Ear Candy

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I don't often ever post about music, but this is really too good not to share.

The Head and the Heart - Rivers and Roads

Meet Divina Deneuvo

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I am not a crafty person. I wish I were. I love reading up on DIYs, but I get craft ADD / forget / don't make the time. So when I was at Eco Fashion Week in October and saw the stall set up by Divina Deneuvo, I felt like I had met the crafting / DIY masters.

Divina Deneuvo duo, Victoria and Dave, create bags and accessories by hand from upcycled materials. Their items are one-of-a-kind, each having some sort of backstory to them. After spending an awkward amount of time fawning over the bags, other leather goods, and jewelry*, I knew I had to share them with you lovely folk. Meet Victoria & Dave.

What was life like before Divina Deneuvo? How did you and Dave meet? 

VR: I was born in Argentina, immigrated to Vancouver in ‘89. After high school, I was afforded the opportunity to study in Scotland, in the oldest university in the country, University of St. Andrews, and lived in what I can only describe as a fairytale castle (complete with turrets and a tower!). I loved every moment of walking through the cobbled streets and stone buildings, wondering who was there before me. I studied English Literature and have a profound love for Shakespeare and what I imagine “Old England” was like; and I collect strange things like antique wax seals, thimbles, and all sorts of opulent oddities. I have what I like to call “artistic ADHD” in so much that I am, and have always been, creating. In addition to designing for Divina Denuevo, I also do all the product photography, web design, graphic design (business cards, posters, etc), staging and booth display. I also have a jewelry line that focuses on the same values as Divina Denuevo, often repurposing the hardware you see on the bags into jewelry (Pieces of II *). I am also a photography nut and take pictures wherever I go. Dave and I met while working at the same company, my alter ego is in communications and marketing, and Dave was the hardware integration manager at the same company.

DK: I grew up in a smaller community in Northern British Columbia and moved to the Lower Mainland to attend SFU and study Psychology. I work full time as a Manager at a Point of Sale Company and on evenings and weekends I work mainly on the behind the scenes activities at Divina Denuevo, including pricing, inventory, troubleshooting and dabble in the design world focusing mostly on Cuffs, Straps and some larger bags. I had been looking for a creative outlet and when Victoria had mentioned that she was preparing for a craft market and was short on time, I offered to help her prepare for the show and have been hooked ever since. The upcycling and attention to the environment was also a big draw for me.

How did you get into leatherwork / upcycling / creating Divina Deneuvo?

VR: I’ve been passionate about sustainability and eco-consciousness since I was 16. I shop local as much as possible, check the carbon footprint of my groceries, try and eliminate the use of plastic in my household, and use my purchasing power to encourage the organic food industry.

Before leather, I was sewing making fabric bags in an effort to carry something unique in a society where most people are wearing something mass-produced. I hated walking down the street and seeing someone carrying the same thing as me. When our clothing is an outward expression of our personality, why would we want to spend any of that space looking the same as someone else? I was tired of hanging someone else’s logo on my shoulder.

When I came upon my first piece of leather, I was intrigued – the rustic look and raw edges looked like they belonged as a bag. My love for all things ‘old-world’ led me to collecting skeleton keys and I couldn’t stand the thought of these beautiful pieces being thrown away or cast aside out of redundancy. I don’t know why – but to me, leather and metal seemed to go together. The shiny glints of hardware on the rich leather makes a perfect juxtaposition, and the second I held a key against the piece of leather I had bought to play with, I knew that I loved it. From there, I started looking at anything that was old hardware that might end up in a landfill: doorknobs, cabinet handles, keyplates, hinges – It became my mission to find anything that I could save, repurpose, and make beautiful again.

Where does the inspiration come from?

VR: I am drawn to antiquities and the opulence of the past. I seem to always seek out anything that seems ‘old world’ and that incites a romantic mystery like the kind you associate with Old England. From that, I draw my inspiration. More often than not, I create the leather around the adornment: when I find a particular treasure, I design the piece to suit it perfectly. In terms of the shapes of the bags – that is something quite organic: I try very hard to not waste leather, so I use the raw edges of the hide in the design: it’s those edges that give the bags that ‘rustic’ look, and make most of the pieces one-of-a-kind. The shapes that the hides naturally come in are often far more interesting than anything I could dream up and cut!

DK: Inspired by anything, nature, anything vintage or antique. I would describe our aesthetic as rustic, rugged with a romantic twist.

What is your design process?

VR: I tend to make more of the purses/bags, and Dave makes more of the belts and cuffs, though he often will help with the design of a bag by providing feedback and brainstorming. We get along surprisingly well and rarely have a disagreement – usually if we have creative differences, it’s because we’re looking at a potential piece with different uses in mind.  The way we work best is when we both start creating, and ask each other what the other thinks about a design as it’s in progress: this ends up with an impressive evolution and we come out of it with designs that we love and couldn’t have come up with without the other.

As for the actual process – it varies from piece to piece: some bags are finished in my head before they’re even started. Others are a painstaking process of trial and error, prototyping and laying out, sewing and unsewing. The ones that are a breeze usually start with us laying the hide on the floor and looking at the shapes of the sides. When we see something there, we get a rush of inspiration, cut it out and get to work on sewing. Then we spill out our box of treasures and hold different pieces up to the bag, seeing which adornment of hardware looks the best. Other times, we design the bag around a specific piece of hardware – as we often find amazingly cool pieces that inspire us. The more difficult bags usually start with little to no direction, just a rough idea in our heads of what we want to do (like the duffle bag we debuted at Eco Fashion Week – that bag took 3 days to make). We constantly hold the pieces of leather in the places we think they should go, and when we’re happy with the shape, we sew, or rivet into place.

How important is it for you to try to convey the story of the details you're adding?

VR: So Important! The whole idea behind our line is that you’re carrying a piece of the past – like a time machine. Every item has a story, unique and arguably what makes the piece enchanting. We struggled to come up with a way to convey the story: at shows it was easy, we could simply tell someone – “the key on that purse came from a shipwreck.” and dive into how we found the key and where it’s been; but when we started to sell in stores we saw that people thought our hardware was replicas and new. We hated that, it completely defeated the purpose behind our line – so we came up with a solution. Now all of our bags have a label inside that tells you a little bit about the hardware that’s adorning your piece. Some, we know the story of, and they’ll say something like “The antique key on this bag came from a shipwreck off the coast of France in the late 1800’s” – others, which we don’t know much about, will simply say “This antique hardware was rescued from a landfill.”

You're currently in 2 Vancouver boutiques - what's next for Divina Deneuvo?

VR: Oh so much in the pipeline! When we did Eco Fashion Week we were lucky enough to be chosen by celebrity designer Jeff Garner to accessorize his men’s line (Prophetik). Then Jeff asked us if we’d like to send our collection to him to be part of the rest of his shows for the season, so our men’s line, which debuted at EFW, is currently traveling with Jeff as he finishes his season’s shows for his ‘Rebel Yell” collection. We also won the Excellence Award at Eco Fashion Week in the Accessories category, and along with it a distribution deal in the US. We have a bunch of exciting things in the pipeline, but I don’t want to jinx them or give away too much. We’re at almost all the major holiday markets (Got Craft?, Make It, etc.), and we are really hoping to be in some more boutiques by then too – we’ve had almost everything in our business develop organically, so we are hoping that will continue to happen.

Images from Divina Deneuvo.

Little Party Dresses

Monday, November 28, 2011
My work Holiday Party (how PC...) is this Friday and while a new dress wasn't in the cards for me this year (I have plenty...and I mean plenty), that doesn't have to be the case for you. Here are some great festive (aka: obnoxiously shiny) dress picks:

Vince Sequin-embellished crepe dress, Net-a-porter - $495
ASOS Sequin Dress with Long Sleeves, ASOS - $290.88
Haute Hippie Sequin V Neck Dress, Singer22 - $895
Studded Scoop Bodycon Dress, Topshop - $110
TFNC Sequin Dress with Long Sleeves, ASOS - $99.99

ASOS One Shoulder Dress in Metallic Jacquard, ASOS - $88.17
Tibi Metallic Jacquard Sleeveless Dress, Shopbop - $352

Love at First Sight

Thursday, November 24, 2011
It's not often I meet a pair of shoes I don't like. But it's rare for me to meet a pair of shoes and have it be love at first sight.

When I laid eyes on the Alexander Wang Chloe. Ugh. Be still my beating heart.

The colour blocking! The different textures! The height! The velcro! The ankle strap! The juxtaposition of the masculine & feminine!

If you're interested in donating to my Chloe Fund, please let me know. How killer (and freezing) would these bad boys be for New York Fashion Week?

the lip scrub

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Last week at the Beauty Mark holiday media event, I picked up some much needed lip scrub. I had been exfoliating my lips the old fashioned way, with either a facecloth or a combination of sugar and lip balm, with little results. And as a gal who likes to wear bold lipstick, it's super important to have that nice smooth base so that you don't end up with chapped lip chunks in your lipstick (you may not see them, but I know they're there!).

I had been putting off a visit to Sephora to find something and I'm glad I did.

$26 at Beauty Mark
I picked up the lip scrub by sarah happ in creme brûlée from Beauty Mark and I absolutely love it! The granules are just right - big enough to be effective, but not so harsh that they make your lips hurt - and the flavour is yum! Beauty Mark carries a wide array of the available flavours.

Sarah Happ is also the creator of the lip slip - the "perfect" lip balm - and I can't wait to go back to Beauty Mark to pick it up!

Winter's White

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
A few weeks ago I attended the (212) Winter Showcase.

I wore the white, sequin Charlotte Tarantola cardigan that I picked up at the Dakota Group Sample Sale. I love this cardigan so much. It's grandpa-esque, white (aka neutral), and SEQUIN. #win

I also look extremely giant-like and disproportionate in these photos. I promise I don't look like this in real life (much), so don't worry, you'll still probably want to be my friend (no guarantees though). I also don't often have Peggy Olson hair (what is up with that?!).

Cardigan: Charlotte Tarantola Skirt: Urban Outfitter Tank: Obakki Boots: Sam Edelman Zoylas

Hot Spot: House Guest

Monday, November 21, 2011
Last week I attended the media event for House Guest, Gastown's newest hot spot. And, it's just that.

The crowd was eclectic, from fashion bloggers to foodies, there was something for everyone. House Guest is definitely the type of place that attracts beautiful people, but it also boasts great food. I must say that the quality of the food surprised me, even though Liv & Kelsey had told me how great it was.

Liv & Kelsey of Northill Creative
In addition to the crowd and the food, the space is gorgeous. The branding was done by House Guest bartender, Adam, with owners Justin & Mattie leading the team behind the decor.

Food recommendations:

  • PMC - pimento mac'n'cheese croquettes (the Red Eye ketchup is amazing)
  • Petite Ground Round - braised short rib Sloppy Joe's (favourite!) *
  • Fish Tacos - soft shell crab tacos*
* not on the online menu

I'd had such a great time at the media event that I had to go back the next day to try some other items on the menu (still delish), scope out the actual crowd (still beautiful and well dressed!), and drink some more!

Ashley from Social Chair & Peter of the Starving Stylist

Be sure to save me a spot at the bar.


Thursday, November 17, 2011
Some things require no words...

Tibi Metallic Jersey Easy Pant ($230) - image from tibi.com

And sometimes things don't need any words and yet you use them anyway.

These pants! Not only are they amazing! gold lame, but they're harem pants! Say it with me - gold lame harem pants. It's my sartorial nightmare dream come true! But seriously, forget a night on the town in these bad boys, try a Wednesday to work. I've never met a drop crotch I didn't love.

I'm such an 80s kid. And 80s-wear this time around is so much better than the first...


A Little Less Wednesday & A Lesson in Primary Colours

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
If you had a really keen eye, you would've noticed that I wore my Wednesday Addams dress to the Vancouver Blogger Meetup panel.

Dress: Vintage Socks: Falk Belt: Club Monaco Shoes: Shoedazzle Bag: Cambridge Satchel

I probably could have gone a (little) bit shorter in the skirt, but at this length, it's still office appropriate. I love the shortened sleeves. I kept the collar because 1) I was kind of scared how it would look altered; and 2) Pussybows are so hot right now. But overall, I'm very pleased with my first go at reworking a vintage piece.

The primary colour palette wasn't intentional. It actually works without being too Sesame Street or obnoxious.

Wednesday already. Can you believe that it's the middle of November?!

untitled post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Genius personified.
Homemade Vietnamese salad rolls.
Blackberry vodka sauce - perfect with ice cream.
Festive Hallowe'en cupcakes.
Shockingly accurate.
Hallowe'en costume.
More festive cupcakes.
Hallowe'en wig - playing with fringe.
Brunch at Save on Meats.

Vancouver Blogger Meetup: Recap

Monday, November 14, 2011
First off, thanks to everyone who came out last Wednesday. A big thanks to The Network Hub for letting us use their fabulous space. A huge hug to Hummingbird 604 for asking me to be on the panel, and of course, a huge thanks to my fellow panelists: A Beautiful Life, Fashion Forward 40, & Style Struck.

For those of you who missed out, we had a lively discussion about monetization, the state of blogging in Canada, PR pitches, and many other things.

A few tips from the evening's conversation:

1) PR firms: Know the blogger & their content before pitching. Also, personalize pitches.
2) Some brands, big and small, don't see the value of getting blog exposure.
3) Don't get discouraged by not having a high number of comments.
4) Blog for yourself, not for attention.
5) Have a consistent brand across social platforms.
6) Post as often and consistently as you can.
7) Take the opportunity to meet other bloggers in real life - even if you seem like a stalker.

Likely telling about the time I was pitched a story about sex toys.

If you have any other questions for me to (attempt) to tackle, ask me on Formspring or shoot me an email.

(212) Showcase

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A couple weeks ago, I attended (212)'s Winter showcase. The event was held at Montauk Sofa's new Gastown location. It is an amazing space with vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, wood beams, and glass. So beautiful. We were treated to canapés from Cobre and cocktails from GLIA.

Party, programs, cocktails, designers, & bloggers
The winter collection at (212) is...ok. There were some outfits in the show that I thought really worked, and some that worked but I probably wouldn't have felt comfortable putting together. That said, while the clothes are nice, they're just so, generic. The palette was muted, with greys, blacks, plums, and blues.

Vancouver is grey and dreary in the winter and I don't always want my clothes to reflect that too. I can't control the weather, but I can control my clothes and let them have the life that the weather lacks.

I really appreciated the layering and the turtlenecks. These are definitely looks that I would see in places other than Vancouver, so I definitely have to give credit where credit is due.

Thanks to DITC for hosting such a great event & for providing the photos.

Collage photos are property of Haus of Hybrid.

Sexy Socks

Monday, November 7, 2011
Coming back from New York Fashion Week inspired me to try some new things with my personal style. While I spend most of my days at work chained to a desk, it's sometimes difficult for me to really push the sartorial limits (although, on occasion I can get away with some pretty fun things...like turbands).

One of the things I've been experimenting with are socks. Not plain old black or white, but rather, pop socks. I've only been able to find a couple pairs of really good ones, so if you know where I can find more, let me know!

The first time I wore socks with heels was also the first time wearing pop socks - go big or go home right? That was back when the weather was warmer and I could risk going out in bare legs without fear of frostbite.

Recently I pair some socks with pants. Mine are cropped, but for a little bit of sass, roll up some other pants. (Yes, the bathroom is back.)

Shirt: Primark Pants: Banana Republic Blazer: Zara Socks: GAP Booties: Rampage

Same socks as seen here

Don't think that fun socks are only for the women! This is definitely something that the men can do too! Not only is it stylish and unexpected, but it's also an attention grabber and a conversation starter.