Friday, November 22, 2013

Fashions Past is Present

Chanel F/W 1991. Model Kristen Mcmenamy

I cannot stress enough the obvious cyclical nature of the fashion industry. I could use thousands of examples of how fashions past influences fashions future. People who claim they are "not into Vintage" make me laugh as their current wardrobe pieces simply looks like a new spin on an old classic! 

The resemblances are not always LITERAL or COPIES but the essence of past collections are always present, for me anyway. My latest observation was the Balmain Spring/Summer 2014. It just reminded me of the CHANEL Fall 1991 Collection with the mix of denim, gold hardware accessories and black moto style pieces.

Quick Fashion History Lesson --> Fashion Designer Pierre Balmain (pictured below in 1952 in Paris) was an architect turned fashion designer in 1934. He one said, "dressmaking is the architecutre of movement". He worked for another designer until he opened the House of Balmain in 1945 and in the post WWII era was dubbed "the king of fashion" in France. He was born in 1914 and passed away in 1982. The house of Balmain has changed designers several times since his passing (including major designers like Oscar de la Renta) and the current designer is Olivier Rousteing.

Balmain S/S 2014

This new Balmain collection reminded me of F/W 1991 CHANEL.  Let me be clear that it is not identical, nor do I see "copies". The connection is in the the denim, moto inspiration, quilting, gold hardware/accessories and sheer elements. My overall point is that the essence of fashion's past always lives in fashion's present and future. 
 Thus, Vintage pieces are ALWAYS CHIC and TIMELESS. 
Styling is the key element to modernization of pieces from the past.

What are your thoughts on Fashion's Past?

 Do you see the connection?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Music Monday: Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen is a Canadian born, award winning singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. I just heard the song "Closing Time" in my car this morning and remembered how much I adore his music, lyrics and voice! He has had an amazing career spanning over 4 decades and at 79 he is still going strong, touring, writing and performing. Have a look at the LONG list of works and accomplishments here

His lyrics are full of fabulous metaphors and have an intelligent depth that I am attracted too. My top 3; "Everybody Knows" (1988), "Closing Time" (1992), "Hallelujah" which was written in 1984 and covered by singer Jeff Buckley (I like Jeff's version best, sorry Leonard). The lyrics are brilliant and it has been said that Leonard wrote over 80 verses to this song before writing the final version.


"Closing Time"

Ah we're drinking and we're dancing
and the band is really happening
and the Johnny Walker wisdom running high
And my very sweet companion
she's the Angel of Compassion
she's rubbing half the world against her thigh
And every drinker every dancer
lifts a happy face to thank her
the fiddler fiddles something so sublime
all the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it's partner found, it's partner lost
and it's hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
Yeah the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it's partner found, it's partner lost
and it's hell to pay when the fiddler stops:

Ah we're lonely, we're romantic
and the cider's laced with acid
and the Holy Spirit's crying, "Where's the beef?"
And the moon is swimming naked
and the summer night is fragrant
with a mighty expectation of relief
So we struggle and we stagger
down the snakes and up the ladder
to the tower where the blessed hours chime
and I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can't say much has happened since

I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can't say much has happened since

I loved you for your beauty
but that doesn't make a fool of me:
you were in it for your beauty too
and I loved you for your body
there's a voice that sounds like God to me
declaring, declaring, declaring that your body's really you
And I loved you when our love was blessed
and I love you now there's nothing left
but sorrow and a sense of overtime
and I missed you since the place got wrecked
And I just don't care what happens next
looks like freedom but it feels like death
it's something in between, I guess

Yeah I missed you since the place got wrecked
By the winds of change and the weeds of sex
looks like freedom but it feels like death
it's something in between, I guess

Yeah we're drinking and we're dancing
but there's nothing really happening
and the place is dead as Heaven on a Saturday night
And my very close companion
gets me fumbling gets me laughing
she's a hundred but she's wearing
something tight
and I lift my glass to the Awful Truth
which you can't reveal to the Ears of Youth
except to say it isn't worth a dime
And the whole damn place goes crazy twice
and it's once for the devil and once for Christ
but the Boss don't like these dizzy heights
we're busted in the blinding lights,
busted in the blinding lights

The whole damn place goes crazy twice
and it's once for the devil and once for Christ
but the Boss don't like these dizzy heights
we're busted in the blinding lights,
busted in the blinding lights

Oh the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
And it's partner found, it's partner lost
and it's hell to pay when the fiddler stops
I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
The Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can't say much has happened since
I loved you when our love was blessed
I love you now there's nothing left
I miss you since the place got wrecked
By the winds of change and the weeds of sex

Songwriters: Leonard Cohen, Sharon Robinson


Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

What song inspired you today?

 Do you listen to Leonard Cohen?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Style is Sizeless

1940's - CoCo Chanel

I am always asked if I have Vintage pieces in my eBoutique that are not a size SMALL. The answer is YES!! but the fact is my inventory mostly consists of smaller sizes with a wide range of different measurements. Bodies are like thumb prints, no two are really identical.

In days gone by women's body shapes were a lot different and it was a reflection of society. We were not a fast food nation back then and many women had different technical skills. They were capable of sewing their own garments and it was cheaper to buy fabric and construct your own garment than it was to head to  a boutique to purchase one. High volume, low quality garments were not available and neither were large shopping outlet stores or strip malls.
Image: Horst P Horst
Many of the earlier Vintage pieces are hand made and tailored to a specific women's measurements. It makes it difficult then to marry each garment with a  new owner. 
Modern women find the concept of a seamstress or tailor very foreign and are used to the convenience of "ball park shopping". By ball park shopping I mean grabbing the size they think they are (Ex: Medium) from an over stuffed rack of discount clothes made in a foreign country and guessing that it will fit. Hence, making a 'ball park' estimation as opposed to having something tailored.

 Undergarments are really the foundation of any look and are important to the overall shape a garment takes on the body. This is another concept largely lost on the average modern women.
Back to my original point. regardless of your size/shape there is ALWAYS something available for you that is authentically VINTAGE. I choose garments for my eBoutique that can be re-styled CURRENT regardless of size.  Find out why you will never read me use the word PLUS SIZE ~  Click Here

I did a little experiment in my showroom by just randomly pulling looks for my statuesque friend Jensine to try on and photographed it with my iPhone. She is tall (6'1"), busty and fabulous (sans makeup too - naturally GORG)!

Style Tip: When applicable --> BELT IT. Accentuating your natural waist is important to the overall silhouette. It is also a good way to update a look too. 
 Vintage Dotted Dress and Belt Available Soon at Evolution Vintage
 Vintage Black and Red Floral Dress (SOLD)
Vintage Graphic Black & White Kimono (Available Soon)

Vintage 80's Emerald Rouched Dress (Available Soon)

Jensine is proof that you don't have to be a size zero to have Vintage work for you, look chic, current and sexy. Remember great style is sizeless!

Will you step outside the confines of the contemporary strip mall and try something Vintage and unique from my eBoutique?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Calling ALL Little Mavens

Tori, Blake & I

Today marks a beautiful step forward in my quest to see children with various abilities represented in a positive way in mainstream media. Let's face it, we are a very visual society and much of what we perceive comes from various sources of media.  My friend, mother of 4 and fellow fashionista Tori Spelling has joined the ranks of Target and Nordstroms with her children's clothing line Little Maven, sold at JC Penny with her new CONTEST inspired by inclusion.
Meet Grace and read her fab mamma's letter that inspired Tori

I know personally the extent and depth of Tori's huge heart and she has ALWAYS supported inclusion for everyone. She was so supportive when Blake was born and checked on us while we were on extended stay in hospital following his traumatic birth. She has shared my journey with Blake on EdiTORIal with her readers too (READ them HERE & HERE) and I am thrilled that she has launched a CONTEST for Little Maven's Holiday Lookbook! Read her post on EdiTORIal today.

Does your beautiful child deserve a chance to model? Have you always wanted to moonlight as a stylist? Here is your chance parents!

The contest is OPEN to ALL kids, not just ones with special needs or designer genes. 

How to enter?

POST ONE image of your beautiful babe striking a post for your camera. Soot the image against a white/neutral background.

Tori will choose the winner(s)

SHARE, SHARE SHARE on all social media outlets.


Good Luck!!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The WRITE Thing To Do

November 11th marks a significant day in the year, a day of remembrance, gratitude and respect. As a Canadian living in the United States I have a unique view of this day from both sides. In the US, California specifically the schools are closed on Veterans day. I assumed naturally so the kids could stay home, participate in local Veterans day events, pay respects to their veterans and not have their head stuck in their iPhones. When I was in elementary school in Canada we ALWAYS went to school. We attended assembly's, listened to a live performance of 'Taps', recited "In Flanders Fields" and really honored our veterans and active service members together as a school. So in lieu of ceremony like I have had in my past, my children, husband and I spent part of the afternoon writing gratitude letters to the soldiers. My husband and I provided our own historical lessons to the children as well.

When is the last time you wrote a hand written thank you card, note or letter to anyone? Have you ever expressed your gratitude to a soldier?

I write personal thank you cards and notes all the time but I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter to anyone and shamefully I have never written to a soldier. We all love to feel appreciated and our efforts valued. Soldier's efforts are on another level from anything we as civilians can imagine. I can sit and type on this fabulous computer in the comfort of my own home because other human beings gave up their comforts to secure mine. Some lost their lives and others returned home forever changed. I have sincere gratitude for what they have done but unexpressed I feel like it means very little, I had to do the 'write' thing.
So the way we celebrated Veterans day was to write a gratitude letter to one Canadian soldier and one American soldier. 
My kids decorated their cards/letters. 
My husband poured his heart out of his pen. My teenage step son would not let any of us read his but fully participated in the experience and said that he learned a lot during the time we spent. Much of the information we discussed is sadly absent from the History lessons in school.
Writing a letter to a stranger was an interesting exercise all on it's own. The time spend bonding with our children, talking about both countries history in combat and socially was something that I will always remember and continue to do each year. 
Message from my 5 year old: "Thank you for keeping us safe"

Expressing your gratitude and thankfulness to everyone, everyday is ALWAYS the right thing to do!

Do you want to send a Christmas Card? or a note of gratitude to a soldier? Here is where we sent ours!

Red Fridays Foundation of Canada
Christmas Cards to the troops
398 Charrington Ave 
Oshawa, Ontario 
L1G 7B2

Will you do the 'write' thing?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Grief: Life's Launch Pad

Grief is a part of all of our lives. At one time or another we have to accept the fact that our journeys here have to come to an end. The thought of living without the ones we love is the hardest one to grasp or accept I feel. I have grieved for loved ones who have past; grandparents, uncles, friends of the family but never someone closest to me like a parent, sibling, spouse or child. 

Because grief and loss is such a big part of the human experience it is something I feel a dialogue should be started about. Are you currently "stuck" in life under the grip of grief? or are you not living the life you want because you can't stop grieving? 
I have a tool that can help!
I have had the pleasure of connecting with author, Christina Rasmussen of the new book: Second First's: Live, Laugh and Love Again I have read her book and found that there are several tools you can use to move forward with your life after loss. I have also found that many of these tools are universal in their application and are farther reaching than just to those who are experiencing loss. 

She talks about several items in association with grief such as the duality of loss: When the world inside no longer matches the world outside.

One of the key messages is not to give up your power to grief, she says "There is so much inherent power in loss, power that can be used in an unlimited source of fuel to set yourself into motion so you can start the process of rebuilding your life (p.23)
Her motto: Time doesn't heal. Action Does!

I'm sure by now you are wondering who is she? Does she have the 'credentials' to be giving advice about grief? My answer is YES! and her credentials are two-fold. Her educational background and training is as a therapist and crisis intervention counselor. Ironically the topic of her master’s thesis was the stages of bereavement. Her experience and education in grief was elevated to a whole other level when her husband and father of her two young children passed away from cancer in his early 30's. She is an expert on grief in both theory and practice.  She believes, "When we are starting over from a significant loss, we pretty much have to renegotiate everything in our lives". and that "Grief is a factor in the evolution of our souls"

The book presents her "Life Re-Entry Model" and talks a lot about "Plugging into your life", which are both amazing concepts and tools for people not only suffering from loss but who want/need to start a new life or go down a new path. You can get more information about her Life Re-Entry Program HERE.
I also connected with her discussion about friendships and how it is okay to leave some of them behind. Some people feel like they have to maintain "friendships" with people because they have a lot of time invested, or they were there during tough life challenges. She points out that sometimes the things that used to connect us are no longer there and it is healthy to say goodbye to people of the past. A very liberating concept on it's own.

I want to add she now is re-married and has the life she did not know she needed or wanted. She is happy, productive and here to help YOU get the life you deserve and break free of the grip that grief has on you.
Visit her WEBSITE

If you are suffering in any form, from any loss this book is well worth the read and the $13 price tag. 

Part II of this piece is an interview with the author. Coming Soon...

Will you read the book? What has been the toughest part of grieving for you? 
Share in the comments below.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Soul Sunday: BRAVE

Blake and I

Down Syndrome Awareness Month is now over but being Canadian I'm taking the liberty of honoring their DS awareness week (Nov 1-7). Down Syndrome Awareness month/week is an important time for mothers, advocates and people living with Down Syndrome to have our voices and stories heard in hopes of educating the public. I was planning to write about my traumatic birth experience with my son Blake followed by the traumatic manner in which his diagnosis was given and talk about the triumph one can feel out of such perceived trauma or tragedy until the other day when I was face to face with a stranger.  
Blake enjoying the guitar - wearing Fab Kids top/pants from London Calling Collection

I was doing my regular domestic diva duties and grocery shopping with both of my children in tow. I may or may not have been pacifying them with a chocolate chip cookie so graciously given to frantic mothers shopping by the local bakery department (they must be mothers too). I was casually glancing over at the produce when a stranger approached me and put a hand on each shoulder, staring intensely into my eyes saying “You are SO brave”. I paused in shock and gave my blanket polite response to any ‘compliment’ and was just able utter “Thank you”. Before I could ask her what she was referring to she locked eyes with my little boy sitting in the grocery cart so patiently waiting for another bite of his chocolate chip cookie, she loudly proclaimed again, “BRAVE” and abruptly walked away. Stunned, my mind flashed to several things before I could actually process what she was saying; “Brave? I thought, for what? buying the Albertson’s guacamole? For wearing a vintage 70’s poncho with Native Canadian Moccasins to the grocery store? for feeding my kids cookies before dinner? Then it hit me. She was telling me I was brave because I am caring for my son, who she must have identified had a disability or specifically Down Syndrome.
I spent the balance of my shopping excursion contemplating this stranger’s declaration of my “braveness”. At first I was irritated and it brought me back to the feelings of annoyance when Blake was first born and many people came to me with “I’m Sorry” statements instead of the natural reply to a new child’s birth, Congratulations! I was irritated at her ignorance for not knowing how amazing my son is despite his perceived disability. But after a long internal dialogue and reflection in the isles of this grocery store, I realized she was right. I am brave. I am a mother. I have carried and nurtured cells to human life, I have given birth twice, I have spent countless sleepless nights tending to my children, I face societies ignorance every day when I step outside my door as people stare and whisper about my son. I struggle with the unknown future each day for both of my children. I stand back while other children the same age out play, out climb, out talk and out run my son. I wipe asses, noses, sticky hands and bloody knees. I bake, craft, clean, launder, entertain, cook, guide, advise. Oh, and in my spare time I am also a wife, business owner and my own person with needs/desires/passions. I AM brave. I am so thankful in hindsight for this woman who had the guts to face me and project my truth back to me.
I am brave because I focus my efforts on my son’s abilities not his disabilities. My son is smart, loving, strong and spirited. He understands what you say to him (receptive language skills on par with his age of 2.5) he just can’t respond verbally ... yet. I hear no “mamma” or “I love you” verbalized but it is okay, I can feel it. He signs for “more”, loves to dance, says and waves bye-bye, gives the best hugs, loves books, music and is willing to try anything with no fear. Blake and I entertain professional women all week long together, occupational and speech therapists.I work tirelessly to help my son achieve all the physical and verbal skills that come naturally to most, but for him take’s more work and effort. For example, Blake is naturally attracted to toys that require jumping but as of today he does not have that skill. In the face of challenges like these my attitude is “oh, well, maybe tomorrow”. Maybe tomorrow he will say mom? or mamma? We just keep working, moving forward, and being brave. This is not to say that everything in my chromosomal plus world is fabulous and positive. Blake also throw tantrums, spits, head bangs, defies me, pulls his sisters hair and is constantly destroying or undoing everything in his path. Sounds like a typical 2.5yr old? I don't know but it is typical for Blake.
The Motherload: My Step & Bio kids - Blake, Danica, Kaleigh & Dylan

You have to be BRAVE to be a mother of a child with Down Syndrome and you also have to be just as BRAVE to be a mother to ANY child. Every mother reading this is brave as we all face our own unique issues with our kids of all ages. I am a mother of two fabulous children and a step mother to two others, each with their own unique talents and challenges. This is what I want to world to know about Down Syndrome; these individuals are more like your children then they are different. I still face the same struggles and challenges as you do as a mother, just mine last a little longer or take more effort to accomplish or overcome but believe me we WILL accomplish them.Together. Bravely. 
Blake & His Sister Kaleigh

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Style Saturday: Fashion Project

Fashion Project is an amazing organization that turns one woman's fashion cast off's into another woman's current look AND one charities new donor. I was so thrilled to read about an organization like this who married my two favourite things: Fashion and Helping Others. I realized I could have an impact in several ways. I don't know of any other organization that is a Win, Win, Win ... My first donation was a pair of DIOR shoes that I only wore once, from the car to dinner - dinner to the car. I chose the National Down Syndrome Society as my charity!
How does it work? You clean out your closet and donate all designer items that you no longer want to wear. Fashion project will send you a shipping bag and pay for it too. You choose a charity you love and send them the goods.  When the item is purchased the charity you chose gets 55% of the money it sold for.

What I LOVE about Fashion Project:

1) I can clean out my closet and have the majority of the proceeds go to charity. (55% unheard of! Amazing!)
2) Another woman can acquire my designer item at a fraction of the original cost AND donate to charity at the same time.
3) I can shop for new designer pieces for myself AND make a charitable donation simultaneously.

4) FP makes it EASY to send items and pays for all shipping costs.

I had a chance to chat with the founders of this Fashion Forward company, 
Christine & Anna:
LG: Where did this concept originate?

FP: Fashion Project was an idea sparked between two friends and classmates, Anna Palmer and Christine Rizk, at Harvard Law. It was conceived to solve the problem of donating designer clothing to charity. Traditional thrift stores are volume businesses set up for low-quality merchandise, causing valuable designer items to be baled and shipped overseas for as little as .40 cents per pound. Consumers wanting to donate their clothes have no other options- until now. By creating a new way of giving focused on personal service and merchandised collections, Fashion Project is able to raise up to 100x more than traditional thrift stores for the items in your closet. 

LG:  What celebrity's closet would be a dream to Fashion Project?

FP: Olivia Palermo 

and Rachel Bilson

LG:  What items are you looking for? Do you accept designer Vintage?

FP: We are looking for anything in your closet that deserves a second life. All of too often pieces are thrown away before they reach their maximum impact level. Those Rag and Bone jeans that don't fit anymore? We'll take them. Those last season Jimmy Choo heels? Those too. The better the brand and the condition, the more money that can be raised for charity. And yes, we love designer vintage!

LG:  Whats next for FP?

FP: We're expanding! We now reach donors in every state and are focused on raising as much as we can for charity in 2014.  

What's in your closet that can be converted to charity?