Mar 31, 2010

LG Fashion Week 2010 - First Instalment: Lundstrom, Evan Biddell





I have to make a confession - I was sceptical about LG Fashion Week. I kept comparing Toronto to Milan and Paris and thinking that we are just not good enough to have anything resembling High Fashion. I thought about Crocs-wearing teens and women with bad haircuts. I thought about Toronto not being "European enough" (dah, we are in North America). With these thoughts I set off to my first-ever day of contemporary Canadian fashion to see Lundstrom and Biddell shows.

I've arrived with my friend Ilona about 30 minutes ahead of the first show. The Allstream Centre at the Exhibition may not be the most glamorous venue, but it is easy to find and large enough to accommodate an event like the Fashion Week. The building is newly renovated, with high ceilings, lots of lighting, and an abandonment of unused space. Admission services and coat check were quick, and we are allowed into the fashion "temple".

I am greatly impressed by the set up and the amount of work and thought that went into it. Even though some of the elements aren't to my taste - like all-gold furniture sets - I find it fascinating how beautiful and comfortable the main event area is. The highlights include a Barbie booth with a nice little exhibit of dolls dressed and styled by various Canadian designers, hair and makeup stations, and a corner boutique that sells items by 17 designers that are participating in the event. The two long bars at either end of the hall are well-priced and have a decent selection of mixed drinks, wines, and beers. The crowd is great - lots of designer frocks, mile-high heels, mind-blowing jewelry, and lean tanned bodies. Although some guests are making their statements with haut couture gowns that aren't necessarily that "haut", I do feel proud to be a part of the event that brought all the gorgeous people of Toronto together.
A little past 8p.m. we are invited to the runway hall. The space is very glam, with satin chair covers and two huge screens on either side of the runway. We find good seats, get our cameras ready, and prepare to be blown away by the show.

Lundstrom collection made a huge impression - it's schick and sophisticated and timeless. Both me and Ilona love the coats and cocktail dresses. Lundstrom used classic colors and designs with an edge to make her pieces appealing to a wider crowd, although her main target is still 30+. Ilona suggests that it would be nice to have the models in the same age range, but I think that fashion industry is still pretty stiff when it comes to models, ages, and body type. None the less, the collection left a very good impression and a desire to own some of the Lundstrom garments one day.

Evan Biddells' show is more theatrical and "showy" in a good, entertaining way. He starts by presenting a short, B&W, vintage-inspired film that features himself in the last frame. The actual runway follows with innovative, futuristic, but still somewhat wearable designs. I am especially impressed by the diagonally-pleated dresses and tweedy shorts. The neon-printed fabrics are wild and catchy. It reminds me of an alien civilization when paired with blown-up hoods and puffy coats.

I crave Lundstrom's dresses on my back and pictures of Biddel's on my wall. These designers are very different, but both have make me proud to be Canadian, to support our own authentic fashion movement. One day we will be as big as Milan, and I hope that Fira&Capa blog will have at list a bit to do with that.

Stay tuned for more LG Fashion Week reviews in the next few days.

F.

P.S. The pictures are not that good, but we are working on getting good cameras and bringing our photography up a notch.

Evan Biddell and his afterparty at Bohmer

My plane from BC has landed 2 hours before Evan Biddell show. I really wanted to see that one, but my energy level only allowed couple of hours of an after party at a new Bohmer restaurant on Ossington. The space had a gorgeous red Audi R8 inside the restaurant, another S5 cabriolet standing in front and a VIP Audi lounge. The lounge became less and less VIP towards the end as some skinny, super young, some "trying-too-hard" fashion people have squeezed into the "c" shape couch. It took us some afford to pull our gift bags and trench coats from there.
The star of the party, Evan, who is more outgoing and friendlier than most of the crowd, looked so happy, pleased and satisfied, that it was impossible not to notice that the show went really well, at least for him. I had to give him a hug and congratulate him, thought I have not seen the collection.
He has also mentioned that one of the major department stores has offered to look at his collection closely at his new Oz studio. I wish him best of luck in that. He is the loveliest person I have ever met!

P.S. Fira has attended few of the LG fashion shows, including Evan Biddell's. So, I believe Fira's perspective on the collection is coming up shortly.

K.

Blog to Check Out


Images from http://premtonbatku.blogspot.com/

Premton Batku is an old friend of mine and a talented multimedia artist. We lost connection for a while, but I came across his blog yesterday and was very impressed by some of the works. I especially liked the two above.

F.

Mar 28, 2010

Guess What, I Got Another Bag


Because I had to return this one (the handle was way to short for it to be comfy), I got myself a replacement. Diesel Reflect tote, $200, on sale for $87 at ssense.com
I am also on the market for a chocolate brown and a black bags, so stay tuned for more.
F.

Mar 24, 2010

SSense 20% Off selected Items-Ends Today

Get this Designers Remix jumpsuit ($95) and more with 20% extra savings at ssense.com. Sale ends tonight, so hurry.


F.

Fira and Oysters: A Lovestory

Yesterday was an Oyster Day. Well, at least for me and Ruzanna, a.k.a. Ru, Ruza, or Drian' Izbalovannaja (don't ask, I can't say this in English). We've decided to dine at the renowned Oyster Boy on Queen and Ossington. Their website promised "a selection of at least 4 types of oysters on any given day" plus a very interesting ever-changing, yet limited, menu. Let me jump ahead by saying that the menu changes so fast that the one on the site was already outdated.

We've walked right past the restaurant at first. It's a very small space with virtually non-existent presence on the outside. Inside, however, it oozes vintage low-key charm and easiness of a neighborhood hangout spot. It's early evening, and the resto is almost empty with just one suit-clad guy sipping his beer at the back. We pick a table, get water and start looking around…

Oyster Boy comes straight from the laid-back 60s Everything from the monstrous white fridge that dominates an open-concept kitchen to chipped enameled serving plates to gas stop diner-inspired sitting area makes you half nostalgic and half grateful it's not real. A server wearing a horrid floral frock adds to the second half. The only think that makes us believe this is really an oyster bar (read expensive and much-coveted) is an ice-filled tank with…well, oysters in it.

The "floral" server brings us menus and the wine list that is surprisingly interesting, yet again a bit limited. We opt for an inexpensive Chardonnay and a dozen oysters to start while deciding on the main. I am drawn towards seafood, but the fish of the day is tilapia, and I am discouraged. Ru asks about the soup of the day (onion miso), and risotto of the day (exiting with lots of veggies, but no protein) and we both decide to go with the steak served with a pudding, roasted veggies, and red potatoes. I ask the server to substitute my potatoes with a green salad and she says yes with a smile. Another surprise-no extra charge for the salad.

While sipping the wine we watch a young gent prepare our oysters. He looks like a pro handling the knife with confidence that doesn't go with his teen looks. We are surprised to notice he is smelling each oyster and an odd one goes in the garbage. We are confused a little-is Oyster Boy striving for superior quality or the shells are just not that fresh? When they finally arrive, the former proves to be the case. The oysters are fresh and delicate, with a subtle salty taste and silky flesh that melts in your mouth. The wine is casual and just a notch plain, but it keeps us focused on the taste of the mollusks.

When the steaks arrive, we are wowed with the serving size and presentation. The meet is juicy and soft, and the veggies crisp and colorful, with my salad served on a side plate. The only thing that gets me confused is the so-called "pudding". It's essentially a mushroom-shaped puff pastry that it completely out-of-place alongside those gorgeous steak and veggies. We chase the meet with an espresso and a latte (one of the best I had in recent months-rich foam and impeccable taste) and ask for the bill. With wine and coffee, we are at $110 and that's quite low compared to other oyster bars we've been too.

Oyster Boy is a solid 7 on a 10-scale. I will be going there again, perhaps with my BF. It's a hungry man-friendly place with abandoned food supply and no dress code-Mr. Zaika will love that!

F.

Mar 23, 2010

Mar 22, 2010

French Film Festival, Mar 26-Apr 3


Cinéfranco presents 13th annual Francophone Film Festival in Toronto, running Mar 26- Apr 3. There are about 30 films from France, Canada, Belgium and Switzeland all with English subtiteles. Some of the contemporary films in the festival are opening almost at the same time as they are playing in their countries of origin. The festival is a great alternative to blockbuster films playing in the theaters now...

Mar 26-Apr 3. AMC Yonge & Dundas, tickets $10, students $8.50. For schedule click here

More about the festival and some movie reviews at toronto-franco.com

k.

Fresh Gossip from the Toronto Fashion Week

A little gossip from the fashion front:
The prediction is that our "not-so-great-to-start-with" fashion shows would suffer even more.
Elmer Olsen model agency is providing designers with "free" models who are obviously new, inexperienced, can't walk and are willing to work for free, most likely, to get exposure and etc. Everyone including models and other agencies are outraged by the news that came out only last Friday. Few designers have canceled other models, even though they have been through castings.
Fashion Week, it's reputation and a future of it, including the whole industry, would most likely suffer even more with that decision that obviously has some personal/business motifs. Or is a result of poor support, organization and etc.

We will hope for the best and wish the whole fashion industry to move forward a notch, rather than backwards with each show and each event!
k.

Greta Constantine Fall/Winter 2010-11 in Pictures





1&2. beautiful dresses. 3&4. the shoes have pieces of mirror and so did the guy's shirt on the picture with LV. 5. backstage. Images by LV.
Review of the Greta Constantine Fall/Winter 2010/11 fashion show is here, fira&capa.

k. with the thanks to LV

I Got...

Eisenhaver bag, $230, on sale for $150 at the Little Burgundy.

P.S. I ended up returning the bad. The strap was too short and didn't go over any of my coats. Back to the search...


F.

Mar 20, 2010

Fashion Updates, Greta Constantine Show and etc

Toronto Fashion Week is coming up starting Mar 28- Apr 1. However, some of the Toronto designers decided not to be part of the Fashion Design Council of Canada because of bureaucracy, creativity restrictions etc.
Once the designer has his name out, set relationship with the buyer and has a range of clients and a few sponsors, he can afford to be more creative in a space and a presentation for his fashion shows.

One of the most successful Canadian designers, who have shows outside the official LG Fashion Week are Greta Constantine. Yesterday, their show took place in a beautiful building of Audi dealership downtown. I had more important commitments that night, but made sure to send one of my "personal insiders" to check out the show and take some pictures.

So, the report:
The show itself was well organized with amazing lighting, venue and production. Women collection was primarily gowns - floating, "fluid", draping nicely around the body. Interesting pieces that are practical at the same time. The shoes stood out as ell, high heel booties with pieces of reflecting glass attached to the back. As per men collection - the pieces were interesting, maybe not as practical, according to my insider. Pieces of glass from the women shoes were carried through the men collection as well.

On the guest chairs there was a print out sheet of paper (press notes) with the main inspirations, influences behind the collections. In my opinion the viewer should more or less get the feel of the collection without having a cheat sheet in front of him, but apparently other major shows use the same tactic. Here are the main points that should describe the collections to us. Women - fatalistic, defiance, tension, temptation, vice, not touched by gaga. Men - doomed hero, moral ambiguity, fatalistic night crawlers, sinister.

Other fashion updates.
The sweetest guy ever and a great local designer Evan Bidell has opened a show room/store on Ossington. Interesting pieces displayed in the space that has original charm of the old building.
Oz on Ossington by blogto.com

Evan Bidell's fashion show is Tuesday, March 30, 9pm. Afterparty at Bohmer on Ossington.

k.

Spring One-of-a-Kind Show and Sale

In search of unique accessories and decor from Canadian artists? One-of-a-Kind show is back for another installment on March 31, at the Direct Energy centre.
Find more detals here.

Mar 17, 2010

Too Good To Eat




Jacqueline Buckner is a food stylist with two decades of experience. I came across her site and suddenly found myself looking at food in a different way... Perhaps Jacqueline makes it look like a beautiful art.

Enjoy!

F.

Mar 16, 2010

A Taste of Iceland at the Drake, Mar 17-20

Image from thedrakehotel.ca

Living in Toronto, we become somewhat familiar with a lot of cultures or countries. What do we know about Iceland? Not much. The first thing that comes to my mind is music - Bjork, Sigur Ros, GusGus and some other electronic acts, melodic, minimal, very different and creative. Then comes magical landscape with hot geysers. Other than recent economic recession issues, we don't hear much about Iceland in the media. Maybe, because of the lack of knowledge, the country seems very mysterious, even magical, close but at the same time far, people extraordinary with a mentality different from ours. I would love to go whenever I get a chance!

But for now...tah dah! Drake Hotel is having an Iceland Festival aka A Taste of Iceland this week. The menu is created by a celebrated chef straight from Reykjavik, there is a two day performance by Iceland's Mugison and an art installation. No other words, but Drake is still cool as is Iceland!

A Taste of Iceland, March 17-20, Drake Hotel, 1500 Queen St West

k.

Stratford Shakespeare Festival


This year I will definitely find time to go to Stratford. I've been hearing about this beautiful Ontario town for years. Its annual Shakespeare festival attracts visitors from all over the world and promises a memorable theatrical experience. Great for a romantic day trip or a family weekend.

Anyone cares to join?

F.

Mar 15, 2010

Blog to Check Out...

Thefairest.com by Nadine Jolie is "striving for truth in beauty and an in-the-know roundup of what you need to look and feel your best."

When I Make My First Million...




Coffeemaker and toaster, both by Luca Trazzi

...I will go shopping to Bergo for household items, like salt and pepper shakers, bottle stoppers, and serving plates. Come to their store at the Distillery and find something to dream about.

F.

I Want...

Botkier Sydney Hobo, $525, on sale for $263 at ssense.com

Mar 14, 2010

Yoga and Pilates Conference

Image from sayleadershipcoaching.com

Come for classes, information, motivation, and inspiration!

March 25-28, 2010 at the Metro Toronto Convention centre, South building. More info here.

F.

Mar 13, 2010

On Sale Now

In the mood to shop? Here are top three sales from Toronto Life:

DESIGNER POP-UP-a large selection of clothing from Betsey Johnson dominates this designer sale. Also, look for pieces from Lululemon, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford marked down by 60 per cent. March 12 to 14. Public Office, 780 Queen St. W. More info here.

PRELOVED-when shoppers buy one item, they’ll save 25 per cent; two items, 30 per cent; and three items, 40 per cent off everything in the store. Until March 21. 1881 Queen St. W., 416-504-8704. More info here.

SPORTING LIFE-get an additional 20 per cent off all clearance items, including winter clothing, footwear and sporting goods. Until March 21. 2665 Yonge St., 416-485-1611. More info here.

F.

Art of Shoes-United Nude

Classic Mobius Hi
Eamz Pump

Loop Wrinkle Hi



Fold Hi



Label Shoe

Sophistication and bold modern-that's what defines United Nude's models. With an architect and a 7th generation shoe maker behind the brand, you get the best of both worlds in a shoe. Read more about the company here.
F.

For The Little Girl In Me..







Pics by Robert Best, best known for his Barbie illustrations.
F.



Mar 10, 2010

Site To Check Out...

MySavings.com has coupons, freebies, and offers for everybody. I like their free make-up trials and household goods.

Sultan's Tent Restaurant and BerBer Lounge


What can be better then rich, flavorful food and exquisite décor? Add great wine list, central downtown location, and outstanding service to the mix and you got yourself a winner. Sultan's Tent restaurant and it's little sister, BerBer lounge are my new favorites.

We got a bit of preferential treatment at the Sultan's Tent thanks to the restaurant's manager who happens to be my good friend's relative. We were greeted at the door by a smiling, pleasant hostess and, after checking in our coats, were sited in a private tent towards the end of the restaurant. The tent was a bit dark, but very cozy with authentic Moroccan décor. We've ordered drinks and dug into the menu.

Sultan's Tent offers a 4-course set dinner for a base price of $39.99. Some items on the menu have extra charges associated with them, so expect to spend about $70 per person with drinks. Get soup for the first course-it's good beyond your wildest expectations with a rich aroma and warm flavor. For the second coarse opt for the crab cakes, and get lamb for the main. There are two lamb dishes on the menu that are prepared using Moroccan spices and served with couscous or grilled veggies. Wash it down with young Spanish or Australian red to refresh your palette. For desert, choose either crème Brule or dark chocolate cake served with traditional sweet mint tea. The tea ceremony is an experience in itself (tea pots and tiny heat-proof glasses are available for sale).

After dinner head downstairs for an authentic Moroccan experience with a modern twist. BerBer lounge is beautiful and comfortable, and the bar has a better-then-average selection of high-end drinks (think French Champaign and 20-years old scotch). A three-course set dinner is also available for $29.99, along with sharing platters ($50, serves 4). Make sure to look around and absorb every detail of the décor-it's fascinating!

Overall, I would give Sultan's Tent and BerBer combo the highest praise. Make it your next dining destination-you won't regret it!

F.

Mar 8, 2010

Music Concert Updates, Mar-Jun

I came across a Toronto concert list for the next few months and it looks amazing! At least, for the electronic/indie music lovers. Here are some highlights with links and videos.
Enjoy! (links open in the same window)

Simian Mobile Disco, Mar 12, Mod Club, $15, video

Air, Mar 23, Phoenix, $32.50, video

Bonobo, Apr 2, Opera House, $18.50, new single

Crystal Castles, Apr 3, 44 Dovercourt, $20, video

Miike Snow, Apr 3, Phoenix, $18.50, video

Gogol Bordello
, Apr 20, Sound Academy, $25,

Hot Chip
, Apr 20, Kool Haus, damn! it's sold out...video

*Massive Attack, May 7, 9, Sound Academy, $45

Broken Social Scene, June 19, Olympic Island, $57.50, new single

Info from Rotate This on Queen St. and Soundscapes on College St. Suggested ticket retailers.

K.

Mar 4, 2010

In The Mood For Mod

Salt and Pepper set, US $27.99

Necklace, US $19.99


Vintage Banana Peel Heels, US $39.99



Vintage Blazer, US $34.99

ModCloth.com is my new go-to site for funky fashion, shoes, home decor, and even books. The company was founded in 2002 by Eric Koger and Susan Gregg Koger who share love for everything vintage. I won't go into too many details about the site, so please go and check for yourself-trust me, you'll LOVE everything! Above are some of my personal faves.

F.

Review: Black Hoof charcuterie - i could never be a vegetarian

This restaurant does not need a long introduction. It already has a numerous reviews from respected sourses. I'll be brief...
- a feast for your taste buds. really!
- 40 minutes waiting is worth it (there is a no reservation policy)
- wine list goes well with the menu
- if you order right, the portions are big enough to satisfy the hunger
- place is small and cozy
- staff is friendly and knowledgeable
- can't wait to go again, even thinking about it makes me hungry...

"the best grease I have ever eaten in years", Globe & Mail.com
"When she brings the charcuterie we practically squeal like the little pigs", blogto.com
" the tongue sandwich here is the best deli food in town", torontolife.com

Black Hoof, 938 Dundas St. W., Toronto, 416-551-8854

Mar 3, 2010

Recycle Your Blues

Bring your old jeans to any Gap store between March 5 and 14, and get 30% off a new pair. And honestly, Gap jeans fit great! Go for ankle-length Really Skinny fit in light blue or white-they are super hot!

I Want...

$39 at modcloth.com

Sales review: shoes etc...

My short list of the things noticed last week:
Click on the images to view

Stella McCartney for Adidas, Little Burgundy, $48,99, full refund
Little Burgundy, $91 (was $190), full refund
Converse, Little Burgundy, $28, full refund
Aldo, $39 (not leather), full refund
Diesel, Little Burgundy, $174 (was $385), leather, love the bag...

K.

A Note: Good Job Canada

According to CBC ( i think it was CBC - I read the article in the mornig) 80% of Canada watched some party of the final hockey match.
I was part of that 80%. I can sincerely say, that in 13 years leaving in this country I have never felt as evolved and as emotion and as proud as I have been during this Olympics. I cried numerous times even when the anthem was played, screamed, yelled, cheered and walked around proudly in my mittens. Nevertheless, the tshirt with the "Russia" on my chest was worn during the Russia/Canada hockey match and my heart was broken when they lost...With the Sochi as the next Olympic venue, it felt very cool to be Russian-Canadian last Sunday and still does.

Congratulations Team Canada! Very proud for this country!

K.

Mar 2, 2010

A Note: the North Face Sample Sale

March 4: 12pm-8pm
March 5: 10am-8pm
March 6: 10am-6pm
March 7: 10am-5pm

21 Vaughan Road. Toronto. Cash Only All sales final

I Want...

Silk harem pants

I Got...



Diesel Ts, $32 and $23, ssense.com
F.