Inspirations: Anu Raina

Sartorially speaking, this time of year is a confusing one. It has been as the mildest winter I’ve ever experienced north of 49th parallel. But even as we barrel through the last few weeks of it, Toronto temps are not quite ready to pop out the petunias (yet). As someone recently expressed on Twitter – and I paraphrase – “I really love my red wool coat, but I am sick of wearing it!”

Well, if we can’t yet wear it, at least we can soon buy it. Anu Raina‘s latest line comes to our fashion rescue with a cheerful, color splashed collection. Inspired by chandeliers in the glass-making capital of Murano, Italy, Anu Raina deferred to the masters’ glass making techniques in using movement to achieve similar results digitally with color and dye. Fabrics range from silks to viscose to linens. The result is a vibrant, energetic collection fit for work and play at an incredibly reasonable price point of $70 – $399. Look for pieces at Shopgirls boutique, Studio Fresh and Distill Gallery in Toronto and The Velvet Room Boutique in Vancouver.

Check the website for full collection and retailers.

Cappucino shorts, 95% Viscose, 5% Spandex
Swirl dress, 100% silk
Ivory jacket, 100% linen; Swirl long skirt – 100% silk
Starburst t-shirt dress, 95% viscose, 5% spandex
Petunia jacket, 100% silk
Impressions Long Dress, 95% viscose, 5% spandex and & 100% linen

Holiday Wish List: Item #12

Pamela Anderson, kindly avert your attention for this blog post.  This one is about fur.
I adore fur.  It’s only since moving to Canada that I even gave fur any thought.  Canadians love their fur.  It’s part of the history and well-accepted here.  Not so where I come from.  In fact, while visiting friends in Pennsylvania I discovered (and quickly snapped up) a mint condition fur shoulder wrap at a flea market.  My American friends were aghast, questioning “You aren’t worried about wearing fur? Won’t you be attacked?”  “Are you kidding?” I replied adding, “in Canada?!” As if.
Yes, I unaplogetically wear vintage fur.  In the words of Rachel Zoe: It’s vintage, so it’s okay.
That’s why I love Montreal’s Rachel F.  She is a practical yet imaginative designer of accessories using recycled leather and fur.
“I only use recycled animal skins and other materials that come from second hand clothes, production waste, and material samples that were not used from large manufacturers. Because we live in an over consumption world, we should take advantage of this opportunity to renew existing materials.”
– Rachel F.
And when I stumbled across her latest fall line at Shopgirls earlier this year, I knew these earmuffs would haunt my dreams.  I decided to put them on my Christmas list.

Shoplisted: Shopgirls

Recently, on one of October’s last balmy Friday afternoons, I took off early for a top-down cruise to Toronto’s west end. I ended up at Shopgirls boutique, and soon discovered the best thing since sliced bread (particularly for a fashion junkie who loves sliced banana bread) — Second Yoga Jean. Think “so comfortable you could do yoga in them” as opposed to “wear these to your next Bikram class.” The label celebrates ten years this fall, how did I NOT own a pair yet? Seriously, my butt has never dug a pair of denim so much. Second’s Yoga Jeans use denim with 92% shape memory, while the industry standard is only 64%. So wear them to work, on a plane, to the movies and out again – these legs will keep their shape.
Shopgirls owner, Michelle Germain, is a huge supporter of Canadian labels and features more than 80 in her boutique. The selection includes accessories (loved the found object jewels by Ashley Winnington-Ball and recycled fur and leather pieces by Rachel F.), knitwear, apparel, outerwear (Stacey Zhang and Mackage) and of course, denim. She is even expanding her offerings to include art and home decor items too. If you’re looking for boring, look elsewhere. Shopgirls’ inventory is full of the interesting, unusual, fun, funky and even avant-garde.