Style Fille: Olivia Wilde in H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection

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H&M’s latest Conscious Exclusive collection hits the stores today, and while I already got to shop it yesterday at the brand’s pre-shop in Toronto, I wish this cream cape blazer that Olivia Wilde is wearing here was available too. I ended up picking up the black version, which is also pretty amazing…but I was really hoping to steal this entire look, seeing how I already own a similar Led Zeppelin tee. Oh well, I guess I’ll settle for the black blazer with a white tee instead…should be just as good.

Are you planning on shopping this collection today? Check out the lookbook and be prepared for crowds! Let me know which pieces you picked up, and whether you love Olivia’s look as much as I do.

Photo Credits: Lainey Gossip

Discover CHANEL: CHANEL Handbag Factory

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On the final day of the Discover CHANEL program, my fellow bloggers and I were whisked away to a super-duper secret location outside of Paris to visit the CHANEL Handbag Workshop…aka the place where the brand produces their timeless bags. It was the very first time that CHANEL had invited bloggers to visit this workshop, and I can’t explain just how lucky and grateful I felt to be able to see and experience the step-by-step process from development to quality control.

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After being greeted by a giant CHANEL bag installation in the lobby, we were ushered into the room where the development phase takes place. With prototype bags lining the walls, sketches and photographs strewn across a table, we were told that this was the first step in creating a bag. Sketches come to life as prototype bags, before it’s decided whether they’ll actually be produced. With 6 collections per year, this is a busy place, where a bag can go from sketch to production in days.

Moving on, we stopped by the raw materials and hardware rooms. One was full of various skins, leather, and signature chains, while the other had trays of iconic CHANEL bag closures that are put through stringent testing, along with chains and leather, to ensure the highest quality and durability. Being in the raw materials room was so tempting…I was dying to create my own bag out of all the components on hand.

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Next, we popped into a room where leathers like lambskin, calfskin, and others are carefully inspected under special lights that mimic daylight. Each piece has to look and feel perfect before it’s allowed to continue on to production. There’s zero tolerance for imperfections, as expected.

After the hardware and the leather have been thoroughly checked and tested, the next stage of production is cutting. There are three different ways that CHANEL bag patterns are cut: by hand, digitally, or using special metal plates. We watched various methods at work, fascinated by the amount of accuracy it takes to cut those patterns. When dealing with hand-cut exotic skins, precision is even more important, to ensure a symmetric end result, and zero imperfections.

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The most fascinating room of all was the assembly/production room, where CHANEL craftspeople split leather (to make it thinner and smoother), assembled bags, stitched and hammered. It takes 4 to 5 years for each specialist on the site to learn how to perfectly master the techniques necessary for the manufacture. Those working with exotic skins wear masks and gloves to ensure that no droplets mark the delicate surface, even going so far as to use plastic wrap on top of skins to protect them further.

What I learned in the assembly room is that CHANEL bags are actually put together using one of two methods: inside-out, and molded techniques. Most iconic bags are made using the inside-out method, where all of the components of the bag are stitched inside-out like a Ready-to-Wear piece, so that the stitches are on the inside when the bag is turned the right side out. The body and base are brought together with the “bag in bag” technique: the interior bag is mounted inside the exterior bag, assembled by hand, and ensuring a luxurious finish inside and out.

When working with more delicate materials like alligator, and turning the bag inside-out is not an option, the moulding method is used. The outer part of a bag is put together around a mould, and hand-stitched, before the inner flap can be dropped in and stitched together with the outer flap.

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All in all, it takes over 180 manufacturing operations to create one iconic bag, with 80% of the total production time spent on the assembly table. Once the bag is finished, it is then sent to the quality control room, where a team of testers painstakingly check each bag by hand. But thanks to the attention paid in all the other parts of the manufacturing process, the success rate is very high, and most bags that reach this phase of production meet the CHANEL standard.

This room was amazing, as we were faced with rows upon rows of finished CHANEL handbags everywhere – what fashion dreams are made of! And just like that, our magical tour was over. Talking to the passionate craftspeople, seeing the extensive step-by-step process, and learning just how much work and intricacy goes into each and every CHANEL bag made me appreciate the few bags that I do own that much more…and fuelled my desire to run to the nearest CHANEL boutique right after our visit. These bags are truly investment pieces that never go out of style, and knowing that they are made with so much love and attention to detail makes them that much more special.

This was the last day of the Discover CHANEL program – three unforgettable days spent with my favourite luxury brand in my favourite city. From the fitting at ave Montaigne, to the breakfast at Brasserie Gabrielle, to Mademoiselle’s apartment, to the CHANEL handbag factory outside of Paris…it’s definitely one experience I will never forget. And I truly hope that my recaps of the program gave you a fun little glimpse into the beautiful world of CHANEL, so that you could discover it along with me. Thanks for reading, and share your thoughts in the comments!

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You Are Invited: Hermès Canada Charity Silk Sale in Toronto

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Amazing news, guys! Hermès Charity Silk Sale is coming to Toronto on April 23rd, and if you’re a fan of the brand, you won’t want to miss it! In the past, merchandise included scarves, ties, bracelets, and small leather goods, with really good discounts offered. The sale will be held in support of Multiple Sclerosis Research at St. Michael’s Hospital, so it’s for a good cause too. Not much else to say, except…see you in line?

WHEN: April 23, 2015 8am-7pm
WHERE: Metro Convention Centre
255 Front St West
North Building, Room 201
ALL SALES ARE FINAL

What I Wore: Design Lab

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It’s officially spring, and with any luck, pretty soon we’ll be able to put away our winter coats and boots, shed those opaque tights, and finally wear pretty clothes and shoes. I can’t wait! Recently, I got to preview Hudson’s Bay’s new Design Lab collection, chock-full of boho caftans, eyelet two-pieces in pretty pastel shades, faux suede, crochet, fringe, and lace…oh my! Checking out the collection made me feel even antsier about warmer temps – so many cute pieces to add to my closet!

I was lucky enough to pick my faves and take them out for a spin at Toronto’s Allan Gardens Conservatory – a place where it’s summer all year long. I chose this sassy floral two-piece, so stretchy and comfy, that it works even on a curvier girl like me. With an athletic-inspired lace bomber jacket, this is the perfect outfit for those warm spring days…brunch, date, whatever. And those blue flowers –instant pick-me-up!

Check out Hudson’s Bay’s Design Lab collection here and let me know which pieces you love!

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What I Wore: Top, Skirt, Jacket – Design Lab (Hudson’s Bay); Bag – CHANEL; Shoes – Alexander Wang

This post was sponsored by Hudson’s Bay, all opinions are my own.

Photo Credits: Max Kopanygin

Toronto Fashion Week: Hayley Elsaesser Spring 2015 Collection

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As I wrote last year, last season of WMCFW was one of the best…but if I’d made one mistake that week, it was not seeing the Hayley Elsaesser Spring 2015 show. I think it was late, I was tired, and apparently stupid, because Hayley’s collection was one of the highlights of Toronto Fashion Week last season. Full of gloriously fun printed pieces, the Heavenly Bodies collection was deliciously cheeky, yet wearable…and after perusing the photos the day after the show, I was mad at myself for not sticking around.

Well, this season, I’m not going to make the same mistake. Hayley Elsaesser’s Fall 2015 show is definitely one of my most highly-anticipated tickets of the season, and I can’t wait to see what this cool Canadian-born/Australian-educated designer has dreamed up this time around.

And since spring is technically here, I just wanted to let you know that a lot of Hayley’s Heavenly Bodies pieces are now available for pre-order. Sadly, at $970 I just can’t pull the trigger on my fave handsy sequin tee dress, but the mouthy maxi is much more affordable and just as cute.

What do you think of Hayley Elsaesser’s whimsical collection? Are you into it? Share in the comments.

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Shopping: H&M’s Conscious Exclusive Collection Spring 2015 Lookbook

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Every spring, I look forward to checking out H&M’s newest Conscious Exclusive collection, and this year’s is finally here! Fronted by Olivia Wilde as the face of this season’s campaign, the collection is full of timeless pieces that I love. Take the cape blazer for example…how sick does it look on Olivia?! It’s a perfect blend of masculine and feminine and frankly, I need it in my life. Same can be said about the rest of the collection, rendered in neutral colours, and classic silhouettes.

“I love the Conscious Exclusive collection at H&M, both for the look, and also for its ethics. This is how all fashion should be: great style that’s naturally more sustainable,” says Olivia Wilde.

H&M’s new Conscious Exclusive collection was created using sustainable materials like hemp, organic linen and organic leather, and will be available worldwide on April 16. Are you loving this year’s collection? Share in the comments!

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Discover CHANEL: 51 avenue Montaigne

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It’s hard to describe the feeling of a dream coming true, but I will do my best. As I was getting ready for my long-awaited trip to Morocco, I received the most amazing news – not only was I invited to attend the CHANEL Fall-Winter 2015/16 show, but I was also among the 5 bloggers selected to participate in the Discover CHANEL program that was to be held over three days in Paris. I think after the initial shock wore off, doubt set in, and I spent the next couple of weeks in a state of disbelief, sure that somehow I was dreaming this entire scenario up, and that I would soon wake up to realize that it was all the result of my fevered imagination. Spoiler alert…it was not a dream, but it was certainly a dream come true.

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On Day 1 of Discover CHANEL, I arrived at 51 avenue Montaigne, ready for the tour of the beautiful boutique and a private fitting (!!!!!!!). At the boutique, I met Alvin and Columbine, bloggers from Singapore and Sweden, and got to hang out with fellow Canadians – the Beckerman sisters Cailli and Sam. We were a rowdy bunch, and after checking out the impressive avenue Montaigne boutique (opened in 2012, inspired by Coco Chanel’s apartment, and designed by Peter Marino), we rushed into the VIP room to rummage through racks and tables of clothing, accessories, and jewelry prepared for us by the amazing CHANEL team.

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Not being a sample size girl, I still managed to find several things that fit me, and in the end, selected a timeless chevron-print tweed blazer, red patent leather crossbody bag, and two pearl cuffs to wear to the next day’s show, as well as a cashmere cardigan and a tweed chainlink necklace to wear on the last day of the tour. With a shopping bag full of CHANEL goodies, I went back to our Airbnb and just stared at it all for a bit…trying to soak up the feeling of having so many CHANEL pieces at my disposal. Not going to lie…it felt pretty amazing. Almost as amazing as knowing that next day, CHANEL’s Fall 2015 show awaited… (to be continued)

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Paris Fashion Week: H&M Studio Fall 2015 Runway Collection

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Paris Fashion Week is upon us, and as in the past few years, my fave fast-fashion brand H&M presented their Fall 2015 Studio collection in Paris. With a studded front row, that included Audrey Tautou, Solange Knowles, Mark Ronson, and Olga Kurylenko, and a slew of the most in-demand models strutting their stuff on the runway, this was definitely one of the hottest tickets of the season.

Once again, I tuned in to watch the show live online, while making my wishlist for next fall. After all, even though this was a Paris Fashion Week runway show, the major appeal is that the clothes shown will be affordable. No need to break the bank.

Unlike in the past, however, this year’s wishlist was shorter than I had expected. There were several standouts like the psychedelic sequinned top that my closet seriously needs, the green chevron-printed tunic that I’d happily wear as a dress, a couple of patent leather jackets perfect for fall, an orange beaded sweater of my dreams, and a furry topper that I fell in love with. But the rest of it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Perhaps because I don’t love wide trousers, or because the colours weren’t vibrant enough for this magpie…but most looks from the collection left me a little underwhelmed. Hopefully when the pieces hit the stores, I’ll feel differently, but even if I don’t, there are plenty of looks from this collection that I’m going to be coveting next fall.

H&M Studio is H&M’s limited-edition collection of key seasonal pieces, with its own dedicated design team. The Fall 2015 collection will be available in 200 stores worldwide, as well as online (sadly not in Canada), from September 10. So tell me, did you love H&M Fall 2015 Studio Collection? Share your faves in the comments.

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More photos after the jump!
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3 Bags and 3 Muses in CHANEL’s Latest Ad Campaign

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If you’ve been waiting for that promised ad campaign, featuring Kristen Stewart, Vanessa Paradis, and Alice Dellal, your patience has finally been rewarded, because CHANEL released these images of the new (and not so new) CHANEL handbag muses, wearing three iconic bags from the brand. Shot by Karl Lagerfeld, these images feature some of the coolest it-girls around, and I have to say that I’m obsessed with Vanessa’s photo, especially since she’s not a twenty-something ingenue. I love that Karl continues to work with her, and that she continues to be the face of CHANEL many years later.

The idea behind the campaign was to feature each woman with a CHANEL bag that best embodies her – Vanessa with the Girl, Alice with the Boy, and Kristen with the 11.12. As a huge fan of the brand, I do find all three bags dreamy, but if I had to choose one, it would be the Boy. Besides the romantic story behind the name of the bag, I love how easy that bag is…how it can be dressed up or down, with a comfy strap that can be worn cross-body, or on the shoulder…CHANEL Boy Bag is definitely a fave of mine.

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If you were curious about what the three muses had to say about their bag choices, here’s a little insight into their faves!

Dellal on the Boy: “Since discovering the Boy, I have found it a permanent fixture in my wardrobe. It’s a ‘fuss-free’ bag; it is very modern! The Boy bag was my first job with Chanel, it was the beginning of a unique journey.”
Kristen Stewart on 11.12: “For me, the iconic handbag (the 11.12) is just like the house of Chanel, fundamental and modern, two qualities not usually shared.”
Vanessa Paradis on the Girl: “I like the fact that it blends in with clothes or against the skin with infinite gentleness.”

And there you have it…three CHANEL muses, with three stunning CHANEL handbags. Which one is your fave? Share in the comments.

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Shopping: H&M Studio Spring 2015 Collection Lookbook

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With winter getting on my last nerve, any refuge from the frigid cold is very welcome…especially when it comes in the form of a drool-worthy lookbook. So if you need to feel like spring is just around the corner, feast your eyes on this H&M Studio Spring 2015 lookbook, which features lovely prints, flowy fabrics, and the promise of sunny days and minimal layers. This time around, I also included menswear photos, because some of the pieces are just too good not to share. I’ve been known to shop the menswear section often, and this time, I’ll be hunting down that space-tastic top to add to my growing sweatshirt collection.

H&M Studio S/S 2015 will be sold worldwide from March 12th, and I wouldn’t wait to hit up the stores if I were you. The printed pajama-like suiting, tie-dye slipper sandals, and luxurious leather jackets will fly off the shelves like all those other special H&M collections usually do.

Happy Shopping!

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See womenswear and menswear collections after the jump!
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