professional; I feel like I am part of  a team of dedicated & hard-working people which motivates me to do the best of jobs. I enjoy coming in for my shifts, I like learning more and more everyday about the company and how things are done...I'm just quite content with how everything is going. Sometimes I think: why on earth didn't I turn to retail sooner? I remember girls in high school telling me to never work retail because all the people I'll work with will be snob bitches with no life. I really believed it and was expecting the worst. But, no encounter of such has happened, yet.

Yesterday was one of those days where I was in the stockroom for pretty much the entire day. I've been fighting a cold that's been giving me an irritated throat and a runny nose. Working in the warm stockroom was quite a nice alternative to working the air-conditioned sales floor. Pulling out replenishments for the sales floor is time consuming to say the least. It was my second time taking care of such a thing and I'm hoping I'm getting better at how fast I can find items in the overstuffed stockroom. Sometimes an item will be right in front of me and easy to pull out. At other times, I'll need to pull out a ladder and climb to the top to reach for the item I am looking for... I don't have vertigo but the items can be quite high and hard to reach. My small size of five feet two doesn't help either. There are times where I am sitting on the top rung thinking things like "if this ladder break, this won't be pretty." It's always satisfying to climb down the ladder, palms sweaty, with the article of clothing in hand, the pencil and replenishment sheet in the other. Then, when the clothing search reaches an end, there are two flights of stairs to climb before putting the clothes on a rack and back to where they belong in the store. Although the hours spent in the stockroom can be long ones, there is this serene and peaceful quietness that cannot be found upstairs on the sales floor. Most of the time you are alone or two other girls might be there doing their thing too. The break room is close by, but somehow I feel like the clothes and I are the only ones on the planet at the precise moment in time when I'm searching for clothes and admiring them at the same time.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

New blog project + addictions

Me at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland this summer. Ireland was beautiful. I'd go back again in a heartbeat. 
Fall is finally upon us. But this time around, the excitement of "going-back-to-school" isn't there for me because I have now officially graduated from journalism school. To be honest, I don't know whether I like being out of school just yet. I spent five years at university and before that there were high school, junior high and elementary school. I have spent a grand total of 18 years in school. Is it a bit hard to admit to myself that student life is finally over? Yes, it is. It's extremely hard. I'm feeling a little lost right now.

A couple of posts back, I wrote about how hard it was to get back into the swing of things after my very last finals. Well, I ended up getting back on my feet and getting a small job at a restaurant and when these three months of horrid boredom were done, my boyfriend and I took off to Europe for two months with the money we saved up working.

We got back to the motherland only three weeks ago, and well, it's been hard to figure out my post-grad goals. There are so many things on my mind.  Getting a full-time job at a communication firm would be great. Buying a condo with the boyfriend. Perhaps going back to school to fulfill another dream of mine to become an  interior designer. Keeping up with yoga three times a week while introducing myself to pilates is another goal of mine. Eating at home and learning how to cook to save money is something we've been doing too. What about that Elle Canada editorial internship I've been pining for? Should I still give it a shot? Even while on vacation the idea of heading to Toronto for a four-month internship hasn't left my head. I'm really determined at making it happen. And for that to happen, I have to keep my creative juices flowing. Perhaps some freelancing here and there, some personal blogging, and some product blogging wouldn't be a bad idea. And plus, I'm still absolutely in love with this blog and what it represents for me. There's nothing more exciting than having the freedom to speak my mind and write about what moves and passions me via the blogosphere.

All throughout the summer, I blogged about fashion designers whose runway shows I saw for myself last fall at Toronto Fashion Week.

Today, I came up with a new exciting blogging project: The diary of  a minimal wage retail salesperson. 

The idea came up because that person working retail making minimum wage is me.

Why on earth is a communication degree graduate like me working retail? Well, to be perfectly honest, it isn't my ideal job but it is a job and that's better than sitting on my ass all day. The manager of the  retail store I work for (I will not reveal the company name for obvious privacy reasons) left me a message on my cellphone the first week I was back in Canada. I had already started applying for comm. jobs but thought it wouldn't hurt going in for an interview anyway. I didn't put much thought in the interview but came fairly prepared and put together.  After a five to ten minute chat with the manager, I was hired on the spot. It came almost as a shock/surprise to me because I had kept my expectations fairly low (note to self: keep expectations low from now on) and wasn't expecting scoring a full-time job anytime soon.

I have worked at every possible job since the age of 13, from working at the farmers' market, to working at a movie theatre, to working at a restaurant, to working for a local blog to having my own dog-walking business. But what I hadn't been able to score yet was a job in retail, and that has always been something I've wanted to do. I love the idea of helping customers making style decisions or picking the proper size. I love sorting out through the clothes and putting them back neatly where they belong (although that can be extremely frustrating too when it gets messy) and I love the overwhelming stockroom filled with garments from ceiling to ceiling.

I knew I was in for a minimum wage salary like most retail stores but I was still stoke for finally getting that retail experience I've always wanted. And plus, I'm always curious to see how things really are behind scenes. What's work going to be like? Is the minimum wage fair for the type of duties assigned to us? What's management going to be like? Am I going to like it? Am I going to hate it? Am I going to get along with the other girls I work with? What will be my thoughts on the experience?

A week into my new job as a salesperson, The diary of a minimum wage retail salesperson came into fruition. I mean, what isn't there to like about getting to know what the retail world is really all about?

Look out for a new blog post in the following week... I'll keep it as honest as possible without going to that bitchy/ranting mode (no promises on being completely rant-free) while keeping it entertaining and upbeat. :)

For now... my fall addictions:

Elle Canada : this Canadian women's fashion magazine is the greatest. The topics talked about are extremely relevant, well thought-out and written honestly. The magazine brings forth the best in style and fashion news, but keeps it real with everyday subjects and topics that's on everyone's mind nowadays.  

Style at Home Canada : this interior design/decorating magazine is soothing to read because of its great visuals. The cottage issue from this summer was greatly inspiring and I love the inspiring quick fix decorating tips they offer.

Pinterest: I can "pin" things in my own virtual inspirational boards? Done deal. I'm an extremely visual person to begin with. 

True Blood: the boyfriend introduced me to the series. I'm not a big fan of excessive blood in any scenario possible, but for some reason, we're already on season 3 and I can't stop watching. The character developments and plots are great in this show! 

Yoga: yes, yoga is still in my life. I still love it. I go to the neighborhood gym that's only five minutes away from my house. I'm liking how it fits my schedule well as they offer morning and evening classes every day of the week and on weekends.  

Drinking water: yep, drinking water has made me feel extremely healthier for these past couple of months. I used to never drink enough of it but never thought it was my lack of intake that caused me from having serious headaches all the time. Now, I constantly remind myself  that water is my best friend. Six to eight classes a day. 

Vitamin D: every morning I take two pills of Vitamin D (2000). My daily intake makes me less cranky in the winter when the sun no longer shines as much. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Designer Dimanche: David Dixon

The best is often saved for last. For most fashion experts, David Dixon’s s/s 2012 collection – the second last show before Denis Gagnon – was a pure delight. He delivered beautiful cocktail dresses, feminine gowns and blouses/pencil skirts combos while staying true to his colour palette of choice : pastel yellows, whites and blacks. The restricted use of these colours made for a harmonious collection.
Larger-than-life butterfly prints were spotted on a few blouses and floor-length gowns. Personally, I found the collection to be too typical. The designs were elegant but lacked that avant-garde or adventurous feel I like to see in designs. The lines were classic and lacked sculptural properties. Most gowns and cocktail dresses looked straight out of a regular prom dress shop where I could actually see David Dixon’s collection make profit. Moreover, I thought the butterflies were, in my eyes,  not such a good addition to the collection. Don’t get me wrong, butterflies are pretty but, in this case, they came across as a childish and poor design choice. There were a couple pieces I could see friends wearing, but never did I come across a design I would want for myself. Dixon is nonetheless a talented designer, but in upcoming years, I’d love to see a creative shift in his designs. Perhaps David Dixon, similarly to Judith & Charles like to stay true to the norms and designs that will remain classics until the end of time. Everyone has their own design style after all and everyone will have diverse opinions on such matter.
-Claire Miglionico

Photo source: Real Style Network

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Judith & Charles

On the fifth and final day, guests got a peep at Judith and Charles’ spring/summer 2012’s collection. Instead of showing off the new collection in the usual runway format, Judith and Charles opted for an installation in the studio space where guests were able to admire the clothes up front and personal. The outfits were set up on simple mannequins which were lined-up on a raised platform in the middle of the studio space. Among guests were Fashion TV’s Jeanne Beker and Canadian fashion model Stacey Mckenzie. All guests were treated to gift bags which were piled up near the entrance. Most did not hesitate on grabbing one (or two) on their way in. Judith and Charles stayed true to their style: classic cuts with pastel colours mixed with pops of bright hues like oranges and yellows which are very typical colours for spring and summer. The collection was made up of long-fitted blazers, pleated skirts of cream-coloured hues and sleeveless tops paired with cropped shorts. I dearly admired the bright yellow blazer paired with a black jumper although it reminded me a little too much of something my mother would of worn in the 80s.
The studio space made for the perfect place to mingle, grab a glass of champagne and look at the choice of outfits with other guests. Judith and Charles has a flair for simple, elegant and timeless pieces and although I wasn’t expecting much from the installation, I greatly enjoyed the feeling of not having to rush into my seat. Instead, I was able to soak Judith and Charles’ collection piece by piece and think more highly of their modern and fitted designs.
- Claire Miglionico

Photo credit: Jenna Marie Wakani for Fashion Magazine

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Anu Raina

Designer Anu Raina is the perfect example of the kind of diversity we have here in Canada. Raina’s Indian roots are fully present in her s/s 2012 collection “Murano” as beautiful splashes of colour were omni-present in her designs. “Murano” was inspired by glass chandeliers made in Murano, Italy and their play on light and colour.
I love colour therefore this particular collection was a favourite of mine at fashion week. Raina is not only a textile designer but also an artist and therefore her designs were like pure work of arts.
“My work is my art and the fabric is my canvas,” she says.
She has a rare artistic sensibility that was wonderfully rendered in her bright blue palazzo pants, dainty peter-pan collars, swirls, vibrant florals, 60s-inspired T-shirt dresses and a floor-length dress with a watercolour-like chandelier design. For fabrics, she uses silk, viscose and linens. I like the simplicity of Raina’s designs, the free-flowing movement of her garments, and her styling the best. No jewelry was sighted on models and her outfits were coordinated with great minimalist taste. The yellow-green tye-dye tee-shirt dress was paired with the perfect suede booties of deep blue shade and was a great style inspiration. Anu Raina is undeniably a Canadian designer to watch out for.
– Claire Miglionico

Photo source: http://suhaag.com

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Lovas

Wesley Badanjak is the creative director behind his fashion label Lovas. He says one of the greatest fashion advice he has ever received was to follow his instincts, not trends. This advice was certainly followed for his s/s 2012 collection which was apparently inspired by his travels through the Caribbean sea. The collection stood out with an all-ethnic cast of tropical models, breezy blouses, hues and grandiose feathered head pieces. Badanjak stuck to oranges, corals, white, black and sand colours. He created a chic island girl look completely unique and distinct from other fashion week designers. Sometimes the supposedly tropical look took on another appearance: the coral shift dress paired with a beaded belt in combination with the model’s long messy braids made me think of romanticized Pocahantas fashion more than that of an island girl.
Anita Clarke from Toronto-based fashion blog I Want I Got was quite impressed by Badanjak’s island-inspired collection. In a one-on-one interview conducted by Calgary Fashion’s Daniela Codreanu, she said:
“Wesley and I have an understanding. He knows that usually his stuff is not my style. I appreciate that it’s always well made. He is very excellent at making clothes and putting [them] together. Construction is always fantastic, but THIS time it was like [a] perfect storm. The style was on to what I personally would like. Everything on that runway I would wear!"
It’s true. Every runway outfit was not only beautifully crafted but extremely wearable. The feathered head pieces were a highlight: they were the perfect addition to a long ruffled black dress and a 60s mod shift dress in black and white stripes on sand .
– Claire Miglionico

Photo source: fashion windows.net 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Label

Label is a collaboration between designers Shawna Robinson and Natalie Sydoruk. Robinson is a freelance wardrobe stylist & aspiring artist while Sydoruk is a fashion design graduate from Ryerson & a model. Together, they dreamed of designing comfortable, sustainable and wearable clothes and Label became just that: an “au naturel” clothing brand dedicated to creating clothing ethically. Whenever possible, organic, renewable or reclaimed fibers are used. Label’s garments are even produced on Canadian soil in Toronto, “with t-shirt designs printed by hand”.
Their s/s 2012 collection was like looking at the ultimate eco-conscious hipster wardrobe. It was composed of neutral tones like whites, grays, soft pinks, lavender and teal. The garments contoured the body flowingly making every outfit seem extremely comfortable and light. The collection was Bohemian-inspired (models sported their hair loose on their shoulders) and nature-themed. Tree branches bordered the studio runway and once models were done strutting, they directed themselves to flat gray stones where they showcased their outfits. Among the outfits were a light pink drawstring dress with cut-out shoulders, a sheer maxi black dress and a black and silky drawstring shorts jumpsuit.  The outfits were paired with organic-inspired necklaces, wooden cuffs and geometric blocks. Every single piece was elegant, feminine and absolutely daytime wearable.  Plus, what’s not to like about designers who keep mother nature in mind  and who have an impeccable taste in music? When the song New Theory by Washed Out came on, Label and I became instant best friends.
– Claire Miglionico
Photo source: http://seenolabel.com/

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Tosca Delfino

Tosca Delfinos luxury swimwear show was a highlight of the week. Swimwear is sometimes not as easy to showcase as full attires but in this case, designer – Delfino – strived for a fashion show to remember.  Delfino has had “over 10 years of international experience working in the fashion industry”. She has worked at the prestigious fashion house of Missoni and with fellow Canadian designer Arthur Medonca. Her stint at Missoni is highly reflected in her choice of colours, prints and patterns of her swimwear and beach apparel for her s/s 2012 collection. Her “aquatic creations” are said to be inspired by her love of art and travel. As a result, Delfino has even developed her own prints. The runway show opened up with a video of a model in Tosca Delfino swimwear skydiving in the Cayman Islands. It made for an unusual but amusing opener. The choice of music was excellent with chills running down my spine when Adrian Lux’s Teenage Crime accompanied catwalking models down the runway. All models sported nude pumps and hair was loosely styled for the perfect beach look.
The collection had a vintage concept and a tribal indie chic-inspired look. Most two-piece swimsuits had hip hugging bikini bottoms that brought us back to the 60s. There were many tye-dye inspired patterns and a couple cute ocean blue swimsuits with prints of white whales. A maxi skirt paired with a black bandeau swim top and bottoms depicted the CN Tower in a canvas-like way. The tribal chic look was highly depicted with a similar maxi skirt on which a tribal women was printed. Each piece had a look of its own and the additional cute beach headwear, sheer tunics, sunglasses and skirts incorporated among one and two-piece swimsuits kept things fresh and funky.
- Claire Miglionico

Photo from http://giancarlowho.blogspot.ca 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Ashtiani

The ultimate summer staple: the pistachio silk georgette maxi dress. 
Golnaz Ashtiani continues to wow the crowds with her sophisticated classic beauty influences and precision cutting.
In April 2011, she won TFI’s new label competition for her f/w 2011 collection based on Tamara De Lempicka’s art decoratifs paintings (a one-of-a-kind inspiration I might add).
Her s/s 2012 collection took on new explorations:  “1960’s-era fashion and lifestyle magazines” and the classic Hollywood blockbuster with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn Roman Holiday were Ashtiani’s creative sources. The final result was a 15-piece runway show filled with delicate drape detailings, shiny silks, violet and pistachio hues to die for and modern tailoring that gave authentic pieces a present-day approach.
I am not usually one to rave about the colour violet but Ashtiani changed my mind instantly: she made the colour look wearable. She coordinated the hue with vanilla whites, lemons and cream “crepe de chine” for a contrasting effect. A favourite violet-based outfit of mine was the belted violet silk vest paired with a vanilla white structured dress with soft pleats in lemon. I completely adored the perfect combination and the square-shaped vest Ashtiani crafted. I could go on and on about her designs because I surprised myself wanting to explore my ultra-feminine side I often repress. Another ultimate piece I must write about is the pistachio silk georgette maxi dress with soft pleats. It was the last run-of-show dress. Its delicacy, sheerness and the soft pleated cut-out front will remain imprinted in my mind for a good while. What a style-inspiring collection it was!
– Claire Miglionico
Photo source by:  chantalenadeau.com

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Amanda Lew Kee

Amanda Lew Kee graduated from Ryerson University’s bachelor of design in 2010. In 2008, she started her own jewelry line which then progressed into women’s ready-to-wear. For her s/s 2012 collection, she incorporated green plastic visors that instantly made me think of Lacoste. Lew Kee’s designs were no where near Lacoste’s conservative cuts but the tennis/sporty influence was there. It was as if Lew Kee had raided Lacoste shops across the country and revamped its collections entirely with gold zipper detailings, kaleidoscope-inspired prints, electric blues and silks.

Amanda Lew Kee, photo by Jenna Marie Wakani for Toronto Life

The runway show was composed of fifteen summer-ready outfits of various kinds. I liked how Lew Kee thought of creating an entire and exciting wardrobe instead of focusing only on key pieces such as dresses or dress shirts. Dress shirts were present and so were tennis skirts, biker shorts, pants, maxi and razor back dresses. This collection was by far one of my favourites because of its nifty designs. A model strutted in a silk dress shirt and white leather front biker shorts. The details were simply amazing: from the bust up, the shoulders were covered in sheer white silk while the rest of the dress shirt was patterned in blue, orange and purple kaleidoscopic prints minus the cuffs that were also kept white. As for the biker shorts, the white leather surrounded a centered band of see-through material on each thigh front which fitted tightly around the thighs hitting right above the knee. Each outfit was paired with glossy all-black saddle- or brogue-like shoes.
Lew Kee has already worked closely with the entertainment industry. She has worked with HBO’s True Blood, Deadmau5 and has been recognized as “a designer to watch” in publications such as The Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue and FLARE Magazine. We might as well start watching her closely too!
– Claire Miglionico

Photo Credit: fashionist.ca 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Chloe Comme Parris

The name Chloe Comme Parris  has a poetic ring I’d love to give to a fashion house of my own. I quickly got attached to the name and then to its contemporary designs. Earlier in the month, I had read a story by Sarah Nicole Prickett in the October 2011 issue of FLARE Magazine which labeled Chloe and Parris Gordon, 23 and 21 in age – the Toronto-based sister duo behind Chloe Comme Parris – “up-and-coming designers." A few photos from the fall 2011 collection had me instantly hooked. A breezy long-sleeved and loose-fitted almost floor-length black dress made me think of Mary-Kate Olsen’s sense of dress. In the story, Chloe explains she’s always had a fascination for Louis XVI fashion: “[the men] wore velvet leggings with coattails and vests. So they had structure on top and then a skinny leg. I think that’s how women want to look today – or at least, we do”.
Chloe Comme Parris’s s/s 2012 collection took on a different influence than that of Louis XVI. Some say the collection gave off a modern-day Victorian vibe. The audience was greeted to a multicolored splash-painted runway and a few paintings which hung on white walls. The “artist”-inspired decor gave the initial thought of a paintbrush-inspired wardrobe, but instead guests were greeted to either head-to-toe outfits in soft hues, dark hues and sometimes mixed and patterned hues. The collection had great diversity from all-white cropped pants paired with a buttoned collarless jacket to flowy Victorian blue outfits to a comfy grey sweater with a long patterned prairie skirt in soft hues paired with the “must-have” backpack the sisters fight over. Each outfit had jewelry designed by Parris while Chloe focuses mostly on textiles. Chloe Comme Parris’ s/s 2012 collection sometimes resembled Denis Gagnon’s similar fun and youthful inspirations he had for his s/s 2012 collection.
- Claire Miglionico  

Photo credit by Jenna Marie Wakani for Toronto Life

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Behind-The-Scenes: a short film in the Crowsnest Pass

Kaila in the "meadow". 

It started with a Monday morning of Raleigh in my car. Then, chills down my spine which meant an idea was slowly started to form from the music: vivid imagery of a girl frolicking somewhere in the countryside.
For the past couple months, I've been meaning to get together with my friend Ali Frost to create a short film of some sort but the inspiration was just not there. Well, believe it or not, this time around, we did not waste time.
The idea blossomed on Monday, we talked about it the day of and also found an actor that very same day; we also had our first meeting discussing the storyboard, and the film's shooting location. On Tuesday, we finished the storyboard and on Wednesday, we met up with Kaila, our solo actress for the project.

We shot the film in the beautiful Crowsnest Pass on Saturday. It was the perfect location with lots of green fields, beautiful scenic views, and ghostly towns. It was great to also catch up with Kevin, a friend of ours who has been living in the Pass for the past two years as a reporter for The Crowsnest Pass Promoter.

It was a great weekend of productivity and creativity and a great time to catch up with old friends.

Thanks to Ali, Kaila, Kaila's lovely assistant, Eymeric and Kevin for the lovely day in the mountains.

protecting myself from the mosquitos!

Kaila serene

still asleep but soon to be awake 
in focus. 

rolling camera! meadow shot!

big-ass tire

purrrdy view!

Mediterranean-style house in deserted Coleman, AB
spin away

abandoned farmhouse

talking to director Ali 


bench shot

the train came! 

making of a fish with a rusty railway nail. *sketchy* - the nail part. 
Photography by Claire Miglionico. Shots of me by Eymeric Widling

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Krane

Fresh and innovative design concepts are often lacking in men fashion hence why I am always happy to see more emerging designers focusing on our beloved, yet at times, unfashioned men.
Ready-to-wear men fashion tends to stick to the conventional and “safer” roads known to the North American average Joe. But for Ken Chow – creative director and founder at Kranehis designs go beyond the normative rules, re-interpreting classic pieces in men fashion all-together. Krane’s s/s 2012 collection was showcased in an innovative and creative way. Although I overheard the photo pit complain about how difficult it was to shoot the show, to me, it was the perfect interactive and conceptual presentation we’d been missing all week.
Cute indie nerds walked the runway in vintage boyish looks and uniforms very reminiscent of the 1940s and 1950s. Chow’s minimalist approach was prevalent in his re-invention of the white dress shirt: leather harness-like straps englobed the shirts and  boldly-coloured zippers were sewed onto the front of shirts.  Bow ties, gelled hair combed to the side, Wayfarer style sunglasses and Doc Marten boots made for an eclectic/classic with a modern twist look.
Models would swagger to the end of the runway to pause mid-way in front of a display of mismatched whites and blues on their way back. Models would adopt poses at various angles: sideways and face-to-face with the audience (for detail viewing I presume). Some adopted a rather swervy route passing behind other displays to pick up bags of different shapes and forms to then hook them up onto these very same displays. Once all bags were hung, bag-less models came by to unhook the bags and carry them away.
Adorable waxed cotton and leather carry-alls and a light grey-green jacket that converted into an over-the-shoulder accessory were also sported by our nerds.
For me, this show was a breath of fresh air because Krane does men fashion the way it should be done: innovative and fearless.
– Claire Miglionico

Photo Credit: Peroni Moda Files 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Juma

Alia (design director) and Jamil (creative director) Juma are the brother-sister effort behind the internationally-acclaimed unisex ready-to-wear and accessories line Juma. The unisex concept is an interesting one: Alia and Jamil wanted to create clothes they could both share. As globe-trotters having lived in Kenya, Russia, Los Angeles and Montreal, travel and art are among Juma’s top inspirations. Without any doubt does Juma cater to the hip younger crowd. After all, their line is highly influenced by young celebrities. Recently, they have created “custom printed outfits” for hip-pop queen Nicki Minaj. Similar colourful printed outfits were found in their s/s 2012 collection presented at Toronto’s fashion week. The runway show was an equally “in” show with “Pumped up Kicks” by Foster the People blaring through the speakers while models showed off Juma’s latest designs: re-imagined animal prints, geometric patterns and bright feather-peacock prints. The studio was lit purple and created a mod ambiance. The runway was surrounded by mannequins showcasing silk headscarfs of various prints (my favourite was the giraffe-inspired one!). Models’ hair were gilded in gold sparkles, a personal touch I liked very much. Designs seemed to be highly influenced by African tunics as most outfits were free-flowing, loose-fitting shirts and pants perfect for an urban summer getaway if paired with heels or the perfect beach or music festival outfit paired with a simple pair of flats. Juma’s designs were flattering. Definitely the kind of ready-to-wear I’d enjoy sporting!

– Claire Miglionico
photo credit: Sabrina Maddeaux

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Left on Houston

Left on Houston sweater from the spring 2012 collection. Cute!

I'm finally getting around to sorting out my over-abundance of clothes and there's this gray sweater I wear a lot with shiny silver dots on the front and bubbly sleeves. It's 10% cashmere and 90% cotton. Its simplicity and elegance drew me to buy it. I bought it at Danielle's Consignment on 17th ave in Calgary for cheap and I don't regret the purchase at all. I don't really look at labels when I buy. If I like it and it looks/fits good, I'll usually get it.  But when I was sorting out clothes today, I took a closer look at its label. It read "Left on Houston". Curiosity took over and I googled it to find really comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-toned garments from the US-based clothing company. Their spring 2012 collection looks great! The kind of style I like in my clothes: minimalist, elegance, looseness, sheerness.

Glad I looked it up! If I were a buyer, Left on Houston would certainly be on the list.


List of independent stores in Calgary, AB that carry Left on Houston:
Anthropologie also carries the brand.

T2T 6N1
914 - 15TH AVE. S.W.
T2R 0S3
403 695 1320
T2N 3P6
T2N 3P2
403 283 2227
1518 4TH ST. S.W.
T2R 0Y4
403 457 4020
T3H 0N5