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Vancouver Retail Star: Twigg & Hottie

With Vancouver's Eco Fashion Week just around the corner, I thought I'd take the opportunity to chat with local retailer Twigg & Hottie, experts in the art of harmonizing fashion and the environment.

Founded in 2003 by fashion aficionados and designers Glencora Twigg and Christine "Hottie" Hotton — adding Jessica Vaira in 2006 — their store is located at 3671 Main Street on 21st Avenue (the coolest shopping district in Vancouver).

As the trio tell me, their reason for setting up shop was simple. They wanted to "get our designs out into the world without having to beg another retailer to carry us and to help other independents get the same opportunity."

Those other independents range from We3 Designs, Prairie Underground, Second Denim, El Naturalista Shoes, TOMS shoes, Bronsino Leather, Birds of North America, Kdon by Kim Cathers, Ruelle, and Torn Clothing. But why do they believe shoppers should be conscious of purchasing sustainable fabrics and ecological fashions?

"We should all feel responsible to do what is in our power to lessen the human footprint on earth and keep it sparkling for generations to come. As a values based business we are always proud of what we sell and connect on a deep and authentic level with our customers."

Not every designer will make the cut for a coveted place in their store. Quality, versatility, comfort, construction and fit all play a key role in decision, though fit is the most vital element. I own a We3 shirt from Twigg & Hottie and can certainly vouch for its hugging embrace!

Of course, being run by three very strong women doesn't necessarily mean all creative and business decisions will be easy. Though the three maintain they get along "most of the time," they say keeping their egos in check and being honest and open to discussion is of utmost importance.

"We are strong but our strength comes from our willingness to be vulnerable.  Also we are all dogmatically committed to the same life values and to each other. We're like three wives."

Yes, they have the same agenda, but the same taste? I asked each what would be the most coveted clothing piece at the top of their holiday wish list. Jessica says a plaid Glencora skirt, Gertrude wishes for a Stein dress, and Christine craves a Merino wool cardigan.

Though the three have no plans to open any more stores, their New Year's resolution will see Twigg & Hottie expanding its wholesaling and branching into the ever popular pop-up shop domain. Eyes peeled!

Images via Twigg & Hottie

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Link Buzz: Tom Ford Has a Baby; Terry Shoots Gaga and Donatella

  • Designer Tom Ford and his longtime partner Richard Buckley had a baby! Congrats x a million. Kid's gonna have quite the sunglasses collection. [Fashionologie]
  • Stacy Keibler wore Alaia and it was insane. [FabSugar]
  • It's October and the days are getting shorter and soon all the leaves will Fall and you will start wearing new autumnal hued nail polish to carve pumpkins and do other seasonal activities. MAKE IT COUNT. [BellaSugar]
  • John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are doing a Christmas album because actually everyone in America still really loves Grease. [RightCelebrity]
  • If you'd like to see the sketch of Anne Hathaway's Valentino wedding dress, you should click on through. [SheFinds]
  • Lady Gaga was hanging out with Donatella Versace and Terry Richardson and then she took off her shirt and then Richardson took a photo and it is not a good story at all, but it's a picture. [Starcasm]

Image via Lia Toby /

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Must-See Collabs: Anna Dello Russo, William Tempest, and More

Fall collaborations are hitting the shelves, so get ready to treat yourself to some must-have shopping picks.

Anna Dello Russo for H&M
She’s an infamous stylist with an extroverted sense of style; from ostrich eggs to watermelons, she breaks the rules and transforms such flamboyant items into perfectly acceptable forms of headwear. So, you can only imagine just how cool Anna Dello Russo's latest jewellery collaboration with H&M is! The capsule collection hit stores today, and as predicted, was greeted with an army of fashionistas queuing right around the block on London’s Regent Street store. So, yes, you need to get your skates on as it’s already selling out fast! The collection is mainly characterized by gold as it features prominently, but also think feathered headdresses, crocodile cuffs, and turquoise stones. You won’t be disappointed!

William Tempest for River Island
Save the date of October 15, as London College of Fashion graduate William Tempest is launching an exclusive capsule collection at one of the high-street’s favourites, River Island. River Island is of course dedicated to supporting up-and-coming fashion designers and that’s the reason behind its Design Forum initiative, and luckily for Tempest, all attention is set to be on him this October. The inspirations behind his forthcoming thirteen-piece collection stem from Egyptian mythology, the work of MC Escher, and 1920’s interiors. It all sounds pretty cute to us, and we can’t wait for it to hit those stores.

& Other Stories by H&M
Just about everybody has already heard it somewhere along the grapevine that the group behind H&M is set to launch a luxury store, & Other Stories, and this week they’ve just exclusively released some more details about the venture. According to reports, it’ll just target women, and rather than promoting individual items alone, it’ll aim to promote an entire look and teach their customers how to style an outfit. There’s no official information regarding its exact launch yet, but rumour does have it that the first store will open in the UK. Fingers crossed! 

Images: H&M

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Aussies Ruby Jean Wilson, Nicole Pollard, and Montana Cox Kill It at Paris Fashion Week

Ruby Jean Wilson at Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton

With her perfectly arched eyebrows, razor sharp cheekbones and jawline most dudes would kill for, Ruby Jean Wilson’s face is one we would like to remove and plaster over our own no matter what her hair colour.

But when she chopped off her brunette locks a couple of months ago and dyed them platinum blonde, she might just have unintentionally made herself the face of Spring 2013, or at least of Marc Jacobs’ 60s spin on the season. Wilson not only opened and closed for Marc Jacobs in New York but scored herself what was most probably an exclusive for the designer’s Louis Vuitton show in Paris last week.


Nicole Pollard at Christian Dior, Montana Cox at Chanel

And Ruby Jean wasn’t the only one to have caught the eye of a big-name designer after killing it down under for the last year or so. 18-year-old Nicole Pollard has only been modeling for 18 months but has already been oiled up for Zimmermann’s steamy Resort 2012 campaign and shown off a jawline to rival Ruby Jean’s for Friend of Mine, though it’s still quite a jump to go from that to scoring a Christian Dior exclusive. Pollard walked in one of the most anticipated shows of Paris Fashion Week in a floral ball gown skirt by the newly appointed Raf Simons, appearing on the runway alongside fellow Aussie and fashion month mainstay Julia Nobis.

Then there’s the best thing to happen to Next Top Model since Tyra Banks went postal on Tiffany from Cycle 3: Montana Cox. The 19-year-old has a knack for nailing it Paris, making her debut at Haute Couture Fall 2013  by walking for Elie Saab and Valentino amongst others. Last week she walked in a total of nine Paris Fashion Week shows, including Chanel, Tom Ford, Mugler, Carven and AF Vandervorst. Pretty impressive considering her biggest achievement a year ago was being house captain of the Nillumbik house at Melbourne’s Eltham College. 

Images IMAXtree

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Have You Ever Seen Raf Simons Talk? [VIDEO]

Since everyone else has already talked themselves to death about the relative merits of Raf Simons' first Dior Ready-to-Wear collection, it's only fair we give the man of the hour himself a few moments to share his thoughts.

And so the Belgian-born designer took to YouTube to explain his Spring 2013 collection. Hearing a designer — almost any designer, no matter how mild-mannered and modest he seems — is inevitably kind of cringe-worthy, because it sounds like a mixture of meaningless gobbledygook and self-congratulation. And I'm sorry to say that Simons didn't exactly manage to avoid that particular trap.

Here's how he opened his video remarks: "The main idea was about freedom. But also, sensuality, sexuality, the future, the modern, movement."

The second I heard him say that the main idea was about "freedom," I wanted to bang my head against a table. Oh great, you're going to take a word which corresponds to some of the most significant principles in the history of philosophy and throw it around to talk about a runway show. How exactly did your dresses explore the the idea of freedom? Did they swish around a lot?

Listing a number of big, non-aesthetic concepts like "freedom," "sensuality," or (this one kills me) "the future" might make you feel important, like you're doing deeply meaningful work, but it doesn't communicate anything interesting about your collection. And plenty of critics incorporated similar statements by Raf into reviews of the Dior collection without explaining how the clothes managed to convey that message.

I'm being unneccessarily hard on Raf, whose PR director probably just asked him to "sum up [his] collection in six words," or whatever. Every designer says some version of this kind of tripe every season they show a collection, but I just think they should stop. It's unflattering to the designers and boring for us hear. There are more interesting conversations to be had, as Raf evidenced when he kept talking in the video below.

Image via IMAXTree


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Ann Taylor is the Eaton Centre’s Newest Resident

The Eaton Centre overhaul continues with another new addition to its shopping arsenal. After recent store openings from J. Crew and Massimo Dutti, last night saw the debut of the first, not only Canadian, but international Ann Taylor store.

The grand unveiling was welcomed by a large crowd of socialite types, who packed themselves amongst the cashmere sweaters with a canapé in one hand and a glass of Champagne in the other. Marilyn Dennis made an appearance, though much to my disappointment, the face of the brand's Fall 2012 collection Kate Hudson was absent.

Still, the store was a treat to behold, set within a large neutral space, the decor was white throughout with pops of color — royal blue and fuchsia play a key role in this season's line — adding that je ne sais quoi to a functional office wardrobe.

Like it's adjacent competitor Massimo Dutti, Ann Taylor targets the working woman who wants staple clothing that can take her from office, to playground, to aperitifs. Of course, if you're not that kind of type-A specimen, there's one thing with which Ann Taylor really shines: jewellery.

From the bejeweled cuffs, to the tortoise shell and tiger's eye pendant (probably my favourite piece), to the resin link necklaces, the brand offers a never-ending selection of statement pieces. And believe me, they make a statement. Just teaming an Ann Taylor necklace with a simple shirt will instantly transform an outfit (I spotted a number of sales doing just that with this pearlized and jet bead piece), taking the look from drab to fab with one lock of a clasp.

After browsing and mentally composing my Christmas wish list of accessories, I had to ask, who is Ann Taylor? Is she a real person or is she like the proverbial Victoria of Victoria's Secret? It turns out "Ann Taylor" was the name of a dress pattern, gifted to founder Richard Liebeskind by his father in 1954. The "Ann Taylor" design embodied the well-dressed woman, and the legacy was born.

Visit the next part of this legacy on the third floor of the Toronto Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge Street (@ Queen Street).

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