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Friends with Benefits

Greta Constantine SKIN images courtesy: Danier

Everybody loves a good designer collab, allowing those of us who  a) don't live in a big city or b) don't have an unlimited budget, gain access to some of the world's top designers.  This season, there are plenty of ways to do just that at New Sudbury Centre with a slew of covetable capsule collections.  Here, some of our current faves....

The Store: Danier

Friends w Benefits: Greta Constantine & Philip Sparks

Collab Deets: Danier's ever-impressive list of designer collabs continues this Fall, with new capsule collections from Canadian designers Philip Sparks and Greta Constantine SKIN, as well as the release of Meagan Johnston's DANIER DESIGN CHALLENGE winning jacket (recognize any of this year's judges?)  Each collection reimagines leather in beautiful ways - from Greta Constantine's sexy, modern take to Sparks' decidedly nostalgic flair.

Available: Greta Constantine SKIN items are available now at danier.com with Philip Sparks for Danier to be released later this fall.

The Store: ALDO

Friends with Benefits:  FLARE Magazine‘s fashion director, Liz Cabral

Collab Deets:   Liz Cabral has teamed up with ALDO Shoes a second time for Fall 2012.  The editor, internationally admired for her flawless taste, has designed 2 pairs of covetable shoes for fall; an oxblood colour-blocked shootie ($155) and a lace stiletto bootie ($175, not pictured) as well as a roomy faux croc bag in red or blue ($70). 

Available: In select ALDO stores now, online later this month

The Store: ALDO

Friends with Benefits: Preen & Patrik Ervell for ALDO RISE

Collab Deets: ALDO RISE, ALDO’s fashion week collaborations program, gives designers the chance to create and showcase the footwear they envision for their collections at accessible price-points.  For London-based design duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi of Preen, the current crop of shoes is reminiscent of an English Garden, featuring striking butterfly and botanical prints in lush suede and rich leather perched atop a skyscraper heel.  Meanwhile, Patrik Ervell combines various materials such as classic leather with utilitarian rubber soles and technical fabrics like nylon to create functional/fabulous footwear for both men & women. The ALDO RISE collection retails between $180 - $190.

Available: Now at select ALDO locations and online at aldoshoes.com


The Store: ALDO (again..I know)

Friends with Benefits: Manhattan's ultra-chic shop, WARM Boutique

Collab Deets: Taking a cue from The Shops at Target, The ALDO BOUTIQUE is a new collaboration program that seeks to discover great partnerships amongst ALDO's global network of talented tastemakers (think artists, musicians, architects etc.).  Winnie Beattie and Rob Magnotta of WARM worked alongside ALDO's in-house designers to design a plush suede bootie for all seasons, available in taupe, camel & black ($125).  Says Beattie, “I love this style because it can be worn with a runway dress as much as it can be thrown on after a surf on a cool day at the beach. It is cool, casual, and reminds me of something a girl from the Marais would wear if she was on her way to Biarritz for the weekend."

Available: At select ALDO stores and online at www.aldoshoes.com 

The Store: People's Jewellers

Friends with Benefits: Vera Wang

Collab Deets: For Vera Wang, simple, classic, elegant designs come naturally. The designer, best known for her luxurious bridal frocks, has created an extensive diamond ring collection, Vera Wang LOVE, available at People's, a next-to-foolproof way to thrill any girlfriend, wife or bride-to-be.  The collection launched last year but it's worth a shout-out because sometimes, if you mention it enough, somebody (nudge, nudge) might get the hint.

Available: NOW, at People's Jewellers :)

Jay Manuel works his signature silver-fox smize

ATTITUDE Jay Manuel Long Sleeve Peplum Top, $25, Sears

The Store: Sears

Friends with Benefits: Jay Manuel of ANTM Fame

Collab Deets: A few years back, silver fox Jay Manuel was appointed Creative Director of ATTITUDE Jay Manuel, Sears Canada's private label collection, which includes current, cool and (since it's Sears) blissfully affordable women's apparel, shoes, and accessories.  This season's collection was inspired by the best of Britain - imagine colour-blocked cobalt blue and poppy red, plus studded Peter Pan collars and of-the-moment peplum accents.  

Available: Now at Sears or online at sears.ca

LINE Knitwear x Roots Maple Intarsia Crew, $128, Roots

Preloved x Roots Mitts, $25

The Store: Roots

Friends with Benefits: LINE Knitwear and Preloved

Collab Deets: Roots always chooses the most interesting partnerships and this year, the collabs are especially cozy.   Haute label LINE Knitwear is a go-to for celebs like Jennifer Garner, Kate Bosworth and Taylor Swift. The LINE Knitwear x Roots collection features iconic Canadian prints (beavers? check. maples leaves? ditto.) worked into cozy-luxe sweaters at an accessible price ($128 for a sweater).  Next up? Preloved, a Canadian design co. that cleverly reworks vintage sweaters and fabric into pretty new pieces like cozy toggle scarves, and homepun-looking mittens. Devotees of the brand include Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Kirsten Dunst.  Oh, and yours truly.  Does that count?

Available: LINE Knitwear pieces available now at Roots and roots.com. Preloved in stores mid-October.

The pretty, party-ready MARTIN LIM for Reitmans collection

The designers' inspiration board and collection sketches at last night's launch event in Toronto

The Store: Reitmans

Friends with Benefits: Danielle Martin and Pao Lim of Martin Lim

Collab Deets: Partners in both love and business, Danielle Martin and Pao Lim, founded their label, MARTIN LIM, in 2010.  Ever since, the fashion industry and customers alike have fallen for their sleek, sophisticated designs.  The just-revealed MARTIN LIM for Reitmans capsule collection comprises 10 gorgeous dresses in regular, petite and plus-sizes, perfect for dancing your way through the upcoming party season.  I'm most excited about the plus-size body-con dresses - such a welcome (and flattering!) change for curvy girls.  Oh, and the video above? A hilarious must-see.

Available:  Online Nov 1st at reitmans.com.  In select Reitmans stores Nov 2nd. 


Totally Shady

Brilliant shades of blue, bordeaux and bright mustard from Nanette Lepore Fall 2012

It's funny but every fall I do the exact same thing.  Sometime right around now, when the mornings are just starting to feel crisp and the leaves are gradually leaving the trees (is that why they call them leaves?), I find myself doing the fall change-up.   I'll pack away all of my bright summer dresses, skirts & tees and shove them into an empty closet in our guest room.  The more I pack, the darker my closet gets as yellow, pink and orange make way for loads of grey sweaters and black pants.  Um, depressing much?

There's absolutely no reason (especially now!) to live in a black hole for 6 months of the year.  I've slowly been building up my colour arsenal and this year, I'm happy to report that my fall/winter wardrobe is equally as exciting as my spring & summer stuff.  I can't tell you how much more inspiring it is, especially on a cold, grey day, to have shades of rich yellow, bright reds and deep greens to get me going in the morning. This season, I'm obsessed with bordeaux and mustard and can't wait to work them into my look (see below for cool new ways to wear them).  

Since I've been on a bright binge for a few years now, I'm actually equally stoked about the black on black trend for fall - great news for colour-phobes, and perfect for those days when you need a colour detox.  The key to keeping it interesting?  Try mixing and matching loads of textures - pair a great chunky knit with a pair of leather leggings, shiny patent black boots and a bright red lip.  Or, pair your black with either deep navy or bright cobalt blue for a dose of Parisian chic.  

Happy fall, y'all!  Check back this season for loads of great tips, insider tricks and my fave fall finds from New Sudbury Centre.   Is it bad that I want a little bit of everything?  x

ATTITUDE Jay Manuel Peplum Top, $24.88, Sears


Floral Crepe Pencil Skirt - Petites, $64, Cleo


Mallia Wool & Cashmere Coat with Leather Piping, $749, Danier  



Bar Stripe Cardigan, $15, Aeropostale



Denim Darlings


To complement Britney's denim gown back in 2001, Justin naturally opted for the Canadian Tuxedo.  I miss them... Image via Denim Therapy 

Jeans.  A great pair can be your go-to, your saviour, the most reliable friend in your closet that you can slip on every day, for every occasion. But so many things can go wrong (don't even get me started on Britney & Justin's denim trainwreck);  from poorly-placed pockets that make your bum look 2 sizes too big, to a tight fit that can add rolls you didn't even know you had.   Jean shopping takes time, patience and perserverance. The pay-off? Fabulous friends that will stick by you all season long. Take a look at some of the new jeans at New Sudbury Centre for every body type, and remember, when it comes to finding the perfect pair, it's all about trying, trying and trying again.  Your body (and your bootie) will thank you.



The Jean: Rainbow-Bright Skinnies (L to R): Cobalt Skinnies, $69.95, Le Château; Red Skinny Pants, $46,  Smart Set; Mustard Skinny Jeggings, $42.90, Dynamite

Perfect Match - Never one to shy away from colour, you like to make a statement and show off your gams. 

How to Wear Them:  Pair them with any of your basic neutrals, like white, cream, black, grey or beige.  

Sole Mates: Keep it low-key with ballet flats or loafers or add height with a great pair of ankle boots.



The Jean: Cameron Tummy Control Slim Leg Jeans, $64, Cleo

Perfect Match: Great for a post-baby body or any woman with a tummy they want to conceal

How to Wear Them: The dark denim is super flattering and can be dressed up or down.  Pair it with a great sweater for day and then rock it with an embellished tank and blazer for after work. 

Sole Mates: The slight flare makes these jeans super versatile so you can wear them with everything from a pair of platform booties to a pointy-toed pump.



The Jeans: Skinny Kick Jeans, $29.71, American Eagle Outfitters

Perfect Match: You like them tight, but not too tight.  This new silhouette blends everything you love about the skinny with a little flattering kick at the bottom to balance out your proportions

How to Wear Them:  Pair them with a printed or lace blouse or a long-sleeved tee or add some some polish to the distressed finish with a cute, cropped jacket

Sole Mates:  Perfect with this season's plethora of little suede western-styled, chunky-heeled booties.



The Jeans: Weekend Stretch Dressy Jean (also in petite and ankle lengths), $54.99, Northern Reflections

Perfect Match: Your waist is smaller than your hips and you have trouble finding pants to fit both.

How to Wear Them:  Wear these jeans with a printed blouse or statement necklace to draw the eye up.

Sole Mates: The flared leg works much better with a heel than a flat.  Opt for a little pump or sleek, pointy-toed boots.



The Jeans: Skinny Animal Print Jeans, $49.95, Le Château

Perfect Match: You're young (or young at heart) and aren't afraid to walk on the wild side. 

How to Wear Them:  Pair this with an oversized chunky black sweater or try them with a white jersey-knit slouchy tee and a red handbag.  This scalloped crossbody bag is pretty (and pretty inexpensive) and will add the perfect hit of colour to your look.

Sole Mates:  A little black bootie or a pair of concealed wedge sneakers (try ALDO or Le Château) will give you the right amount of height (and edge)


The Jean: De Luxe Boot Cut Jeans, $40, Reitmans 

Perfect Match: You've got curves and know how to work 'em;   now you just need a pair of jeans that will work with what you've got.

How to Wear Them:  Wear these jeans with a soft blouse and a great waist-defining belt.  Add a bright trench for fall.

Sole Mates: Balance out the boot cut with a great pair of heeled or wedge boots (naturally), or wear them out with pointy-toed pumps


The Jeans: Stretch Skinny Leg Jeans, $89.95, Le Château 

Perfect Match: You're a rockstar, and you know it.

How to Wear Them:  These jeans are for the girl who likes to show off.  Wear them for day with a chambray shirt or chunky knit and after dark with a tank and bomber jacket.

Sole Mates: Keep it casual with a pair of flat boots or dress them up with sexy stilettos.