Tag Archives: Toronto Fashion

clover canyon neoprene print dress crystal palace

What I wore to WMCFW Fall 2014 – Day 2: Clover Canyon Scuba Dress

On the second day of WMCFW in Toronto, the chilly weather made me choose a super warm scuba dress with a digital baroque print by Clover Canyon. Scuba dresses are super warm, and kept me cozy and comfortable while travelling to the shows on foot, and inside the chilly tent.

wmcfw streetstyle fall 2014 natalie ast neoprene printed dress clover canyon wmcfw streetstyle

My scuba dress is by Clover Canyon, my glitter sunglasses are Miu Miu, my over-the-knee boots are from Zara (similar here), my jacket is c/o Nowistyle, my Selma satchel is Michael Kors, and my earrings are from Joe Fresh.

clover canyon printed scuba dress streetstyle

The amazing scuba fabric of this dress is super insulating, and stretchy so I was both warm and comfortable. Neoprene also allows designers to print bold prints, so sky’s the limit. I was immediately drawn to the baroque cathedrals printed on the dress. I decided to keep my coat, purse and boots neutral to let the dress stand alone as a statement piece.

Keep checking back for more updates from WMCFW, I’m here the rest of the week checking out shows and I’m excited to share photos and interviews of some of Canada’s top design talents!

All photos by Bobby Raffin.

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A model waits before the Stephen Caras Show

Photo Essay: World Mastercard Fashion Week

A winter blizzard hit Toronto near the end of March, a week that coincided with World Mastercard Fashion Week on Mar. 18 to 22. The blustery weather was fitting, as designers were showcasing their fall and winter 2013 collections. Trends such as capes, elbow-length leather gloves and rich hues of burgundy and emerald were seen on the runway. But these trends could have been worn seven months early by fashionistas outside the tent decked out in their best fur adorned with a tuque on top.

The fashion week was the second season in Toronto produced by IMG (an event company that also produces Milan and London fashion weeks). WMCFW showcases Canadian design talent. Often viewed as a highly commercial fashion week, this season, designers such as DUY and Pavoni have brought a little couture to the Canadian fashion scene.

Caitlin Power

Photo 1 – The opening look of Caitlin Power’s fall 2013 collection captures three trends: burgundy, patent accents and an oversized cape silhouette. Toronto, March 22, 2013.

Outside the tent

Photo 2 – Fashion bloggers and photographers alike gather outside the tent at David Pecaut Square in Toronto on March 19, 2013, to catch up and snap each other’s outfits.

A model waits before the Stephen Caras Show

Photo 3 – A model is surrounded by the Redken Canada hair team backstage on March 22, 2013 in Toronto. Her quirky hairstyle for the Stephen Caras show was achieved using only her own hair.

On the runway

Photo 4 – Runway organizers and guests get seated before a show starts on March 22, 2013 in Toronto.

Pavoni is seeing red for fall

Photo 5 – A beaded frock from Pavoni’s latest fall collection struts down the runway on March 22, 2013 in Toronto.

All in the details at DUY

Photo 6 – A closeup of a dress at the DUY show. Duy Nguyen was the winner of the Mercedes Benz start up competition, which gave him the funds and opportunity to present a collection at WMCFW. At the Toronto Fashion Incubator press and buyer’s brunch, Nguyen said that the fabric seen in this dress was very costly tulle with embroidery. He currently doesn’t sell in any stores, because he says his pieces and the materials used are too expensive to produce on mass. Toronto, March 19, 2013.

Pavoni brings a new silhouette to bridal

Photo 7 – The closing wedding gown look at the Pavoni show, which was the last look to walk the runway at WMCFW this season on March 22, 2013 in Toronto.

Aion Clarke and the after party

Photo 8 – Aion Clarke performs at the Karl Lagerfeld watch launch party in the Shangri-La hotel in Toronto on March 22, 2013. The unofficial after party for WMCFW was attended by many designers and fashion’s elite.


Photo 9 – The final runway look from the Joe Fresh fall 2013 collection. The collection was inspired by Paris with a grunge twist. Toronto, March 20, 2013.


Fitzroy Holiday Party

Last night, I went to Fitzroy Boutique’s second annual holiday party at the BYOB Cocktail Emporium on Queen West.

Guests were treated to bourbon punch and cookies while they shopped new arrivals from Fitzroy’s Fall/Winter collection.

As a special treat, Pinky’s Nails, Toronto’s first professional nail art studio were at the party too.

I got purple nails with kitty accents. I love the way they turned out!

Pinky’s Nails also did Toronto Fashion Week, and I remember more than one occasion where I was mesmerized by the nail art of some of the shows. For instance, take a look at these metallic and claw-like talons from the UNTTLD collection.

While nails can be a great accessory, you can’t beat baubles and jewels. I love those minimalistic gold studs that were incredibly priced at $10-$20. Fitzroy also stocks a gorgeous collection of headbands and signature statement necklaces.

I also love the way this dress takes accessorization and applies it to the dress itself. The cascade of pearls across the bustier is elegant and very flirty.

This diamond necklace is so fun and the perfect way to jazz up a plain silk tank. Available online here.

And how gorgeous is this Greylin beaded blazer? It effortlessly combines an island feel with a structured silhouette… and the blush colour is just perfect. I’ve definitely found a couple things I’m adding to my Christmas wishlist… but you can als0 shop Fitzroy Boutique online, in case you can’t make it in to the BYOB Cocktail Emporium in Toronto to shop the collection in person.


Fitzroy + Fringe in the Willows

This look was inspired by fun, flirty textures and one of summer’s hottest trends, fringe.

I fell in love with this top when I saw it at Fitzroy Boutique, a permanent pop-up shop in West Queen West’s BYOB Cocktail Emporium. They just launched their online shop earlier this summer, where you can snag other pieces similar to this from brands like One Teaspoon, Whitney Port’s Whitney Eve, Ladakh and Show me Your Mumu, a Fitzroy exclusive. If you’re visiting Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood, you have to drop into BYOB for a cocktail, vintage Mad Men-inspired bar gear and of course the perfect cocktail dress to match!

This top by Line & Dot is fun and features a stunning aztec motif in mint. I complimented the pattern with this organic crystal necklace from (believe it or not), Forever 21.

I love the way the fringe falls and has so much movement. It’s so much fun to twirl around when you wear this top. I think what drew me to it was its Flamenco reference. I remember when I used to study flamenco dance with Esmeralda Enrique, and our year end dance was with fringed shawls! Fringe is not only versatile in dance, but an amazing adornment on fashion. Watch the clip below for the Flamenco repertoire I’m talking about!

It makes me want to stomp my heels and clap again. I absolutely adored that dance.

Summer’s not quite over yet, and I can’t resist wearing more mint! My turquoise shorts were a cheap find from Orfus Rd. and my turquoise ring was from the Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam.

I can’t help feeling flirty in this fringe! Find it at Fitzroy. Okay, enough alliterations with the letter F for this post! Top c/o Fitzroy Boutique.

This look was posted on What I wore Wednesday on the Pleated Poppy.


CHANEL in the Snow

This outfit is the perfect mix of high and low. Combining fast-fashion with iconic fashion.

I’m wearing a vintage Chanel-style jacket that features gorgeous buttons and has a timeless shape. To compliment the jacket, I’m wearing this show-stopping patent leather jumbo flap re-issue by none other than Chanel.

To balance the classic pieces, I’m wearing this sexy and trendy leather mini from Joe Fresh! It was on sale for $19 and I couldn’t resist. It fits me like a glove, and it’s so fun to dance in. I love it so much I bought it in gold too! The tee is also from Joe Fresh and I love its quirky take on the polka dot trend. The tee has sequin polkadots that are subtle tone-on-tone.

It was so cold, but the gorgeous layer of snow casted an eerie glow on these pictures.

The bag is so large, you could probably fit a laptop inside and not have to worry- the heavy chain mail hardware would last a lifetime! It is Chanel after all…

Can you spot my friend’s cat Hugo in this picture?

Tonight, I’ll be dreaming about this bag…


Lavish & Squalor

A little while back, I had the amazing opportunity to be styled by Bobby Raffin with pieces from one of my favourite stores on the Queen West strip, Lavish and Squalor.

I am wearing a vintage leopard print coat with leather riding gloves. When we were looking around the store, something about this jacket called my name. I’m a sucker for animal print, and the pony hair texture was so luxurious. I love that it has brown suede panels to break it up, and the contrasting lapels are a detail that’s very in vogue right now.

Underneath the coat, I’m wearing a burgundy velvet dress, also from Lavish & Squalor.

All of us involved in the shoot had so much fun, even if it was a freezing December day. I got a bit lucky though, the leopard jacket I’m wearing kept me pretty toasty! I think all of our looks showcase how layering can keep you warm, while still looking cool.

And there’s nothing like a fleece trapper hat and vest like Bobby’s (also from Lavish & Squalor) to keep you shielded from the elements. I love the way he’s layered a utility vest over a plaid shirt, yet somehow, it still looks urban and cool.

The gloves I’m wearing complete the vintage look, but I can’t help but be reminded of the ones Ryan Gosling wore in the movie Drive. I still can’t get over that jacket, it was the perfect winter topper!

All photos taken and styled by Bobby Raffin.

You can see these pics on the Lavish & Squalor blog too!



Profile: Darlene Martin

Figure skating and jewelry have a lot in common.  They can both be elegant, breathtaking and shining.  For Darlene Martin, she believes that her premiere line of jewelry, The Shine Collection, brings out those qualities.  While she may not take inspiration directly from her previous career as a figure skating coach, this mother and entrepreneur is trying to balance creativity and brand success, which can be as difficult as landing a quad combo.

Martin left her 17 year career as a figure skating coach to found her own line of jewelry, and have flexibility to spend more time with her family.  She received some advice from Arlene Dickinson (of CBC’s Dragons’ Den), who told her to focus on one thing 100%.  Martin enrolled at the Queen’s School of Business Executive Development Centre, which she describes as a pivotal experience.  Her time in school made her focus on launching her signature line and The Shine Collection.

The line itself is comprised of Japanese and Czech glass, sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, and semi-precious stones.  But Martin’s attention to quality and lust for high-end materials is present in the pieces.  “It took me over six months to source the semi-precious components of the collection.  It took me that long to find the quality that I was after,” says Martin.

The Shine Collection consists of eight necklaces, eight bracelets, and eight pairs of earrings will soon be added to the lineup.  The number eight is significant in figure skating and present in her designs as well, since a few of her necklaces feature eight strands of beads. Martin adds, “Figure skating is all about presentation and intricacy and layering of elements and I think that that’s in my jewelry.”

Presentation is an important aspect of her brand, and customer service is as important as well. Soon to be launched, the gifting section on the online shop will provide customers with gift suggestions, gift wrapping, and note card services.  Martin’s goal is to make shopping on her site similar to the experience in a luxury department store.  There will even be a service to prompt a customer to buy a gift for that special someone before a birthday or anniversary comes up.  This service is appropriate considering Martin’s main clients are men buying gifts.

But when you buy a gift for someone this Valentine’s Day, a gift will be given to charity as well.  Darlene Martin will be donating 10 per cent of the proceeds to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.  Martin says that giving back is important to her personally, and to her brand.  She is working on teaming up with a few other charities in the future as well.

Fashion might be focused on the future, but Martin believes her products are timeless, “Although my jewelry will be considered fashion, I don’t ever think it will be considered fashion forward.  It will maintain an organic but deliberate elegance to it.  It will never be trendy.”

Right now, Martin is focusing on creating brand awareness, in order to continue establishing her line as an iconic luxury brand.

Martin adds, “When you work for yourself, or you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you tend to work very long hours. And it is difficult to juggle family and work, I think for anybody. But you take on these kinds of projects with the thought that it will eventually get to the point where you’re providing for your family and doing something you love.”

Images courtesy of Darlene Martin. Read this article on the Women’s Post.