Geeky Chic
2 years ago
Toronto Street Style: A Saga of Girl Crushes

Like Mona, I have had my share of girl crushes before, but have you ever had a family crush? You know, where you have had to think twice about breaking-up with an ex because you would have missed his/her kin? Melissa and I spotted Stefanie and her family (mother, father, aunt and uncle) taking a stroll on a hot Sunday afternoon in Toronto. We started chatting, and as it turns out, all are involved in the arts in one way or another - actors, interior designers, screenwriters.They were all very warm, the ladies very fashionable (sorry dad!) and also very supportive of our upcoming magazine, The Genteel!

Naturally, creative expression runs through Stefanie’s veins – she studies fashion design, shuffling between Toronto and Paris to learn and develop her craft. She looked positively angelic in a radiant summer white dress, with a chic gamine cut to match! Her pop of colour a la clutch and scarf completed her look perfectly. Stefanie, I am looking forward to following your work!

Writing by Irene Kim, photos by Melissa Sung

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The Goods: 

Dress, Line
Shoes, Aldo (not shown)
Bag, Louis Vuitton
Scarf, Ted Baker
Sunglasses, Ray-ban
 

2 years ago
Annie looks positively 60s summer chic in her Diane von Furstenberg plaid dress. All that’s missing is a scarf wrapped around her hair and we’re good to include this red lipped beauty in a segment of Mad Men. The setting is seemingly fitting given that Annie works in Toronto’s own Mad Men-esque hub, Bloor and Bay street, where advertising agencies line up, or stack up I should say, like homes on tree lined streets in suburbia. The dress, made by the doyenne of dresses, is one in which I am mad about. It’s simple, yet ultra feminine, perhaps because it is evocative of a time where women were meant to be perfect wives and beautiful lovers at the same time.
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The Goods: 
Dress, Diane von Furstenberg

Annie looks positively 60s summer chic in her Diane von Furstenberg plaid dress. All that’s missing is a scarf wrapped around her hair and we’re good to include this red lipped beauty in a segment of Mad Men. The setting is seemingly fitting given that Annie works in Toronto’s own Mad Men-esque hub, Bloor and Bay street, where advertising agencies line up, or stack up I should say, like homes on tree lined streets in suburbia. The dress, made by the doyenne of dresses, is one in which I am mad about. It’s simple, yet ultra feminine, perhaps because it is evocative of a time where women were meant to be perfect wives and beautiful lovers at the same time.

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The Goods: 

Dress, Diane von Furstenberg

2 years ago
I noticed Emily’s cool, assured stride as she was walking along Spring Street with her mother.  It is apt to echo Mona’s sentiments here about sounding like an old fart. As I listened to Emily tell me with such poise about her years of experience in the fashion world, I was surprised to learn that she was still in undergrad. I firmly believe that the confidence with which one wears their outfit will make (or break) it and Emily illustrates my point. 
Emily described her style as “do-it-yourself” and “whatever happens”. She made me laugh when she noted that her necklaces were her re-incarnation of “tacky gold belts” (yes, I remember those from the 90’s) and hand-made feather details. Turning to street style as inspiration and stores such as Forever 21 that are on trend but wallet-friendly, translates into a large canvas on which Emily can experiment. With her confident approach to style, I look forward to see what she comes up with next!
Story and photo by Irene Kim
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The Goods: 
Dress, Forever 21 

I noticed Emily’s cool, assured stride as she was walking along Spring Street with her mother.  It is apt to echo Mona’s sentiments here about sounding like an old fart. As I listened to Emily tell me with such poise about her years of experience in the fashion world, I was surprised to learn that she was still in undergrad. I firmly believe that the confidence with which one wears their outfit will make (or break) it and Emily illustrates my point. 

Emily described her style as “do-it-yourself” and “whatever happens”. She made me laugh when she noted that her necklaces were her re-incarnation of “tacky gold belts” (yes, I remember those from the 90’s) and hand-made feather details. Turning to street style as inspiration and stores such as Forever 21 that are on trend but wallet-friendly, translates into a large canvas on which Emily can experiment. With her confident approach to style, I look forward to see what she comes up with next!

Story and photo by Irene Kim

——

The Goods:

Dress, Forever 21 

2 years ago
New York and Toronto Street Style: Summer Delicates

White on white is definitely a colour matching situation that is hard to pull off, at least in my books. Safer circumstances in which women can go full on white is typically in the summertime and even then you’d be hard pressed to find an outfit that does not look tacky. Not in this case, not even close. Both Angela and Irene look spectacular in white. 

The linen shorts on Angela (above) and Irene are incredibly summer chic, and this is a measurable attribute, people. Amidst the scorching heat we seem to be enduring, these shirts and knitted shorts make their owners look breezy and comfortable next to their hot and bothered neighbours. The cool (pun intended) trick to both Angela and Irene’s white outfits is they feel delicate, but their materials, which are made of heavier fibres, feel comfortable and practical at the same time. Notice how both their tops have longer sleeves! And the only glisten to be had is of the variety that seeps from their style. White, comfortable outfits are in full throttle here, and I need an encore.

Photo credit: Irene Kim

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The Goods: 

Angela

Shirt, The Gap

Shorts, Club Monaco

Shoes, H&M

Bag, Aldo

Dog, King Charles Cavalier (my favourite!) named Finn

Irene

Cable knit shirt, Banana Republic

Shorts, Club Monaco

Shoes, Marc Jacobs

Bag, Gucci

Sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

2 years ago
Beirut Street Style: Emily Cremona takes a leap into the wild

This post marks my last of the current inhabitants at Starch in Beirut. Though I am looking forward to seeing what new labels arise from the boutique-cum-design incubator, I want to pay one last homage to the crew.  

This is my second piece on Deena Wassef, Lebanese Egyptian designer for Emily Cremona. Make no mistake, she is a force to be reckoned with. Such is the case with her S/S 2011 collection. Ah yes, the collection, with it’s greige tones, asymmetrical lines and deconstructed volume. Where Danielle from Deviations designs for the playful princess in women, Deena designs for her counterpart, the pale and deranged princess. Such is the look that is Emily Cremona, an intended contradiction in it’s own right among the mainstream in Lebanon. If you check out the collection in store (hurry! the collection will not be at Starch for much longer) or on the website, you get the sense that the inspiration is somewhat akin to a rather despondent Alice in Wonderland, both physically and mentally lost in the depth of the woods. This visual genius stemming from Deena Wassef is worth keeping tabs on as she is takes her first steps as an independent local designer. 

2 years ago
Beirut Street Style: From Latex to Princesses

The wonderful thing about global street style is the number of impromptu run ins one comes across with people who are somehow connected to you. Traversing through Gemmayze, an eclectic Beirut district of alternative artfashion, cafes, restaurants and bars, I approached a woman waiting by an old cobbler. I thought her style was defiantly unique for what I normally see amongst Lebanese women. Masculine lines with bouts of bold and chunky. Danielle’s look is entirely her own, that is to say she designed the clothes she wore that day, minus the Raybans of course. The real story between Danielle and I is that she had been following Geeky Chic for a while and once made a comment of praise on my Facebook page. I was totally unaware of the fact when we met. In fact when I met Danielle in person I did not know who she was and vice versa. We made the connection after I told her I was a street style journalist based in Canada. Moments like these make me feel that the notion of our world being small is widely understated.

Two doors down from the cobbler is Deviations, the boutique where Danielle is the head designer. Before I entered the store, I could not help but notice a giant mirror adjacent to the door. Store owner, Amer, cleverly placed this mirror next to the store entrance to satisfy the narcissist in every Lebanese woman. The idea is that you look at yourself in the mirror, and then naturally at the store’s display of flattering evening dresses, all in an effort to inspire you to check out that sexy yellow number you can now so easily envision wearing (thanks to the mirror). 

The story of Amer and Deviations is an interesting one. It’s a 25 year old brand, born in Los Angeles. The original concept behind Deviations included fetish wear, slits, studs and the like. The inspiration behind the aesthetic of a deviated look so to speak was a marriage between ’80s goth from NYC and Rock ‘n Roll L.A. The line was dominated by lycra to emphasize the woman’s body at all times. Some of Amer’s clients included Cher, Courtney Love and Annie Lennox. Deviants for sure. The advent of 9/11 brought Amer and Deviations back to Lebanon. A small part of the Lebanese culture at the time responded to Amer’s look. It wasn’t until Danielle came in and started designing for Deviations with more volume, colours and details, that more and more Lebanese women started warming up to the brand. These days a good amount of Lebanese women buy clothes from Deviations to wear abroad. 

Deviations today, with Danielle at the helm, is inspired by fairy tales. Such is evident via trims, notions, details and playful colours. Many of Danielle’s dresses are embedded by wires that enable the look of the dress to change according to the woman wearing it. How fun! The brand and Danielle’s fairytales that come with it ensues with a bridal line of hers named Doochi. Doochi has not deviated from it’s mother ship entirely. The line caters to women who are non conformists, unconventional and unique. 

2 years ago
Amy is about to take her next steps as a student at a designated fashion school, and I can say with conviction that she is going places. I got this sense when we shook hands at the beginning and end of our encounter. I was slightly taken aback when she told me she was in high school. I’m aware this might make me sound like an old fart, but whenever I meet students who shine with ambition, intelligence and class, my day is made, especially among girls. Amy was more than obliging to have her photo taken, and she poised herself well. Her style certainly mirrored her maturity. With her Marinière shirt, Celine skirt, meadow hat and mauve lipstick, she reminded me of a mature French lady with a lot of gumption.
I hope I meet Amy again in 5 years to see where she’s landed. I’m also keen on seeing where her style takes her as she grows. As it stands, I think she’s looks fantastic. 

Amy is about to take her next steps as a student at a designated fashion school, and I can say with conviction that she is going places. I got this sense when we shook hands at the beginning and end of our encounter. I was slightly taken aback when she told me she was in high school. I’m aware this might make me sound like an old fart, but whenever I meet students who shine with ambition, intelligence and class, my day is made, especially among girls. Amy was more than obliging to have her photo taken, and she poised herself well. Her style certainly mirrored her maturity. With her Marinière shirt, Celine skirt, meadow hat and mauve lipstick, she reminded me of a mature French lady with a lot of gumption.

I hope I meet Amy again in 5 years to see where she’s landed. I’m also keen on seeing where her style takes her as she grows. As it stands, I think she’s looks fantastic. 

2 years ago
It was only a matter of time before I ran into the quintessential North American style, and documented it, given I live in North America. Perhaps i’ve been subconsciously avoiding it due to its prevalence. Nevertheless, Mr and Mrs boat shoe have appeared before me and I have to say, they are what I will call North American chic. So what comes with being North American chic? You have to have all the essentials: J.Crew, boat shoes (preferably from Sperry Topsider), at least one item from the Gap and a Starbucks coffee cup in hand. Check, check, check and check. Alana and Dan radiate the warm, and inviting side of preppy. And yes, there is such a thing. Plus, i’m a sucker for the nautical look, mainly because I have a non- participatory obsession for boats and the seafarer way. I hope Alana and Dan belong to a yacht club, it would render the image complete! 
——
The Goods: 
Alana: 
Cardigan, J.Crew
Cargos and t-shirt, The Gap
Shoes, Sperry Topsider
Dan: 
Sweater, The Gap
Shorts, Tommy
Shoes, Rockport
Sunglasses, Rayban

It was only a matter of time before I ran into the quintessential North American style, and documented it, given I live in North America. Perhaps i’ve been subconsciously avoiding it due to its prevalence. Nevertheless, Mr and Mrs boat shoe have appeared before me and I have to say, they are what I will call North American chic. So what comes with being North American chic? You have to have all the essentials: J.Crew, boat shoes (preferably from Sperry Topsider), at least one item from the Gap and a Starbucks coffee cup in hand. Check, check, check and check. Alana and Dan radiate the warm, and inviting side of preppy. And yes, there is such a thing. Plus, i’m a sucker for the nautical look, mainly because I have a non- participatory obsession for boats and the seafarer way. I hope Alana and Dan belong to a yacht club, it would render the image complete! 

——

The Goods: 

Alana: 

Cardigan, J.Crew

Cargos and t-shirt, The Gap

Shoes, Sperry Topsider

Dan: 

Sweater, The Gap

Shorts, Tommy

Shoes, Rockport

Sunglasses, Rayban

2 years ago
If Ashley from my previous blog post was to pass the baton of oriental style, she would do so to Fei Fei. Fei Fei, a student from a university in Houston, dazzled me with her dress when I met her on Rodeo Dr. It brought me back to the Middle East with rich jewel colours, endless flowing silhouette and the gold embroidery lined around her chest. Her white and gold Chanel sandals are the perfect accompaniment to the oriental look. 
A surprising little fact about Fei Fei’s ensemble is that her dress, as luxurious as it looks, plays second fiddle to her accessories in terms of actual luxury. Notice the delicate Hermès pink leather band bracelet. It’s as nondescript as it is palpable. If opulence is to exist within one’s style, i’m more interested in seeing it in a watch, a bracelet, a bag or shoes.
Back to an oriental note, I am having a ball with Ashley and Fei Fei’s rendition of the style. One wears it with a slightly masculine, 1920s influence; and the other a more modern, feminine and artisinal twist. Both are relevant to me personally as I leave for the Middle East in just under two weeks. 
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The Goods: 
Dress, Forever 21
Cardigan, Juicy Couture
Watch, Omega
Sandals, Chanel
Bag, Chanel
Bracelet, Hermès
Where I found Fei Fei: In front of Ralph Lauren at Rodeo, Dr. Beverly Hills

If Ashley from my previous blog post was to pass the baton of oriental style, she would do so to Fei Fei. Fei Fei, a student from a university in Houston, dazzled me with her dress when I met her on Rodeo Dr. It brought me back to the Middle East with rich jewel colours, endless flowing silhouette and the gold embroidery lined around her chest. Her white and gold Chanel sandals are the perfect accompaniment to the oriental look. 

A surprising little fact about Fei Fei’s ensemble is that her dress, as luxurious as it looks, plays second fiddle to her accessories in terms of actual luxury. Notice the delicate Hermès pink leather band bracelet. It’s as nondescript as it is palpable. If opulence is to exist within one’s style, i’m more interested in seeing it in a watch, a bracelet, a bag or shoes.

Back to an oriental note, I am having a ball with Ashley and Fei Fei’s rendition of the style. One wears it with a slightly masculine, 1920s influence; and the other a more modern, feminine and artisinal twist. Both are relevant to me personally as I leave for the Middle East in just under two weeks. 

——

The Goods: 

Dress, Forever 21

Cardigan, Juicy Couture

Watch, Omega

Sandals, Chanel

Bag, Chanel

Bracelet, Hermès

Where I found Fei Fei: In front of Ralph Lauren at Rodeo, Dr. Beverly Hills

2 years ago
When it comes to personal style, Ashley takes cues from various influences of the roaring 1920s. This design student from FIDM in Los Angeles has retained elements from what largely defined the 20s, which is Art Deco fashion. While the 1920s is known for its short hemmed dresses, Art Deco was distinguished by it’s deep colors, evident in Ashley’s trousers, which were designed by her.
Taking a deeper look at the detailing and draping of the trousers, I cannot help but think of Paul Poiret, under which Art Deco fashion bloomed. Poiret was best known for doing away with corsets and for introducing hobble skirts and ”harem” pantaloons, all in the spirit and innovative eye for draping. Additionally, Poiret’s designs juxtaposed western fashion and the oriental influences of ancient Egypt, barefaced in the harem-esque qualities of Ashley’s trousers and the artisanal lace stitching. Ashley said her style influences also come from the 90s, which may very well be the case as I definitely saw some Sporty Spice in her look. However, I felt her style that day was dominated  by the Art Deco Eastern influences of colors, drapery and “shapeless” dresses (and in this case, trousers). 
——
The Goods: 
Pants and top designed by Ashley
Ashley’s clothing line, Daisy Lu Vintage available for purchase on Etsy
FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising)
Where I found Ashley: The Grove, Los Angeles

When it comes to personal style, Ashley takes cues from various influences of the roaring 1920s. This design student from FIDM in Los Angeles has retained elements from what largely defined the 20s, which is Art Deco fashion. While the 1920s is known for its short hemmed dressesArt Deco was distinguished by it’s deep colors, evident in Ashley’s trousers, which were designed by her.

Taking a deeper look at the detailing and draping of the trousers, I cannot help but think of Paul Poiret, under which Art Deco fashion bloomed. Poiret was best known for doing away with corsets and for introducing hobble skirts and ”harem” pantaloons, all in the spirit and innovative eye for draping. Additionally, Poiret’s designs juxtaposed western fashion and the oriental influences of ancient Egypt, barefaced in the harem-esque qualities of Ashley’s trousers and the artisanal lace stitching. Ashley said her style influences also come from the 90s, which may very well be the case as I definitely saw some Sporty Spice in her look. However, I felt her style that day was dominated  by the Art Deco Eastern influences of colors, drapery and “shapeless” dresses (and in this case, trousers). 

——

The Goods: 

Pants and top designed by Ashley

Ashley’s clothing line, Daisy Lu Vintage available for purchase on Etsy

FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising)

Where I found Ashley: The Grove, Los Angeles


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