If the Shoe Fits…

Shoes. No piece of fashion gets my heart beating faster than shoes. The amount of craftsmanship and beauty that can be packed into something so small astounds me. I can never be bored with shoes.  I can wear an unassuming outfit of all black/white/gray/beige, but with a wicked pair of heels I am electric.
There aren’t many Canadians designing shoes. Montreal-born, London-based Erdem is the most well-known and well-connected. Seriously, when Nicholas Kirkwood is designing shoes for your collection, you have arrived. Torontonian Abel Munoz combined his design background and Milan training to create Abel Munoz Accessories, an exquisite line of Italian-made leather shoes, boots and bags for men and women. They’re sold at George C. in Yorkville, do check him out.

Now comes Martina Riley. A simple idea between two girl friends evolved into a full fledged women’s shoe collection that re-imagines form and function. There is Martina Riley, the signature collection and Martina Riley Inspired, an expanded collection with discretely changeable uppers using high-grade hardware that lets a single pair of shoes don two looks. Two looks, one yum.
Founders Jennifer Mackintosh and Jane Gutcher credit their busy lifestyle mix and love of travel with spawning the idea for Martina Riley. The collection nods to their favourite global destinations with shoe names like Bermuda, Rio and Casablanca.  The label is hand-made in Brazil.
Mustique, with interchangeable pearl & python upper
Whether you’re jet-setting around the world or just heading from the office to dinner with friends, these shoes will be a welcome addition to any wardrobe, especially at an approachable price point of $250 – $475.  
Bermuda, with interchangeable tangerine & mango upper

HBC Goes From There…to Here

Above, a model wears an original HBC point blanket coat.

Above, Comrags’ designer Joyce Gunhouse poses with their sculptural re-creation.

Above, Jeremy Laing took a modern approach with a cinched waistline on an A-line cut.

Above, Smythe’s take on the HBC point blanket coat.

If you felt a slight breeze in the downtown air last night, it could have been a new breath of life blowing across the floor of the Queen Street Bay store. The retailer is again making great use of their past with the launch of the Hudson’s Bay Company collection, 120 deliciously Canadian items including their classic point blankets, coats and scarves along with everything from boxed maple sugar cubes to scented candles, hand-knit sweaters to made-to-order canoes.

Ten Canadian fashion designers were hand-picked to create one-of-a-kind coats using a Hudson’s Bay Company Point Blanket in the colour of their choice. The participating designers include Comrags, Erdem, Harricana, Jeremy Laing, Klaxon Howl, Krane, Lida Baday, Pink Tartan, Smythe and Todd Lynn. The showpiece coats were on display for the fashion VIP crowd last night and will be part of a national exhibition, as well as a feature installation in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The iconic stature of HBC’s point blanket came up in conversation frequently throughout the short launch party. The coats were a huge hit, but we think the entire collection has legs to move beyond 2009. Stylist George Antonopoulos shared an interesting thought on its future. “This is our Burberry. [This collection] needs someone to take the helm, to come and lead as head designer of…well, the House of Hudson Bay.”

We can dig that. How long ’til we see the House of Hudson Bay at LG Fashion Week? Not long, we hope! Not long.