Close your eyes and visualise a place where sand whispers stories of eternal happiness and blue is the warmest colour. Picture white chaise lounges, vibrant umbrellas, sun-kissed hair, boaty-boats and a glorious Mediterranean tan ruined slightly by fancy swimwear. Add a fabulous soft beat and oh boy, you are in Ibiza.
Impossible, you say? Well, not quite! Look closely at the photograph…
The mesmerizing piece is the work of a Frenchman, passionate photographer Stephane Dessaint. Born and raised in Paris (I wonder if he loved to hang out at Montmartre) Stephane also lived in LA and New York where he was involved in the emerging fashion industry. Several years later, at his recent vernissage in Dubai, Stephane was introduced to me as the artist and photographer behind the limited edition “Ibiza Feelings” collection. My first impression however was: “Boy, he knows how to dress”.
Charmed by his style I was the hundredth person at La Cantine to ask the same question: “What’s your secret?”, unintentionally narrowing his work to a photography trick. To my surprise Stephane took my inquiry with the full seriousness a serious artist can only afford and whispered back technicalities related to his usual day at a shoot. Geared up with a camera, Stephane would patiently wait for the “l’heur du Zenith” when the angle of the sun leaves no shadows on the ground giving seawater additional sparkle and deep blue colour (apparently his favorite).
Warning: Please consider the image below as rather inaccurate as I don’t recall being the only person who talked 🙂
Stephane Dessaint’s work will be displayed at La Cantine de Faubourg for another couple of months. Please stop by to witness the charming vibes of Mediterranean summer and photographs that tell stories.
This October Toronto is the most delightful place to hang out (in Canada at least!). While it snowed in Alberta and elsewhere across the country, the weather has been at it’s best behavior in this breezy city treating everyone and everything to incredibly warm afternoons. Day after day the sun made it’s reappearance to reflect a perfect turquoise blue sky in the million glass windows of the downtown high-rises. Meanwhile the trees were changing colors like determined bloggers loosen up their haute couture outfits during fashion week.
Loaded with the unexpected overdose of Vitamin D, the local street style has flourished with eye-catching accessories, soon to be forgotten summer staples (think mini-shorts), natural fabrics and occasional layers carried in a moment of weakness to potentially compensate for the wind of change from Antarctica.
So I wasted no time and immediately WhatsApp’ed two most heroic fashion gangstars who negotiate food but never style. Together we connected what Toronto is loved for, emerging urbanism with self-expression.
You can always define the true big city girl by her shoes. She is independent, beautiful, confident and quick. She knows what she wants and where she wants to be. She is in rational snappy sneakers that would accelerate her potential and get her going. I caught up with Dana at Trinity Bellwoods Park, a place with many hidden gems and three-dimensional friendly beasts.
Walking Queen St. W., I cursed my choice of ballerina flats for this fashion expedition as my delicate feet echoed with pain at every tiny stone. I could barely keep up with Dana diving in and out of mysterious looking stores. So I used my old trick of pulling out the camera to stop for a quick “strike a pose” moment and charmed Dana into sharing her secret of being on the best dressed page with the minimum effort and investment. As it turns out, the recurring trend in Toronto street style at any season or on any occasion is based on emotions and love.
Torontonians are passionate about the Blue Jays (Toronto’s baseball team) and they are not shy to express it. Jay’s hats, created in combination of red, blue, gold, black and white colours add a touch of naughtiness to any outfit, instantly developing into a fashion statement that drives attention. I’m totally shopping for one (well, it’s never one, believe me!). I also need to find a way to sort my hair around it or get it in the tiniest size to outshine that cool girl on the left.
One of the most romantic views of Toronto is from the roof top bar at the Park Hyatt. Shorts paired with Hawaiian tee looked rather extravagant in the middle of October and with no questions asked and with no arms raised they confidently passed for a smart casual. Meet Jesper, a fearless super fit traveller, who is rounding a latest stretch of his tour de monde.
After a couple of fancy cocktails (tailored to my vicious desires), we were absolutely charmed by the elegance of the city winking at us in the sunshine. I demanded a change of decorations, so we headed out to the Kensington Market or “Hipster’s Paradise” in the search for the dodgiest outfit of the day.
Dressed as a “nasty woman” in black suede boots with shiny silver zips, military cut coat and mini grey woolen dress, I radiated pure awesomeness. Jesper in torn denim, keds and explorer’s windbreaker was completely immersed into surroundings, hiding his true identity behind “Top Gun” shades. It was only a matter of minutes before we started attracting some unusual waves of attention from locals and tourists (blame our pretty faces) forcing us to look for shelter. So a trip to the Lakefront seemed to be an easy escape.
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Queen’s Quays is the best place for people and seagull watching and for being watched (plus a nice view of the lake). The Lakefront attracts fashionistas and crazies (in its best meaning) from all over the world, who peacefully co-exist and co-inspire. The Lakefront is also a home to the Power Plant contemporary art gallery, a busy local brewery with the tables always taken but free seats around the bar, and Canadian vintage trains that one shouldn’t climb.
The October Fashion experience in Toronto is incomplete without a photo of the CN Tower, ideally with yourself on it and some serious showing-off (don’t forget to empty pockets prior to attempting).
The calendar is a funny thing, it cannot be trusted! Take September for example. While the weather is staying baking hot in Dubai, Australians are cheering the beginning of Spring and somewhere in Siberia kids are building their first snowman. So, where on Earth do I go to show off my new cashmere coat? I decided to head to Eastern Europe for some serious sugar coated autumn style. Salut, St. Petersburg!
Secret: Read about my summer adventures in SPB here and here.
It’s true, the autumn’s here! I feel its presence in cooler breeze and shorter days… September sky is getting heavier allowing the weather to rapidly switch from fatally gothic to dreamy rococo. Autumn is here to charm with the ever-changing palette of colours and forever steal our memories of sweet summer days… With no time to lose, I encourage you to assist me in embracing the change of season with the sounds of l’Autunno by Vivaldi accompanied by a skinny flute of sparkling rose. Let’s savor this moment as every day is unlike any other. Follow my ten steps to glam up!
1. Allure. There is nothing more stylish than a great hair or… a complete lack of it. Scented with long lasting perfume (I love Dior Addict on a windy September afternoon), your flirty locks lure attention, making you truly unforgettable. Go for it!
Secret: I use Fountain Cosmetics moisture hair mask for extra softness and shine. Available here.
2. Red lipstick. Forget about pink, orange or purple. Forget about lighter or darker shades. Power play the upcoming autumn melancholy with a beauty statement. Red will make you irresistible in any circumstances and in any weather. Think red!
3. Lace it. There is no bad weather! Whether it’s sunny or rainy, dry or muddy put your comfort first because heels are killers (in every context). Get a pair of funky laced sneakers and be a big city girl who values independency and time. Own that walk!
Secret: I love shoe hunting at Farfetch for their all-time discounts.
4. Fashion forward. Splash your outfit with a little colour. Play with a scarf, long necklace or umbrella (your choice) or use your fantasy and creativity to enhance the “every day in a coat” look. Experiment with your individuality and you’ll never look back.
5. Trench that trend. They say elegance is attitude, but a classy trench coat on a rare sunny day will be as impressive. Plus it may save you from an unexpected rain and annoying paparazzi by softly camouflaging you in the 19th century architecture. A good trench coat gently wraps around your curves, hiding some of your secrets and keeping open what is needed to be seen. Add shady shades for a super cool spy look.
6. Candy it up. The fun of wearing layers is an opportunity to sneak in a fancy piece and shine it at the right moment. There is always that special dress that reminds you of sunshine, summer secret affairs or an exotic vacation. Be the eye candy, get noticed. You are awesome!
7. Polish it. For the rainy day at the museum (I ended up strolling through a spectacular art collection at Hermitage) opt for a “good-girl” look with focus on beige tones and natural fabrics. Play the cliche element of your outfit right and every photo you take can easily be a page from a glossy magazine.
8. Warm coat. Never underestimate tricky autumn weather and invest in a comfy, yet warm cashmere coat. Apart from saving you from sneezing, it has all the opportunity to turn into a timeless and favorite forever piece. Choose a flirty cut and pay attention to the fabric. It has to be either cashmere, wool or a mix of those two. No compromises!
Secret: Aritzia offers awesome selection of coats (especially when they are on sale). Contact Canadian customer care for worldwide delivery.
9. Heavy military coat. Military design is as hot as ever. A heavy maxi coat tailored to compliment your curves or tiny waist is a must for those special nights out to the ballet or daytime downtown walking sprees. The best part – you can wear whatever underneath, including a naughty bodysuit, this coat will keep your warm!
Secret: A tiny purse with metallic details will add a little sparkle. I love DVF handbags (keep an eye for price cuts), not to mention her statement coats. Available here.
10. Stockings. This one is quite simple. Say no to nudes and instead welcome opaques with microfibre in brown, grey, black or maybe cosmic red. When the weather behaves show up in fishnet tights in all unimaginable shades.