From Taschen, with Love

Taschen has introduced a new series of elaborately illustrated, beautifully photographed and artfully arranged books on some of the world's most famous cities. Written and edited by Angelika Taschen, the books are lavish travel books filled with information about the best hot-spots in retail, the best hotels and the best places to dine - from the most extravagant to the most affordable. The chapters (Hotels, Restaurants and Shops) in each book are designed with tabs, making them easy to locate and flip through. There are maps in each book and the text is published in three languages. The photographs are typical of Taschen's standard: large, illustrative, full-colour portraits of the spaces in question. The books are must-haves for the arm-chair traveler, or for anyone who is planning a trip to these fantastic cities.
So far, only three of these big, beautiful travel books have been created: Taschen's Paris, the recently released Taschen's New York and the upcoming Taschen's London. I'm still holding out for Taschen's Toronto! (It might be a bit of a wait...)


Living vicariously

The Daily is a big glossy mag that covers all the juicy gossip of New York's Fashion Week; the US Weekly of the fashion world that lets you feel like you've caught a glimpse of something more exciting than your everyday routine. Cute and just as juicy, Fashion Mini gives you the same fix throughout the year - or at least it did. It was available on newsstands in Canada briefly but I haven't seen it in months and thought to investigate today. It's now $37CAD for 6 issues - and I'm still considering it. With the downfall of Blueprint, Domino and most recently, Canadian Home & Country, for the first time in years I have no subscriptions; nothing happy and shiny waiting for me in my mailbox. Times are tough for magazine lovers.


Ralph Lauren, Fall 2009

Ralph Lauren's fall 2009 Collection is available to peruse at the company's website, ralphlauren.com. Visitors can watch the entire fashion show or view selected looks. Behind-the-scenes photos are up, as is a small feature about 'the Ralph Lauren woman.'

The theme for fall '09 is "Romantic Luxury" and Ralph has designed the show in four acts, based around four thematic groupings, which are shown below.

Modern Nobility.

Bohemian Heiress.

Eastern Odyssey.

English Rose.

I've selected a few of my favourite pieces from the collection, below, but I think the entire collection is a fine example of timeless elegance, which is Ralph Lauren's truest gift.
I love this patchwork tweed coat with its high collar, paired with the dusty rose scarf and silk-blend trousers.
Gorgeous beading on this sheer blouse, cinched at the waist by a pewter-buckled leather belt. A long, flowing skirt in a light cream tone gives the shape movement.My favourite of all the pieces: this long white coat with hand-stitched embroidery is lined with lamb's wool.


Anthropologie: Simply Red for V-Day

Befitting the crimson tide of cinnamon hearts about to flood our homes in the lead up to the 14th of this month, I thought it would be fun to compose a Valentine's Day wardrobe for the girl in me. The clothing, I decided, would all come from Anthropologie and it would all be red-themed or heart-themed, a flotilla of V-day delightfulness. My selections follow:
The With Love Tee is all about cardiac fulfillment, beautifully fitted and retro-patterned.

A close-up reveals the heart-shaped details. The bright, bold twin of the Little Black Dress: the Overcast Dress is the perfect antidote to the gloom of February days.

Brown buttons and a thick belt accentuate the bust and waistline, adding a subtle military angle to the style.

I love this raspberry blossom blouse with its draped fabric and floral motif below the neckline. It hangs beautifully on the form.

Add some tropical allure to the blah of winter days with the Fire's Path dress. Narrow clouds, unfurling dahlias and storks flutter in the detailing.
This blouse just whispers loveliness: The Museum Wings blouse.
Watercolour-style blossoms on a unique apron accent.

Experience post-bubble-bath luxury in the Spring Patch Robe.

Part Japanese and part Scandanavian, the robe is a tailored version of a crimson kimono.
Audrey Hepburn, eat your heart out. The stunningly simple and '50s retro style of the Flowers and Thyme dress will have you baking cupcakes in no time. A bold floral print on the skirt portion (above) a simple bow detail on the neckline and a draped belt accent on the waist (below) complete the perfection.

The Bandana Bag is ideal for the transportation of Valentine's cards or a well-packaged gift of chocolates. And how totally chic!

Brown leather detailing, white-stitched accents and a vintage floral patterned lining inside make it irresistable.
No Valentine's Day can be spent without a pair of red shoes. I love these Palladium Peep-toes with the wood-grained leather and tassled + beaded fringe on the toe. Gorgeous!

The Coccinella Peep-toe is a more refined look with its Mary-Jane strap and taller heel.

For pricing and availability visit anthropologie.com.


The January Newsstand

With January comes the broom and the urge to sweep, the compulsion to purge, to eject and jettison the unneeded and the unwanted. It's time to pare down, to whittle away, to siphon and sterilize. It's time to sort and organize, to label and...oh, you get the picture. But there are a few things I always welcome into my home each January, something I will not toss in the recycle bin: the first issues of the year of my favourite shelter magazines. These include Martha Stewart Living (duh), House & Home and Style at Home, the latter two being Canadian publications. I thought I'd peel open the crisp, clean covers of these slim volumes and show you what the editors have on offer:

January issues are typically thinner than the year's other monthly volumes - a suggestion, perhaps, of the waistlines we'd all like to aspire to in this resolution-drenched month. MARTHA STEWART LIVING: This article on closet organization is a welcome feature. This issue is filled with organizational and cleaning tips, typical of January's white cleansing motif.MARTHA STEWART LIVING: Flowers, flowers everywhere! A feature on flower arranging is the perfect antidote to those cold, gray days of winter. MARTHA STEWART LIVING: Fluffy, airy meringues are given artful guises in this feature about light but delicious desserts. MARTHA STEWART LIVING: Citrus is at its peak now. An article complete with recipes involving grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes and other citrus gems, will make your lips purse. MARTHA STEWART LIVING: Take a look inside the offices of some of the editors (including Ms. Martha herself) and catch a glimpse of the surprisingly bohemian Martha Stewart Living work environment.
HOUSE & HOME: In this Toronto house bright colours, solid textures and shimmering surfaces fight January's inherent bitterness.HOUSE & HOME: Nothing can do away with the warmth of traditional browns and earthy ocres this time of year. The freshness comes from blasts of red and pink.HOUSE & HOME: The clean and minimalist environment of a converted warehouse in Toronto manages to find welcoming warmth after two architects have their way with it.
HOUSE & HOME: Want to know what the trends are for house and home in 2009? I usually don't. But these trends are ones I can live with - and possibly even achieve on my miniscule budget!
STYLE AT HOME: Designer Sarah Richardson does up a gorgeous Toronto house in feminine hues.STYLE AT HOME: A fantastic kitchen gets remodeled and remade with all the conveniences and beauty of a modern space.


Alight at Night

Every December 10th, the National Capital Commission in Ottawa flips a switch and over a million little Christmas lights come on. Parliament Hill and all of the federal parks in the city are lit up at 5 p.m. every night until January 10th. It's quite a sight to behold.

Parliament Hill is lit up with thousands of Christmas lights. Snowflake patterns are shone onto the buildings and dance across the brick in slow rotation. The towers are illuminated with coloured spotlights.
Another lovely view of Parliament.

The inside of government house, too, is festooned with decorations.

Outside the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa, and around the National War Monument, purple lights welcome visitors.In Confederation Park, outside the Lord Elgin Hotel, nearly every tree is lit up with lights.


A Touch of Brocade

The New York based Brocade Home is beyond alluring to designers and interior decorators. I wanted to showcase a few examples from the collection here. The furniture line was designed by Lisa Versacio, formerly of Williams Sonoma, where she launched the West Elm line. Brocade was launched by American furniture company Restoration Hardware with the aim of targeting a younger market. The pieces are relatively affordable, ranging between $40 for smaller accessories to $1,800 for sofas and larger pieces. Versacio's fresh, European take on furniture is a queer and masterful blend of traditional and modern. I love (and covet) all the pieces below! Visit brocadehome.com for more information.

Patterned bentwood chair in high-gloss white. Also comes in coffee: $199

Acrylic lace side table in white. A lace pattern on a clear acrylic surface. The inside is hollow, opening from the bottom, so you can put anything inside the space. In this photo, it's an old chandelier: $199.

Hourglass side table in high-gloss java: $299.

Silhouette cafe table in coffee. Also comes in white and black: $399.

Lattice flocked foil wallpaper in charcoal. Also comes in champagne. The reflective surface of this wallpaper gives the paper a mirrored, luminescent effect: $169 a roll.

Lace pattern bath cabinet: $129.

Shaped storage unit in high-gloss white. Also comes in coffee: $899.

Fleur cutout storage cabinet: $199.