Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The holidays are coming and we all know what that means – presents! 
With that thought in mind I figure that now would be a good time to let you in on some of the terrific items I’d be happy to see under my tree. Some of these I’ve found on my travels to Montreal (yes I was just there, again), while others I took note of were spotted at various press events and store openings.

So here goes, my hit parade of stuff: Since winter is right around the corner (and we’ve already had a snow storm in October) I’m thinking how warm and cozy I’d be in one of HARRICANA’s recycled fur trapper hats or scarves, both of which can be found at Simons on St. Catherine Street as well as Holt Renfrew. If that’s a bit too much for your budget Montreal’s many vintage boutiques have cute faux and real fur copies. Speaking of Montreal’s vintage shops I’d definitely recommend MEMENTO for one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories from the ‘20s to the ‘80s. I picked up a sleek gold tone choker for a song while my significant other tried on a snazzy full length top coat from the 1960s. Check the place out at 3678 Rue St Denis or go online at info@mementovintage.com. Still in the heart of the city is one of the cutest boutiques, GINZA QUEEN, in les Cours Mont-Royal shopping mall at 204A-1445 Peel Street. This is where I snapped up a trompe l’oeil version of the Birkin bag photo printed in red on a canvas tote. Totally tongue-in-chic and fabulous so I had to have it. It comes in loads of colors so feel free to get me one in Hermes orange or blue.  I will use this all year round.

While we’re on the subject of winter, I’d like to call your attention to the new flagship UNIQLO boutique on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. The opening party was too much of a zoo to really check out the merch so I headed back the next day and zeroes in on the ultra light premium down jacket. What set it apart was the accompanying pouch no bigger than a folding umbrella that’s designed to hold the jacket. No bulk, no weight. What a concept!  If you can't get to the store, check out the tour.

Uniqlo, Welcome to the Big Leagues!

Photos Credit:  M. McKenzie

Another store opening I’m looking forward to is JOE FRESH. This Canadian retailer has opened a temporary pop up shop on Madison Avenue so I naturally had to drop by and see what all the fuss is about. Here’s the deal, think Forever 21 and H&M price points combined with Zara's fashion forward look and quality and you get Joe Fresh. While there was a smallish selection of mens separates, who cares? The ladies patent ballet flats, faux shearling coat and tweedy dresses caught my eye. By the way I take a size 2 in case you’re asking. The flagship store should be open sometime in January on Fifth Avenue around 44th street.

While I adore vintage jewelry sometimes more contemporary pieces catch my eye. That being said when I recently attended a press reception for LALIQUE’s new fine jewelry collection in crystal and 18k yellow gold. My favorite piece has to be the "Arethuse Revelation" ring from the “Sensual Water” range. The emerald cut with its face clear crystal is centered on a gold band (or if you’re too cheap, I’ll take silver) and is a perfect melding of art deco and modern design and is simply timeless. And while we’re on the subject of gold, Lalique’s new Boudoir range has some gorgeous perfume bottles detailed with two or three maidens detailed in gold. Be still my heart! To see more of everything go to www.lalique.com
Some Jewelry Will Admire You Right Back!
Photo Credit:  M. McKenzie

My final pit stop was TALBOTS spring press presentation. Here’s the deal, unless you want to dress like someone from the Jersey Shore reality show you definitely need this boutique. The old cliché, real clothes for real women holds true for Talbots but in an updated, fashion forward way. The bright colors were there but minus the garish day glo effects, the accessories were stylish and affordable (I need the coral leather trimmed wicker handbags) and the perfect white pantsuit with a slightly ‘70s vibe but most of all I want the pretty sleeveless, full skirted dresses and a chic cropped jacket or the stunning structured coat shown over a print dress. As I recall both were in a navy/white combo. You won’t need to break the bank to snap anyone of these items – affordable fashion, what a concept! 

Until next time, C&C

Friday, November 4, 2011

Going To A Go Go

Ah, Spring. What a beautiful, fresh, colorful season; a time for change, re-birth, and a decided shift away from so much of the black, brown and dark tones in clothing and accessories that so many fashionistas – such as C&C’s editor-at-large- have all been so used to seeing, buying and wearing during the cold winter months. So, with all of this being said, now is the time for C&C to bring you the exclusive, up-to-the-minute, hot off the presses, very-first-look at what will be hot, fabulous, and of course, must-haves, from Ann Taylor, for the new Spring 2012 season.

C&C just previewed the super-affordable, totally cool clothing, accessories and capsule wedding collection in New York City at The Rockefeller Center Loft & Garden. The spectacular space, which Ann Taylor specially selected for this event, houses a cavernous, open and airy indoors area, in addition to a charming, outdoors, roof-top garden; the latter complete with multi-colored seating areas, lush greenery and foliage, a wading pool, filled with deep-blue colored water, and wrap-around views of the city skyline. As if all of this were not enough, guests were treated to bubbly cocktails, luscious nibbles, and a signature Ann Taylor gift-bag, containing a fluorescent-colored look book and a special surprise, which for this C&C’s editor, translated into a super-cool, florescent, lime-green “Sunburst” necklace (which I am wearing right now, as I write up this report).

The clothing and accessories collections break out into fashion-notebook-inspired stories, such as “Modern Art”, “Graphic Design”, “The New Pretty”, and “Urban Romantic”. The design team at Ann Taylor seems to be all about debuting a fresh, bold take on color blocking, modern shapes and silhouettes with high contrast, Mod-inspired colors and textures, for what comes across with a chic, wear-now twist.

Ann Taylor revists the classic case of Mods v. Rockers...
and Mod wins!!!

 All Photos By M. McKenzie

Nearly all of the new season’s clothing, artistic and sculptured jewels, shoes, scarves, handbags, and the like, seem to pay homage to modernist American artists. Case in Point: An emphasis on clean, confident sportswear, all mixed and matched up with softer, sensual styling. The story of graphic patterning and the purity of navy, khaki and white, all of which pop out like crazy against a myriad of wild, new color ways, showcasing a good mix of fashion and wear-to-work style. The story of “bringing beautiful back into dressing” is well told, via a well-defined balance between tailored and softened-up, masculine and feminine; soft and delicate. Make-up shades are worn back to Day-Glo brights; expertly cut suits relax in luxe, tech-y fabrics. Modern silhouettes pair up with flirtatious styles. Think about the term “Romantic Froth” and you get the picture. Soft, romantic color meets strong, modern silhouettes, creating an aura that defines the stylized spirit of the city, with the dress - specifically fashioned to be at once architectural and delicate - as hero. Oh-so-pretty prints are au courant with sleek and sexy, black leather accessories. Sleek separates stop traffic when paired back to crazy neon hues. Knits become the cornerstone of style, luxury and comfort. 

On a final note: The well-priced collection of wedding gowns and separates for the bride, mother-of-the-bride, bridesmaids, et al, are available exclusively at www.anntaylor.com; “Weddings & Events” section. Do not miss the long, white, ball-gown skirt, paired with a l950’s style, cream-colored, short-sleeved sweater, which for this C&C editor, is quite a nifty look to be worn at the most opulent wedding, as well as for lots of other day into evening gala events. -- ADWB for C&C

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row