DUSHKA jewellery

DUSHKA jewellery design was established in Toronto in 1994 with deep roots in eastern Europe, specifically Belgrade, Yugoslavia.


DUSHKA jewellery, especially up close, will make you wonder how delicate ones hands must be to design and create such intimate pieces of nature-inspired art with gold and silver.  Personally, I was amazed at how intricate and real each ring, necklace and earring is.


There is also a fabulous contemporary feel that doesn’t overwhelm the natural beauty of each piece. I’ve always been a fan of oxides silver and gold, however, too often the jewellery begins to look dark and depressing rather than refined and polished. DUSHKA tastefully combines oxidized metals, precious stones and polished metals.

Images from Dushka web-site.


RACHEL F. conscious accessories

RACHEL F. is a captivating line of accessories based out of Montreal with global appeal of conscious production of consumer goods. Everything that RACHEL F.  creates is made from personally deconstructed vintage pieces of leather and fur. But don’t get it twisted, the final product looks and feels like a luxurious, carefully designed, brand-spankin’-new, one of a kind product. In addition, all the final pieces are locally handcrafted –  an important way to expand the existing fashion, design, textile and crafts industry in Canada.


Rachel Fortin, the designed behind RACHEL F., has created warm and cozy hats, hobo-chic purses and bags, luxurious fur collars and belts, as well as enticing earrings. The FW 2013 collection, that was inspired by the Montreal’s atmosphere in the 1970’s during the holiday season, is as authentic as it can get. When I saw a number of pieces at The One of a Kind Show in Toronto, I was instantly captivated, drawn and inspired to go back in time by acquiring a statement fur hat.

Images from Rachel F Facebook and website.

DOM REBEL THREADS state of mind

DOM REBEL THREADS is a Montreal-based men’s fashion label established in 2003 by Don Nguyen and Justin Svatina. The brand’s stance is certainly appealing to men who don’t take no for an answer or care what you think. Intuitively, DON REBEL stands for “Freedom of Mind – Liberty of Thought”, something that the men they cater to certainly relate to.

DOM REBEL means business. Freedom, individuality, rebellion

DOM REBEL also, thankfully, caters to women with the same state of mind. I’m at least one of a million gals who would make DOM REBEL THREADS the clothing of choice after a day’s work. Change into DOM REBEL and you’re that rebel you always knew you were. What caught my attention to the label, other than its rock-edge, was the visible comfort and imperfections of each piece of clothing. Nothing is more attractive than a well put together but carefree guy or gal wearing a tee that’s attention grabbing, humorous yet laid back and doesn’t look anything like the mental (and unattractive) Ed Hardy Miami design.

* All images from DOM REBEL fb.

CHARLOTTE HOSTEN: breaking rules, maintaining tradition

I truly can’t imagine anyone not appreciating, enjoying and loving CHARLOTTE HOSTEN jewellery. The Montreal-based designer captures imagination with original, boundless, luxurious and distinctive pieces.

When I saw CHARLOTTE HOSTEN colliers, I was reminded of a few quotes by Alexander McQueen, a man I admire because of his humble, brilliant, honest and self-proclaimed blemished nature. He’s been quoted stating: “I spent a long time learning how to construct clothes, which is important to do before you can deconstruct them”*and “You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.”**

CHARLOTTE HOSTEN pieces, to some, may seem overwhelming but they are perfectly balanced with unique beads, chains, ribbons, charms, fabrics, leather, pearls, jewels, and feathers. Each piece has a lot going on but it’s exceptionally designed and balanced because of the designer’s intimate knowledge of the basics, and innate desire to push boundaries as well as emphasis on imagination and creativity. To create prominent pieces that will be cherished for generations on end, one first has to know the basics, and then work within those basics but with progression to achieve new greatness and evolution.

To note, CHARLOTTE HOSTEN colliers are the perfect gift you can gift yourself or a friend. They will make any and every simple dress or outfit stand out. You can find certain pieces on Etsy.

* Bolton, Andrew, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, pg.30, Yale University Press, New Haven

All Images from Charlotte Hosten web-site.

DUY innovative fashion

DUY is a Montreal based label known for innovative, clean as well as sharp tailoring and design that translate into some of the most stunning luxurious ready-to-wear pieces. Duy Nguyen, the designer, was born in Vietnam and raised in Montreal where he is also headquartered.

Hello gorgeous! SS 2013, DUY

It’s simple to see why DUY is a world-class designer and label. Since its establishment in 2001, DUY has continuously evolved, delivered, maintained its key attributes, and shocked. His collections have been inspired by a wide and somewhat random selection of everything from seductiveness of the night to Daphne Guinness to youth and passion of the ocean. Personally, I’ve admired the recent incorporation of feminine and fluid patterns mixed with DUY’s traditional seductive and edgy cuts. The colour palette also seems to have gotten lighter and more diverse with the mix of pastels and brights.  

Stunningly strong silhouette inspired by Daphne Guinness. FW 2011, DUY

I would love to see more of DUY online, in magazines, and on the racks. The stunning and edgy ready-to-wear collections deserve to be flaunted by women and men in Canada and around the world. It would also be of great help to contemporary customers for DUY to become more involved in today’s influential social-media. Check out all of DUY collections since FW 2011 on the site.

From work to a party, can rock this anywhere.            SS 2012, DUY

“This time around, I pushed my boundaries by stepping outside my Femme Fatale comfort zone.” Duy Nguyen FW 2012, DUY

I can’t stop staring at this stunning outfit.          SS 2013, DUY

Flattering, elegant, sophisticated and unique.                  SS 2012, DUY

Images from www.duycollection.com.

PS – Montreal is a serious driving force of Canadian world-class fashion design. Montreal Fashion Week sure is one of my fav hidden gems.

JOHN FLUEVOG crème de la crème of shoes

JOHN FLUEVOG is known around the world, yet, so many are unaware of the brand’s existence and have no idea that it’s Canadian, based in the wonderful city of Vancouver. None the less, I kind of understand, because the brand has been around since the 1970’s and it’s a staple and a cult … of awesome. I’m convinced that I can be friends with anyone who wears and likes JOHN FLUEVOG shoes because only the crème de la crème wear them. True story.

What amazing detail! John Fluevog

I can proudly call myself a regular at the JOHN FLUEVOG Queen West boutique in Toronto. It’s a bit of a custom of mine to visit JOHN FLUEVOG boutiques in the cities that I visit not only because of the possibility of getting a new, unique pair of shoes but also because, somehow, the best, most fun and personable people work there. So it’s a great way to make friends in cities you don’t know. Also, true story.

Class with pizazz for men

Going beyond the amazing designs, shapes, colours and styles of the shoes, JOHN FLUEVOG is a company with amazing culture, fun marketing flair and lovability. For example, the Jobs section of their web-site reads “You’d have to be insane not to want to work for John Fluevog” and rightfully so, because the company supports its talented employees through “The Fluevog Artist Grant  [that] makes $10,000 available to eligible Fluevog staff every year, and may be split between candidates based on merit as decided by the Committee.”

I adore how these look in pictures! Yet, I tried them on at the store and they’re just a wee-bit too narrow. Very stunning still

They also have a fabulous online store, although if you have a wider foot (guilty!) I would strongly suggest, if you can, going into a boutique and try a few styles on as some fit quite snug.

I feel LOVE

These look gorgeous with jeans and one of the most unique pattern I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately for me, they have a high arch and I couldn’t fit my foot!

NEW Queen Transcendent Elizabeth design by John Fluevog

All images from www.fluevog.com and there’s so much more.

CAITLIN POWER modern sophistication in a nutshell

CAITLIN POWER, a Calgary native, established the namesake label in 2008. Now, living and working in Toronto, Caitlin has been showcasing her modern, clean and sophisticated brand during the TFW since Spring 2012, with much praise.

The round shoulders and sleeves make enough of a statement without being overwhelming. FW 2012, Caitlin Power

Every collection since FW 2010 is strong, extremely well-tailored, structured and wearable. The fine details, mix of leather, fabrics and lace, as well as patterns create extreme versatility in CAITLIN POWER‘s pieces while the strong designs empower the woman wearing them. I fell in love with CAITLIN’s modern spin on the retro and art-deco designs of her FW 2010 collection. The luxurious fabrics combined with details of leather and mysterious colours will help anyone imagine how glamorous, sophisticated and racy that era was. I would wear every single piece in that collection.

Stunning and flattering dress from FW 2010, Caitlin Power

CAITLIN POWER‘s FW 2012 is the complete opposite of FW 2010. Rather than modernizing the past, she opted to bring future to today. The collection, in comparison to the previous FW collections, has a lighter, contemporary feel that is contradicted by the industrial, robot-like presentation which is where Caitlin’s on-brand trademark leather embellishments and strong designs shine through. Also, men’s fashion was featured, which I think she nailed.

Clever twists on classic power coat and shirts. FW 2012, Caitlin Power

CAITLIN POWER, the Creative Director and the brand/ label, deserves recognition for just how applicable, wearable, authentic and creative all the collections have been. A fabulous Canadian talent and sure shines among others.

PS – I think I found my twin, we look insanely alike! I very much admire those who change, shock and live outside their comfort zone. Caitlin’s look is stunning and reflective of the brand. LOVE.

Caitlin with her new look.

Mesmerizing pants, I great alternative to the ripped jeans! SS 2011, Caitlin Power

FW 2010, Caitlin Power

FW 2011, Caitlin Power

Images from caitlinpower.com and Facebook page.

AMOR JEWELRY why not to love?

I’m breaking away from my recent obsession with talent from B.C. and moving onto Edmonton, Alberta where a young designer, Amor Carandang of AMOR JEWELRY, has achieved quite a following.

AMOR JEWELRY by Amor Carandang of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

AMOR JEWELRY designs fashion accessories for women and men including necklaces, earrings, and bangles. The Summer 2012 collection is perfect for a big-city dweller with refined taste but who prefers understated attention. The pieces are made of brass, copper and leather, bound together on long chains with geometric, very clean and eye-catching designs. My personal favourites are the BRASS CUFFS & RINGS that seem delicate and tasteful yet the design, which reminds me of a hex cap bolt, brings just enough of masculinity and strength.

brass cuffs & rings

I’m looking forward for the new collection and hope it’ll also be strong, edgy and clean. To contact AMOR for a custom design or to purchase one of her piece, visit amorjewelry.com. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a list of stores that carry the line.

Leather arrowhead, Summer 2012 collection by AMOR

Brass link, Summer 2012 collection, AMOR

Copper plate, summer 2012 collection by AMOR

All images from AMOR Facebook page and web-site.

PHILIP SPARKS humble tailor with distinct flavour

PHILIP SPARKS, a Toronto-based designer, has romanticized men’s style just enough so that it’s still very much masculine but is admired by women (me, especially). PHILIP SPARKS TAILORED GOODS INC., established in 2007, is a men’s and women’s clothing and accessories brand that’s 100% Canadian and is defined by the “nostalgic feeling, referencing vintage details and classic tailoring, but a contemporary sensibility.”

I’ve dropped into the boutique on Ossington St. in Toronto a few times, and although the atmosphere is minimalistic, the men’s clothes are anything but. Philip, as a designer and a businessman, is very aware of what his target market, the successful yet humble men, are looking for and feel comfortable in. PHILIP SPARKS, the clothing line, is classically tailored to perfection and stands out from the crowd just enough not to bring too, too much attention. I believe it’s enlightening to what men’s fashion should be: comfortable, outstanding quality and shape, distinctive but not outrageous.

I died and went to heaven when I saw these!

PHILIP SPARKS, the designer, has collaborated with DANIER –  a collection I believe to be unbelievably striking; as well as TOWN SHOES. You would wonder who benefits most from such a collaboration, after all, DANIER and TOWN SHOES are two of Canada’s major retailers and collaborating with Philip Sparks brings serious exposure for a fairly young designer. None the less, Philip’s distinct taste and vision certainly bring the right customer to the stores and definitely the revenue. So, it’s a win-win for both parties.

Every person in their right mind would want this bad as their travelling companion. Philip Sparks for Danier.

Philip Sparks, Fall 2012 Collection. Loving the understated look that will have girls’ heads turning

Philip Sparks Fall 2012 Collection. Classy with just enough to differentiate you from the crowd

Another great suit by Philip Sparks, from Fall 2012 Collection

* Image’s from Philip’s web and Facebook page and Danier.com

The r/evolution of MARK FAST

MARK FAST, a Canadian-born, London-based knitwear fashion designer is a genius in a league of his own.

He is one of the only new designers praised for his genuine passion and revolutionary creativity. Mark felt a connection to knitting from the start. Without denying his adoration to this dying art-form, he single-handedly began constructing, expanding/ inventing and popularizing knitwear. This passion is clearly noted in his success. The debut of his first collection occurred only two years ago! He has since collaborated with Christian Louboutin and Swarovski, has launched a line – Faster by Mark Fast, and created a collection for UK powerhouse fashion retailer Topshop. He also created a knit sculpture for Lancome’s 75th anniversary which was unveiled during the 2010 Luminato festival in Toronto.

Mark Fast, FW 2010

 Most fascinating aspect of Mark Fast and his designs is the distance between Mark’s personality and the personality of his collections. Through interviews, I’ve noted Mark to be a humble, supple but confident and an engaging individual. His collections are flashy, strong and feminine, and sexy – with little left to the imagination.  Although Mark’s SS 2010 collection was stunning and groundbreaking, it’s shockingly impractical for an average woman. Nonetheless, he did make a statement by using plus-size models during the show. However, runway fashion should be innovative, strong, and distinct since history is made by leaders, not followers.

Mark Fast FW 2010 RTW

 I salute brilliant Mark for making knitwear – something all of us believed to be a staple in our grandmother’s closets – sexy, fashionable, creative, powerful, and a must in the 21st century fashionista’s wardrobe.

Images from Style.com