Monday, November 29, 2010

Ursa Minor

You will likely be seeing more of this designer's work later on, but I just had to post these. Elizabeth of Ursa Minor (who just recently moved from my hometown to Montreal, and whose work you've already briefly seen here) had previously posted photos of the dying process of her new Silk Water Tops on her blog, and has just posted a blue one and a pink one in her Etsy shop. Though I'm not huge on colour, these are too gorgeous to not consider adding to the ol' wardrobe. Though I hear a black one may be coming soon...

In very loosely related news (as we're all made of star stuff, like Ursa Minor), you need to check out this website. If you like what the Auto-Tune the News guys have done and you are even a little bit interested in science, you may want to make sure you don't need to be anywhere for the next little bit...

I'm covered in bees, Part II

I've noticed the recent (and exciting!) trend of coated fabrics as an alternative to leather, and I really hope that more designers jump on this bandwagon (remember that glorious glazed cotton piece by Mr. Pugh?). Canadian designer Sonja den Elzen's Thieves' current collection, for example, has some lovely organic cotton pieces that are treated with beeswax (though I must say I'm a bigger fan of the men's pieces than the women's, this time around). The fabric supposedly both wears and is to be treated like leather. Most of these waxed pieces thus cannot be machine washed, but can be spot cleaned by rubbing more wax on them. While the prices are also comparable to that of leather pieces, I think it's definitely worth investing in a great piece that is so environmentally conscious.

A second example of coated fabric was found last night, when I rediscovered the work of Carrie Hayes at Ukamaku, a wonderful new online shop that features Canadian designers. While I'd more readily go for one of the printed silk dresses from her S/S 10 collection that was inspired by Icelandic geology, this jacket, made of polyeurethane coated linen (in the most perfect shade of green) is rather adorable (and a great deal at $80 CDN, from $295).

However, while I'd prefer to buy a coated clothing item, the time has come for me to buy a new bag. For the other day, I had to stand at my apartment's front door for too many minutes, digging in my once beloved handmade cotton bag (which was last year's Christmas present) for my keys. The thin inner lining simply couldn't handle more than 11 months of me shoving my sharp keys and sharp cornered books into it. Sure, the outer layer will hold up for a bit longer, but I simply can't be standing outside, degloved in sub-zero weather, fishing for keys which I won't have the agility to use be the time my frozen fingers have found them. Sigh. All is not lost though, as moop has also discovered coated fabrics! I've had their highly functional and aesthetically pleasing Letter Bag in my favorites for quite some time, but now that they have it (as well as some of their other styles) available in a waterproof waxed canvas, I think I must cave. And, as in honour of Cyber Monday, with the code 'GRAYFRIDAY', you/I get 10% off your moop order. Yay!

Oh, by the way, here are some more Cyber Monday codes/deals you may want to know about. Yes, I know that Cyber Monday is almost over (or long over) for some of you, but I had a truly busy and life changing day. You see, I've finally found out that I have a legitimate knee problem (and have since being a pre-teen) that can be relatively easily corrected, and I'm on my way to becoming a bona fide grad student. Yippee!

- hier apparel: Today and tomorrow, save 20% with code '20off', AND get a free $25 gift card with any order over $100, or a $50 gift card with any order over $200 if you mention the November Promotion in the Note to Shop when ordering. That means that the gorgeous new wool wrap is essentially $103 instead of $160!
- complexgeometries: Today only, 20% off everything with code 'monday'.
- Glamorous Amorous: Ending tomorrow, 15% off your order with code 'NOV15'. Meaning that the Nichole de Carle piece I still have my eye on is only a few dollars more than my weekly acupuncture/beekeeping session. Sigh.

(And yes, I realize this post seems rather disjointed. Such is the result of writing half before life-changing appointments, and then the other half after said life-changing appointments. My apologies.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I am serious...and don't call me Shirley.

My 70-page thesis, which I finally re-visited after three years of a heartbreaking separation, would look perfect on this table by Trevor O'Neil (T.O.D.). And they would make a lovely couple, seeing as my thesis is on Latin erotic poetry. However, I have a feeling that the ton of academic books and photocopies of articles soon to be read by moi would commandeer the horizontal space, bringing this piece of art's rating down to PG (or a G if the corners were sanded down to a safe rounded edge). And that's no fun.

(R.I.P Leslie Nielsen)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lars Andersson

"I quickly became entranced by New York City, and soon I was living a life submersed in its dark, downtown culture." 

Thus began the beginnings of the handmade knitwear line from Swedish-born and Brooklyn-based designer Lars Andersson. Or my next favorite novel. I tend to not have that much knitwear simply because of the maintenance involved and the disappointment of the rather quick deterioration of the more affordable pieces. However, I could certainly be convinced to adopt Lars' 'dark urban hippie' knitwear (found thanks to Dirty Flaws). But first, I must catch up on the last three years of Sulpician scholarship. Too bad I don't know German. Yet.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Just because...

...these things all belong together.

SestreS, SestreS, there were never such devoted...

I feel pretty confident that you will not find anything better looking than this 2007 collection by SestreS to occupy your Friday night with (sort of found at Dirty Flaws, my new favorite blog which I found through Anna-Marie's blog). Granted, 127 Hours, starring the one and only James Franco, is finally opening at my local theatre in about 21 minutes. I, however, have to work at 6AM and have a man with a major presentation on Tuesday, and so it'll be at least a day or two before I get to see it/James Franco. And so I will gladly content myself with these images, being the work of Serbian designers and sisters, Ivana and Jelena Stevančević. It doesn't seem like their work is available online, and may only be available at a small boutique in Belgrade. Even so, I wholeheartedly feel me and that dress at the top would be the best friends. And this crop top below is fantastic. Sigh.

P.S. As the fabrics used here reminded me of my Mandula dress, I thought I'd pass on the news that there's a 20% off code  ('black friday') you can use only in the Mandula online store now through Sunday. And, speaking of codes and Anna-Marie, 'cyberminx' will get you 10% off at the Etsy Minxshop. That is awfully tempting with that asymmetrical hoodie still looking all cute at me...

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Tonight I've been wishing that a place on the Internets existed whereby people like you and I could list and/or buy, from a particular person, a care package of sorts containing a few of said person's favorite things. 'Favorites' is a word/category bandied around so much in the blogosphere and online shopping sphere. And wanting to share my favorites is one reason why I started a blog. But I find that just sharing them via posting a picture/link/few words isn't fulfilling enough for me. When I find a true favorite, I always have this impulse to buy another of that item to give to someone else. This Christmas I had the fleeting idea of only buying my favorite things to give to my family for their gifts. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that they're not necessarily the target group of my eclectic interests, and so I'm just going the traditional route of getting things I know they'll like (rather than what I think they should like). Nonetheless, not unlike a certain daytime talk show host, I'd love to put together a physical package of my favorite things to actually give to someone, rather than just mention them (or talk about them incessantly) on my blog. Such favorites would include a certain clothing item (or two), book, movie, album, bag of coffee, coffee mug, beauty item, and photo of my favorite place (the exact details of such being kept silent in case this idea ever came to fruition). Granted, this would be a particularly expensive venture, not to mention time-consuming, as my favorite things hail from a few different places in the world. 

Hence why there should be somewhere where people who have a few dollars to spare can auction off a surprise parcel containing a few of their favorite things to adoring fans and kindred spirits (who, again, have a few dollars to spare). The proceeds of the winning bid would go towards the actual expenses incurred by gathering said favorites (and, I would suggest, any extra to a charity of that person's choice), so perhaps it wouldn't be that bad of a deal for the parcel maker. I for one would bid on Neil Gaiman's Favorite Things. Or Henry Rollins'. Or Björk's. Or Vivienne Westwood's. Or yours.

Whose Favorite Things would you bid on?

On a completely unrelated note, some of you already know about my shop and the sale I have going on right now. I realize now that I'm simply just adding to all the Black Friday sales kicking around the Internets. Being Canadian, I always forget about American Thanksgiving and their version of our Boxing Day. So I apologize for the coincidence, and for my severe deficiency of noir items in my sale. But I digress. Aside from listing never worn items for a fraction of the original price, every Friday until New Year's Eve I'm marking down two random items even further by 50%. Or to 50%. Whichever you'd prefer. These two items will be on sale just for the weekend. And because I may be out and about tomorrow, I thought I'd mark down the first two items today. Here is item #1, and item #2. All other deals (i.e. $5 off for each additional item and $10 for regular shipping) still apply.

P.S. Happy American Thanksgiving!

Edit: As nearly half my items have sold in less than a week, after this weekend, only one item will be marked down every Friday until December 31st. Mean, aren't I? I kind of feel like a kid again, making up the not entirely logical rules to a new schoolyard game as I go.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The democracy of fashion

From left to right (all by Mike Vensel): Organic Cotton Poncho Dress, $95; Silk Chiffon Wrap Dress, $195; Organic Cotton A-Line Dress, $95

The concept of made to order clothing is nothing new for those of us addicted to Etsy and other various channels of ordering directly from independent designers. However, this familiarity with the concept in no way lessens the good it does my heart when I hear that others are both embracing the concept and are able to save money by doing so. Enter FashionStake, an online retail site that offers discount clothing not because they're last season's leftovers (i.e. excess inventory), but because the items up for sale are actually pre-orders. Furthermore, FashionStake only has the number of items that are pre-ordered produced by their respective designers, meaning that there are minute inventory and storage costs involved in running the store. FashionStake then passes on their overhead savings via deep discounts to us, the online consumers. Capisce?

In the hopes that I still have you, there's actually a second part to this pre-order system. If FashionStake worked just like Etsy, where each order resulted in a piece being individually produced, there would be little/no need for a middleman online store. How FS actually works is that a certain number of pre-orders have to be placed before any of that item is produced (ie. we the consumers have to vote for a piece to be made, hence the democracy part of FS). So, say Designer A wanted ten orders for Dress A before making any of them and only eight of us put in a pre-order, none of us would get Dress A (and thus none of us would have to pay for the then cancelled orders). But, if ten of us pre-ordered the dress, not only would all ten of us get (and pay for) Dress A, but Dress A would then be tagged as 'We're doing it!', and any subsequent pre-orders after the minimum ten would also be made. Furthermore, this hypothetical Dress A would not be indefinitely available for pre-order (as the use of 'pre-' would then be erroneous), as FS showcases designers via online trunk shows; once a trunk show is completed, the items within that designer's trunk show are no longer available in the store, and will then only be available elsewhere at the full retail price.

From left to right: Hand-woven necklace by C Pettel, $144; Silk Scarf by David Peck, $99

Having said all of this (can you tell I'm injured and have all the time in the world to type today?), FashionStake is getting plenty of my attention today because they are featuring a Holiday Showcase, in which pieces (some of which are shown here) from 20 emerging designers are all discounted to be under $150 (except for some of the long dresses by Mike Vensel; see photos at top). These designers include Study NY (in fact, it's thanks to Tara's blog that I've heard of FS), SHIN, Mike Vensel, Eighteenth, and other designers I had never heard of before. All the items available in the Holiday Showcase have reached their minimum amount of pre-orders, so each is immediately available and is said to be guaranteed for Christmas delivery. The only catch that I can find is that you have to be a member of FashionStake to both see the Holiday Showcase (and other trunk shows) and to purchase any items. This simply means you enter your name and email, and create a password. I have already done this, and if you click on this link whereby I'm personally inviting you to sign up, you immediately get $15 credited to your new FashionStake account. I'll also get $15 credit if you make a purchase. Cool, no? Also, not all items seem to be locally produced or handmade by the designer themselves, so if this is a key factor for you when making clothing purchases as it is for me, pay attention to the 'Origin' section of the description for each piece. And...I'm done.

From left to right: One Strap Tank by Eighteenth, $62; 4-Way Dress by Study NY, $120; Silk Dress by Maisonette 1977, $149; Double Layered Cardigan by SHIN, $137

P.S. If you were hoping for a certain SHIN piece to be in this Holiday Showcase, as I was, you may want to just check out the normal SHIN online store, as some of the new collection's pieces are on sale there anyway.

Credo in Credo

Well, I may be going stir crazy from having to stay on the couch another day. But at least Credo, recorded live at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle as part of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival is now up for streaming...and now up here for your listening pleasure. In case you want to just re-listen to certain parts after going through the nearly 2-hour performance, go to WQXR's page here to do just that.

P.S. A couple of pieces from my End of 2010 sale have already flown out of my shop, so don't forget to take a gander...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eleanor Amoroso

Last week I saw a couple of new pieces in NJAL's The Shop that looked interesting from afar. However, I didn't want to take a closer look since they looked like they were made from hair, a material which may be a trend on the runway, but which just makes me feel icky. Good thing the designer of these pieces is being featured on the front page of NJAL. For these pieces, along with the rest of this fashion student's graduate collection, are made not of hair but of fringing, cord, and metal, thus warranting a much closer look than I previously though. The designer's name is Eleanor Amoroso, and the painstaking technique of macrame is how she handmade every single piece of her collection, including the accessories. I'm going to be staring at these statement pieces for a few hours. It's a comforting thought to know that craftsmanship isn't yet a lost art, isn't it? Sigh.

On a completely unrelated note, please check out my shop for some new listings of (mostly) handmade pieces I've never worn before. There are fourteen items up for sale in total, with all but one of them from $10 to $50 until December 31st. There also may be an Alexander McQueen piece you'll want to check out...