Walking down memory lane - The nighties are and were a pretty rad time to have grown up in….
It started with the" Dad Sneaker" and quickly cut to the chase to be known as the "Ugly Sneaker" which it is still affectionately known today. A trend that would prove to have its choke hold game strong on the industry for quite a few seasons now, with no signs of letting up, and endless options at various price points on offer.
Trend forecasting was one of my favorite classes at Parsons and allowed us to discect and discuss what we were seeing on the streets of NYC - the self expressive playground where trends are birthed, and a petri dish for sartorial experiments. Each week we would take on a new neighborhood, and document what we were seeing. You needed to see it three times for it to be a trend, a fun observation tool I have yet to turn off, and it's going on 10 years!
Trends either trickle up from the street or trickle down from the runway, and though there could be serious debate that this was a clash up, I am leading towards the chunky ugly dad-like sneaker started on the runway, with a bold move by Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton. Compounded by Balenciaga sending their own version (the Triple S) down the runway- or maybe it was the other way around? But either way it was one of those two powerhouses setting this thick soled trend in motion. And since we need a third I'm going to go with Stella McCartney ushering in her own version or maybe it was Gucci; but it's safe to say designers and high contemporary brands like Acne were on the sneaker train already given how massive streetwear and the 90's revival were becoming.
So since we have rent to pay and vacations we want to take, I have rounded up some great high street version that wont break the bank, and lets you try on this trend. #tryonatrend
Art Director & Stylist; Toronto + London
What does your work as a stylist and art director entail? And where do you find inspiration?
You begin with a concept from the creative director and your job as the AD is to inspire the overall execution of an idea, bringing all the elements together. Addressing lighting, photography, h&m, fashion styling, mood and working on-set with the team to bring the concept to fruition. Many times the process usually entails working ahead of time with the creative team, developing the treatment and choosing the right artists to execute the brief, whether it's for a fashion editorial or commercial ad.
My inspiration comes from everywhere really, life, music, art, especially photography and editorials I love, and most importantly my instinct. I have always had a good eye and imagination so this plays a huge role in my executions. Obviously the needs of a commercial client vs a creative editorial have different end goals but the process for me is still the same.
When I work as a stylist, the journey isn't too different, I am inspired and work from my experience in life, photography, fine art, designers and music. Everything I experience in my creative world inspires all my work as a art director and as a fashion stylist.
What is the best part about fashion and personal style in our socially sharing (obsessed) world?
This one's tricky for me! I absolutely do find people and style I really admire and that I am drawn to on social media, but I guess being selective is key. There are so many copy cats, clutter and not to mention rubbish on instagram, I actually love it when I find someone that shares the similar aesthetics or a post/account that really inspires me. Like most things in life, take it in moderation, taking the time to find the gems. Social media is a fantastic business tool for a lot of companies and artists, that goes without saying. It's actually really remarkable how much it can enhance your profile or business, but having thousands of followers doesn't always equate to great style or taste, but we already know that!
What are a couple trends you are loving, and any you wish would die?
Trends I am loving, plaids on plaids, ankle socks with heels or sandals (always secretly loved this one but never really wear it on myself, has a very 90's grunge/punk vibe I like), the comeback of neon injected into looks really unexpectedly = my faves.
Trends I wish would die = palazzo pants in the wrong prints, let's stick to snake print or black for these! — Pascal
When in London where can we find you, eating, shopping & hanging out?
I eat a vegan diet so unfortunately that means trying out markets and vegan events like Camden Market in London, but beware being crushed by people, Camden is tourist stop #1. I do find Toronto has a better selection of vegan restaurants vs. London.
I always make a stop at Selfridges because I love the story behind it, and it really is a part of London and Oxford Street, not to mention the sales if you hit it up at the perfect time. I've spent loads of time over the last 10 years in East London, and stayed in a flat there quite often. My friend has owned a gallery and Air BnB for many years so I spent many nights there and around the Dalston area. But since marrying my Brit husband we spend most of our time at galleries, concerts and exploring the quiet spots in London vs, the bars and all-nighters. I need my 8 hours of zzzz. My fave spots include, Barbican, Design Museum and always the V&A museum.
Can you describe your favorite neighborhood in London, and why you love it?
I haven't decided yet.! Not sure I ever will decide. It's too big and after years of travel I still haven't picked a favorite! So many areas to cater to your daily mood and cravings.
What is the difference between Toronto style and London style?
The difference between London & Toronto style is a tough one to answer, as I am a loyalist to both cities. London is a mecca of fashion and music, enough said. So many of my inspirations throughout my entire life came out of the UK. Bowie, McQueen, Britpop. London has so many people, and I guess when you see style that is great it really sticks out amongst all the commuters. For those Brits who love fashion it's imbedded in them like DNA, because of the likes of Alexander McQueen and more currently Charles Jeffrey. Between the fashion & art coming together, Londoners are fearless.
Name a few brands or designers you are loving at the moment?
Charles Jeffrey, (hello, Londoner!) Stella McCartney because she's cruelty-free, with a splash of Balenciaga here and there!
If the fashion gods gave you three wishes (and their credit card) what would you order online?
1. Something by Charles Jeffrey
2. Still not over Balenciagas over the knee knife boots, seems like you could roll out of bed with an over-sized t-shirt and look fab wearing these.
3. Something Stella McCartney because she's cruelty-free and that's a good thing.
"When I work as a stylist, the journey isn't too different, I am inspired and work from my experience in life, photography, fine art, designers and music" — Pascal
I am VERY into autumnal dressing; a word I had never heard of until I moved to the culturally refined hotbed that is London England. Landing in the fashion industry in one of four fashion capitals was amazing and daunting, but I had come from New York so I already had one fashion city under my belt (1 point for me). I however did not have the vernacular or turns of phrase as the "English", 1 point for England. So the first order of business was Fall vs. Autumn - though there would be many more. For fashion folk, most recognize F/W or Fall/Winter especially in North America, but in London it's A/W followed by the year. This denotes the season and year of the fashion collection. I'm pretty good with language but switching to Autumn/Winter was a tough one, especially when speaking to editors or writing PR emails. A "Sloany" type in my office actually asked me with a serious face what Fall was? But here comes the best part; autumnal, a word I had never heard of but instantly fell in love with. Autumnal colours would become my go to, it became my buzz word and I felt as British as Madonna's accent. Autumnal, autumnal, autumnal. I would throw it around like designer confetti every chance I could. Fast forward and I still think I say autumn a lot, especially when it's getting closer to the TIME. The time when it's time to start wearing Fall clothes!!! As I write this I have already purchased 6 pairs of shoes for the new season , 3 of which are cowboy , cuban, Calvin Klein Zara boot hybrids ready for Autumn/ Winter 18. All just waiting to meet their match in the myriad outfit possibilities to take on the tasks of the new season; and make new memories whilst looking seasonly on -trend. There are two english turns of phrase just there, let me know if you spot them?!
Here are some photos of me desperately trying to take some new autumnal colours for a spin in closed toe shoes.
photo cred: Stephanie Madeira
Power tools can come in small beautiful packages, and are not just reserved for the garage. The vibrating 24k Gold Beauty Bar is a wonder to use, and a sight to behold. Like its Instagram famous predecessor the jade roller, it claims to just roll your worries, and your wrinkles away. I can easily sit for upwards of 15 minutes massaging my face in 24 karat gold, using various serums and oils needed on the day. Rose Hip is a great entry level oil if you are new to oils, but I am loving The Ordinary's new B oil at the moment. If you are an oil junky like myself and looking for your next hit, it's a great one. And This You Tube Video is super helpful to get you vibrating in the right directions.
This lovely little massager is a must have for your beauty routine, and an easy Amazon one click away! With various versions online I chose a modest $18 one via the e-comm giant and hoped for the best. Since I am loving the results I am also looking forward to the next face fad to come out of Asia to be added to the tool box.
And now we move on to the life changing tool. A true masterpiece that most people just cannot believe is for real. A $500 hair dryer that people went nuts for, that you would have to try to truly believe. When Dyson unveiled this product with the help of celeb stylist and Ouai creator Jen Atkin on the cover of the New York Times you knew it was going to be a game changer. I didn't just drink the vodka spiked kool-aid I dove right in, however $500 wasn't in the budget. So what is a girl to do? Well convince her mother to buy one of course! I planted the seed of its powers and eventually she told me she bought it with three easy payments of $omething.99 via the shopping channel! I was thrilled but there was one caveat - I could only use it at her house I couldn't borrow it. Not a problem when you live around the corner like the Kardashians, and not to be put off by anything really, I would just drive over with wet hair on my way out. It was simple, I too would have perfect hair it was just a car ride away.
However, the beauty angels looked down upon poor Lauren and a miracle happened. This disruptor to the beauty biz became available on Air Miles and became available to me. Life changing! Everything you have heard about it is true. It's speed, sound, and just amazing overall look and feel is ALL true! And if you are having trouble explaining yourself or justifying this to a lay person, just call it the Bang & Olufsen of blow dryers or a Tesla.
Multi-discipline Artist; Toronto
Kathryn Macnaughton; Multi-disciplinary Artist, Toronto
Artist Kathryn Macnaughton is a music lover, vintage magazine collector, and a deep soul. She successfully fuses provocative images, abstract shapes and forms, and bodacious illustrations into a fluid and exciting contemporary mash up of visuals. She paints, she draws, she does collage, and seamlessly incorporates digital into her mix as well. Her diverse portfolio sees her regularly creating illustrations for fashion and lifestyle clients like FASHION Magazine, The Hudson Bay Co. and book covers for Penguin Publishing, as well as her own exhibitions that are erotic and boundary pushing in the best possible way. Her depictions of the female form and social commentary are entrancing; vivid colours, pop culture references, and cheeky details that truly paint a portrait of what is going on in media and in life today. Her beautiful, poignant, and sexy body of work can only be really appreciated by seeing the work itself, and noticing its diverse spectrum. Here we get to chat with the artist about her journey in art, new bands, and how she’d spend the perfect Saturday.
Can you tell us a little about your journey into art and what it’s like being an artist in Toronto? I’ve always wanted to be an artist. It runs in my family. My dad went to Ontario College of Art and Design and I did too. I got my degree in design there and I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator for almost 8 years now. Crazy! I started painting (abstract) on the side a few years ago and I’ve been extremely busy with that now, so my illustration has taken a bit of a step back.
Can you describe the Toronto art scene? It’s hard when you’re in it. My perception is probably not accurate. There are so many pockets within the art scene in Toronto so it’s very difficult to describe. Everyone is really friendly and encouraging. The artists in the city really love to stick together and support one another.
Whose work are you admiring lately? Can you turn us onto a couple new artists?
Camille Henrot – Oscar Murillo – Melike Kara
How do you think your work has evolved from say 5 years ago? Drastically! I wasn’t painting large abstract paintings five years ago. Both my illustration and paintings have also become way more minimal. I think the work has definitely matured over the years.
Can you walk through your ideal Saturday in Toronto? It’s actually Saturday today as I answer these questions. I asked myself that exact question when I woke up this morning! I have a bit of free time on my hands this weekend and I thought to myself I could do anything and all I want to do is paint. It’s nice to get out for a bit and socialize with some friends, grab a coffee and paint for a bit. I need to be doing something creative everyday.
Where can we usually find you drinking, lounging and eating out? Hmmm….. I go to a bar down the street from me called Loveless that I love. It’s great for meetings, catching up with friends, and hanging out. Never too busy. Comfortable and very chill. My favourite restaurants in Toronto would have to be Foxley and Bar Isabel. Also down the street from me. The ceviche is heavenly.
What music are you into these days? Yesterday, two incredible albums came out and I’m obsessed. I have a feeling I’ll be listening to both these albums on repeat for months! They are also both canadian! wooh! Majid Jordan and Junior Boys. GO LISTEN.
Do you work across all your mediums simultaneously or find yourself getting stuck into one of three? I usually focus on one. Especially when I’m working on a series. There is a bit of crossover sometimes. It’s nice to take a break. It keeps the work fresh, otherwise I get burnt out pretty quickly.
Where are you finding inspiration these days? Do you have a Muse? Recently I’ve noticed that my inspiration is coming from Arizona. My parents live in Scottsdale six months out of the year and I usually go down for a few weeks in the winter. My colour palette has really changed since going there. My work used to be more chaotic, but the starkness of Scottsdale (i.e the strip malls, highways, and pail colours) have really influenced my work. I get so inspired. I love the flatness.
A few descriptors of your work include – bodacious, arousal and romance – can you add three more to that list?
form – organised chaos – lust
You regularly work with fashion magazines, are you a follower of fashion? And what are your go to designers if so? Yes. I love fashion. When I graduated from high school I really wanted to be a fashion designer. I applied to a few schools but I got on the waiting list, so OCAD it was! I’m so out of the loop on fashion right now. I wear the same thing everyday; White tshirt and jeans, but I appreciate the fashion world and I get really inspired by it. I was always a huge Alexander McQueen fan. He was my idol.
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I am not really a denim girl. I have loved trousers for as long as I can remember. I remember being in grade 8 and going into Club Monaco (already quite an adult choice) and choosing baby blue wide leg trousers in an almost taffeta feeling fabric with a light sheen. Maybe I was being practical, and if I spilled something on the water-proof looking pants it would be an easy wipe and go- but I doubt it. Fashion forward and unique choices probably took hold around that time, and throughout the years I have consistently worn or purchased trousers in varying iterations. But lately I have wondered why I don't have perfect jeans. Vintage Levi's are my go to, and the whole mom jean thing worked out ok for me, but there are just some people who look really good in jeans. And those people who go on a plane in denim! I don't feel that person is me, and does no one talk about how they aren't that comfortable? Compared to say palazzo pants or a pair of Vivienne Westwood drop crotch trousers? But I would love to love jeans, and dream of a Jane Birkin moment happening at some point.
My denim stack is pretty modest. Gone are the days of luxury $200+ jeans, made easier by the rise of vintage, and knowledge that denim is bad business for the planet, but I don't think I wear even a quarter of them. So just like my plight with the pleated skirt, I am going to begin my quest and try on jeans in my travels. Luck is in the numbers and if I consistently try on loads like I did with said skirt I should one day lock in my perfect pair. Watch this space x
Gold jewelry really doesn't go out of style but perhaps the appeal fades when other metals or materials steal it's lime light. Well gold is solidly back at number one, but this time it's a little understated. Fine and layered gold chains at varying lengths is a top trend. Here I've layered favorite pieces, both new and old. That too is a trend at the moment, showing life stories or milestones through your jewelry collection. The gold bar I am wearing here has my beloved god-daughter's birthday in roman numerals, and the Basquiat inspired crown is from Alpha Beta, a best selling brand from my days with my boutique Suite Hazen in the UK. The choker is from independent brand Biko, and the long coin is a fab find from Oak + Fort.
Location: Kensington Market Toronto
Photography: Stephanie Madeira
Dress: H&M, Sneakers: Adidas, Bag: Vintage, Earrings: Biko, Choker: Biko, Crown Necklace: Alpha Beta, Coin Necklace Oak+Fort, Cuff: Vintage
Ultra Violet may have been awarded color of the year but minty green should be on your radar too. It might scream take me to South Beach but that sounds fun doesn't it? And in terms of footwear I'd love for my feet to be screaming meet me on Ocean Drive for a sex on the beach.
Shoes all L'intervalle
Part sofa, part drapes could you say? Textures, sparkle, bells, high waists, velvet, polyester- the descriptors are endless for the 70's, but one thing is for sure, the decade and palette are immediately identifiable!
Socks are really something we have not typically paid too much attention to, as for the most part they are almost entirely always out of sight. It is a bit horrific however, if you are caught out at a party that requires you to take your shoes off and you didn't take that into consideration. On a sliding scale I have seen sport socks with dress pants, that's not too bad at a 2, mix n matched coming in at a 6, and someone's own kid's socks with a pony and holes , now that is closer to a 10.
Delightfully in the last few years decorative socks have become all the rage. Allowing you to jazz up an outfit or get a few more weeks wear out of your sandals. Adding pops of colour, sheer fabrics, and unexpected details to any outfit. EASY and cheap, or sometimes cheaper I should say. There are many ways to do socks gorgeously and completely affordably, but some are opting for the designer route.
Designer socks most notably from Prada and Off-White have been deemed the gateway drug. The new entry level into the brand that you can wear like a badge of honor in plain sight. Socks, who knew?! Cosmetics, sunglasses, and small leather goods held this ground level into a brand for eons (just look at how department stores are set up) now socks have been added to this mix. And not just any socks, in addition to the socks of fancy, athletic style socks are in high demand. Sport socks that you might see on a soccer pitch are mixing easily with stilettos and kitten heels, making for a fab look that ticks both the designer and ath-leisure boxes. I absolutely love quirk and I love juxtaposition, so I'm giving this a score of 10/10 and saying this trend can go into overtime.
One particular item has eluded me for quite a while. And no, it is not a Birkin bag I hear you say. An accordion pleated skirt has just never made it into my closet but has made it into the store dressing room at least two dozen times. Each time, I quickly fall from my pedestal of hope that this will be the day a pleated skirt will be mine.
I think we have all whizzed around the store with our "wants" and headed to change thinking there will be a Clark Kent phone booth fashion moment awaiting us. For me I will magically look like Victoria Beckham in the perfectly proportioned midi length pleated skirt. That of course never has or never will happen. But I still continue to chase the style that in my minds eye will fill a void in my wardrobe. One of casual cool elegance ready for anything. A t-shirt and Adidas trainers, check! Brunching in ankle boots, check! Or a night out on the town with adult accessories and proper hair, big check! So many options and so much midi length inspiration out there. So I believe a small obsession was born between seeing VB, Pinerest and a good dose of Kate Foley- and I love a challenge. I had actually recently given up on the quest establishing some shapes are just not for me. However, I very much believe that all shapes and sizes rock a midi skirt of varying styles very well. I just wasn't getting i, no matter how many times I looked even with Instagram inspo while shopping. Then on one lovely day when I was long on time and short on boutiques (I was in the mall) I tried again. At the very back of H&M after already grabbing an oversized jumper (with words I somehow couldn't read the mirror) I found the skirt in a complimentary blue that if it worked (ya right) would become my Birthday outfit. That's how much I have wanted an accordion skirt, I had a very nice Preen dress lined up for the occasion but I was willing to switch high street gears for a skirt and winter knit. And I did! It worked , the quest was over and the Superwoman moment happened in the back of an H&M simple as that.
In this current Instagram era, home decor is as popular as ever, but maybe just a little more visible- correction A LOT more visible. It's no shock that people go to certain places to feed their feed with on trend photos, or grab a quick coffee amongst subway tiles and millennial pink by choice. This takes the idea of see and be seen to a whole new level. And when it comes to your own space, you too can add a few elements for IG friendly #ootd day posts.
Since we all can't live in a Palm Springs mid- century masterpiece of an airy Parisian apartment, we can however up our aesthetics in our own way. Here are a few of my discoveries.
Ikea Lamps - This $60 Ranarp floor lamp is one of my best design accomplishments. Yes I am being dramatic but it was such a find. They have a variety of great lamps but this series is one for the books. It comes in black, white, or nickel plated (silver) with gorgeous gold steel joints and striped cord.
Coffee Table Books - Gorgeous books can be a bit spendy but investing in a neat little stack is worth it. You can use them in a variety of ways not just on a book shelf. They look great layered on an ottoman or displayed to showcase other accents when used like a platform for a vase or lamp. Tashen published some of the best tomes in art, architecture, fashion, and pop culture.
Desenio Prints - I don't think gallery walls are going anywhere. Desenio has reasonably priced prints and posters in all styles and sizes. Making it a one stop shop for creating your gallery wall big or small.
Small Accents - Fur throws and small hide rugs add luxe texture and can be used in multiple rooms. Candles, vases, white ceramics, and your worldly possessions from travelling can be arranged in small vignettes on surfaces. The rule of three is best applied here and accompany your coffee table books perfectly. Try Anthroplogie for objects and other accents.
Fresh Flowers - Flowers add an organic element to your space. There is just something so thoughtful about keeping a seasonal vase of flowers in your favourite place.
A few Go- To's
IKEA for clean and modern- The love hate relationship with Ikea is leaning more towards love for most people these days as Scandi design continues to rule. My own IKEA hack is to simple go in person on a quiet day.
Restoration Hardware for inspiration- No one can resist the bible size Restoration Hardware catalogue and picture perfect room sets. Like who really lives in that monochromic world? Visit the store, visit the site, its full of inspiration that can be accomplished with the help of other wallet friendly stores.
Etsy for throw cushions- The online marketplace is great for decorative pillow coverings. There is an eye watering selection, and with pillows being standard sizes it makes it easy to make an online purchase. Plus shopping small and speaking to the maker directly is a nice touch.
Target for accents- For my American friends who might not have a Home Sense (my fav) and for my Canadian lovelies, it might be worth the trip across the border. Target has great accents like this fluffy stool and side tables.
Mom Jeans. A term I am sure was coined by a fashion intern or a 20-something TopShop design assistant. Full on 80's rise, stretchless cotton, which most would say equals a man repelling shape. The absolute antithesis of the sexy skinny but nonetheless an on trend signifier that tells the public the wearer knows what's up. In that "It Girl" sorta way.
This trend with staying power has gone on to mean or include, simply, all the real deal denim out there. Made famous by Levi's, you can now acquire these gems just about anywhere from Zara to Off-White and most importantly vintage stores. The hunt for the perfect pair might take many trips to various vintage stores; trying on pairs that are not only, not your size, but in a wash you may not have originally desired. Going vintage is sustainable and authentic, with the thrill of the hunt to top it all off. And styling your new blues may be a bit easier than the hunt! Bring on the classic white runners and a T-shirt, blazers coupled with ankle boots, or sweaters and stilettos. Any number of combinations are out there for individuality and expression. A nod to the past with punctuations of the present are a great starting off point!
For the love of God errr products I say upon most Sephora or beauty counter visits. Basically knowing that I will walk out with something I didn't know I needed, and the bank balance doesn't appreciate. The most poignant example of this was a visit to Saks or more specifically the Byredo space. The Gypsy Water fragrance has been a favorite of mine since I meticulously chose it and it's chic leather travel case in Stockholm where the brand is from. Arriving to buy a re-fill I am told they are out which is not a problem, but when they couldn't find the Gypsy Water hair perfume this beauty junkie lost their marbles. How could I have been living without hair fragrance for so long? And what else is there out there, that I didn't even know I needed, in order to survive? ....
...Well it turns out quite a lot of things, a new discovery without fail every time I go beauty product window shopping, read GOOP, or the creepily targeted social media posts that follow me around. But I am the perfect target, with a giant sized expertly contoured (KKW Beauty) bullseye on my forehead. Ready for just about anything- buy, try, repeat but most likely with something new.
The Love List
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Byredo Hair Perfume
NYX Total Control Foundation
Glossier Stretch Concealer
The Ordinary Peeling Solution
Caudalie Detox Mask
Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray
I had coveted tulip flare trousers for ages. I believe it was Ellery that started the trend down under, shortly after they sent voluminous sleeves out into the fashion-verse to be carried like a torch (though near impossible to do literally) by street style stars and their leader Taylor Tomassi Hill. Trickle down from high fashion is essential to the fashion trend eco-system, with the majority of people needing that to happen in order to participate in the various trends. I too waited for my iteration to present itself, and at a convenient time. This time it was the contemporary floor that came knocking, not fast fashion. When Canadian Beaufille went on sale I was very familiar with the brand and their insanely gorgeous shapes. And very very pleased that The Hudson's Bay supports one of our best Canadian designers. Loving everything they do I was looking forward to snagging my first Beaufille "piece." Piece is the fashion speak for your nicer wardrobe bits when "where is that from" turns into "who is that by?" I have a lot of "pieces" from my time in New York and London where sample sales were the real deal and people did get naked out in the open. Or acquired by late night shopping with a glass of wine and not doing the exchange properly. Oops.
Mid century modern influences, indoor plants, and gold accents are the absolute top and accessible trends in interior decor for 2017. Clean lined Scandi vibes mixed with lush textiles will continue to rule room refreshing, and full renovations alike, for the foreseeable future.
There are always things to splurge on and areas where you can save. Thank you IKEA! Shopping around online for furniture and home accents has never been easier with places like Wayfair.ca, Structube and Rover. Plus Home Sense is a gold mine for IRL shopping; basically anything you can carry especially the decorative pillows. Each person's Splurge vs.Save technique is unique, so your balance is entirely up to you and don't forget you can buy and return almost anything.