Be colorful!

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Flower market in Cuenca, Ecuador

I watched a fabulous English documentary few years ago called ‘Fabulous Fashionistas‘, and I still remember one of the lines. “I never wear beige, beige is the color of death!” The documentary is about the life of 6 women who have an average age of 80, and who don’t let their age determine how they should behave and live their golden days!

Here is the link on YouTube, and please share it with all the amazing women in your life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nahrW6KMtp0

I love to wear black, but I also love to wear bright colors. My favourite are purple and orange. My purple obsession is a bit of a joke with my family and my friends. When my eldest son was about 5, I came home one day wearing a fake fur purple coat. My son was so excited and shouted: “Mum, you look so pretty, you like Barney!” (yes…the big purple dinosaur!). If you are afraid of bright colors, at least try to wear a white shirt with your black pants, and maybe add a bright accessory.

What’s your favourite color? Do you have a color obsession? I always love to get your feedback!

Isabelle V.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for vintage treasures while travelling…

I love to travel, and I always try to combine travelling with my passions: hunting for vintage and antiques, photography as well as sampling the local food…During my last trip to France, I always had to keep in mind how much room I had left in my suitcase…Every time that I saw a sign that said ‘Brocante’* or ‘Foire aux puces’*, I could feel my heart beat faster!* (*it would be the equivalent of a flea market or garage sale, except that some of the sellers at the brocante are antique dealers or ‘brocanteurs’)

Window in Guerande
Window in Guerande, France

As we were driving thru the area of Guerande, in the South West of France, we saw a poster advertising a brocante for the next day. The area is very famous for their sea salt, and you can now find it in most supermarket all over Europe and North America. Sorry, I digress, but I have to share this information as it’s a perfect destination (and a best kept secret!) if you are a gourmet.

So we woke up early the next day (well, not that early…) and after a stop at the bakery, we walked to the brocante. I was totally overwhelmed by the gorgeous location,  as well as the quality of the items. The sellers were spread out around an old church, and I fell like I was in an episode of the Antique Roadshow!

Flea Market in France
Antique market in France

 

I bought some old magazines and newspapers (as it’s very light and doesn’t take much room in the suitcase!). I enjoy reading the articles, looking at the old advertisements and illustrations. Two of the magazines I bought were called ‘L’Illustration’ and were dated from Christmas 1913 and Christmas 1916. It’s interesting to observe the difference between the magazines: the 1913 edition is a bit more entertaining, and the 1916 edition obviously more dark as it was in the middle of the First World War.

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The main topic in the earlier magazine is about art. It contains a lot of illustration, and the advertisements are about perfumes, watches, fabric, furnitures and alcohol.  One of the ads that caught my eye was from A. Lancel. The company was founded in Paris in 1876 by Angèle Lancel. ‘La Maison Lancel’ as it was then known, was producing clocks, lighters, luggage, glasses, tableware and purses. The luxury brand is now focusing on leather goods only and is famous worldwide for their purses, luggage and leather accessories.

The 1916 edition obviously has some more serious topics. Some of the testimonies of the soldiers are very touching and heartbreaking at the same time. They were ill equipped and a lot of soldiers thought that it was going to be a short war, and a bit of an adventure. Unfortunately it lasted 4 long years.

Most of the newspapers and magazines now have an online version and a lot of them don’t have a paper edition anymore. But I think it’s important to enjoy those old fashion newspapers (listed under ‘paper ephemera’ in most online sites).

The ads were about chocolate, perfumes (it’s war, but the French like their perfumes!), cars. cameras and even prosthetics!  (yes, you read correctly: artificial limbs). The ad that I noticed was about Burberry’s coats.French ads 001.JPG

The translation of the tag line would be: ‘Overcoat for the Winter that are light, warm, comfortable and very practical.’

The British fashion house was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. In 1880, he introduced the ‘gabardine’ fabric, which was a waterproof, very resistant and yet breathable fabric. In 1909, the first Burberry store  in France opens in Paris. In 1914, Burberry was commissioned by the War Office to adapt the officer’s coat to be able to stand the weather condition during the war. And that’s where the name ‘trench coat’ comes from!

What was your best vintage find while ‘on the road’?

Isabelle V.

 

My thoughts about Valentine’s day…

When I first moved to Canada from France many years ago, I was very surprised and amused by how commercial Valentine’s day was…In France, and most of Europe, you celebrate with you significant other by going out for dinner, or buying flowers. There is no pressure to buy a card or gift for your babysitter, your children’s teachers, soccer coach, pets etc…

In my early 20’s I was working in an office and all the women were wearing red or pink on that day.. really? I thought that it was a bit much…and then there was a real competition to find out who was the luckiest woman…how big was your bouquet? Did you get any jewelry?

I remember seeing a lot of men , with a panicked look on their faces at the drugstore the day before Valentine’s day, rushing to buy a card and a box of chocolate! Personally, I much prefer something spontaneous…One should not feel pressure to ‘have to buy’ a gift to show their feelings…

Don’t get my wrong, I’m a romantic, but I prefer to receive flowers or a gift from my darling when I’m not expecting it…don’t you?

So, my message is…be original…Here are few ideas that I gather from my circle of friends:

  • If you are not a cook, make an effort and prepare an entire simple meal from scratch…your effort will be definitely appreciated…
  • If you are a parent with young children and feel guilty about going out…don’t! Get a babysitter and go for an early dinner and a catch a play! (your sanity is important…)
  • Up cycle: maybe your husband has been meaning to build that side table using an old leather suitcase…Well, why not go ahead and make it for him! (some great DIY tips on line!)
  • Be green: buy local flowers, buy a vintage item, send an eCard
  • Perform a RAK* (Random Act of Kindness): volunteer at your local nursing home or shelter…

Food for thought: In 2015, Americans spent almost 19 billions for Valentine’s day…Are you surprise by that figure? How will you be celebrating Valentine’s day this year?

Isabelle V.

 

Meeting Garance Doré in Toronto

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I had the opportunity to meet with Garance Doré in Toronto this week. If you are not familiar with her, please check out her blog at http://www.garancedore.fr/en/

Her new book ‘Love, Style, Life’ is available in most bookstores as well as online. I know her from her fashion illustrations, but she’s also a fabulous blogger and talented photographer. It seems that these days, almost everyone is a self-proclaimed blogger… But Garance Doré is not your average blogger…She has depth, maturity and substance! The very well organized event was sponsored buy the #ClubMonaco store on Bloor Street West in #Toronto and I was very impressed with the turn out!  I was expecting to see mainly women in the 30/35+ categories, but I would say that it was mainly a 20’s something crowd.

As an avid reader, I’m always intrigued to understand what makes a blog/blogger successful and popular. Most fashion/lifestyle bloggers it seems are just interested in promoting brands, and don’t have much content. I think that one must focus on a specific area in order to reach the right audience. Do you agree?

Garance Doré doesn’t come from a wealthy family with connections in the fashion world. She followed her passion and was lucky enough to reach her dream…It’s refreshing to read a blog that is inclusive of various age groups and that is not only focused on the socialites and fashionistas!

She has a very interesting perspective on society, as she has lives in both Paris, and New York, where she now calls home.

She doesn’t take herself seriously and is very honest. She shared her apprehension about turning 40 and at the same time admits that it’s not a big deal after all!

Thanks/Merci Garance for being so genuine!

You can order her book at Chapters in Canada at chapters.indigo.ca/love-style-life

and for more info, please check out: www.garancedoregoods.com

Isabelle V.