Monday, November 30, 2009

Out of the pink in Kensington Market...

On a weekend stroll through Kensington Market in Toronto, my husband Marco, his twin brother, Miguel, and I stumbled upon their elder brother, Luis Jacob. It really was out of the blue, a chance meeting. There he was, smiling, surrounded by gorgeous pink dahlias in a pastoral setting...The work, made by Andrew01, can be seen on a wall on Augusta Avenue. It really took us by surprise. So I photographed the twins next to the printed version of their artist brother, Luis.

Read former post on Luis Jacob's recent publications.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Expand your vision with Photorama 2009

I just received a message from Jesse Colin Jackson, who is part of Photorama 2009.
It is days away—spread the word and invite your friends, family, and colleagues!

Photorama 2009 Dates & Times
Opening Reception: Friday, November 27, 6 – 9 pm
Sale: November 28, December 1 to 5, Noon – 7 pm
Collectors Preview: Thursday, November 26, 6 – 9 pm

The complete list of participating Photorama artists is available online at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chic, La Pause Café!

Melitta porcelain coffee set, made in Germany -1960s.
That's it! That is the coffee set that we purchased last Saturday at one of our favourite vintage stores in Toronto, the Rogue Gallery on Queen Street East.
More happy brunch and high tea parties to come - limited to 4 people, though!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Guess who is coming to town?

Allow me to tell you a secret...
The other day, I received an email from Daniel, our German friend in Toronto. He was soooo excited to see that the Berlin crooner is actually coming to town! As a matter of fact, Daniel checked his Myspace page, some time after the "German" night that we threw last August (read post), in order to see his concert schedule and was a little disappointed to see there weren't any concerts planned abroad, meaning in Canada... The only concerts outside Germany were in New York, L.A and Tokyo, back then...But now, NOW, TORONTO is on the schedule...'coincidence, destiny?', as Daniel would put it.
If you are in Toronto, I suggest you reserve your seats NOW that there are still some good seats available, as we think they are worth every single penny. The show will be performed at The Royal Conservatory of Music, next March 9th, 2010, and we are definitely attending - it actually is part of our Xmas gift to each other! Four months to wait...the excitement is big!
But who is this famous Berlin crooner I am talking about? If you don't know him yet, he's been referred to as “the man with the shellac voice,” as it's clear that he pays a lot of attention to sonic detail in recreating the music of the 20's and 30's. Go to this link, and listen to a few songs by Max Raabe (and the Palast Orchester).

Now, of course, if you live not too far from Berlin, you might already have heard, or even enjoyed (damned, you're lucky!), one of these swell 1920s-1930s parties thrown by Bohème Sauvage. The 1920s-30s have been all the rage in Swinging Berlin for the last couple of years!

"Making it past the velvet rope at the roving Bohème Sauvage party is not about who’s who, but what you wear. The dress code is dapper, dandy, diva or flapper. This swanky mode is quite a contrast to Berlin’s normally laid-back street look. Fedoras take the place of hoodies, hair is finger-waved instead of flat-ironed and makeup runs to the smoky eye paired with carefully painted Cupid’s bow lips in blood red."(from All Swell, by Susan Stone, in WWD magazine)
2 swell little links:

Long live Max Raabe, Berlin and its Bohème Sauvage!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Gentlewoman in a world of Fantastic Men...

I am intrigued by this cover of The Gentlewoman issue n*0 . Does it mean a real gentlewoman can work out her muscles, just by figuring out how to gracefully lift her glamourous clutch? Interesting...
If you are already a reader of the fantastic Dutch man's magazine, you will know that the 10th issue of FANTASTIC MAN offers "an exclusive preview of THE GENTLEWOMAN, an upcoming new title from the makers of FANTASTIC MAN", if not, now you know.
FANTASTIC MAN, created five years ago, is the brainchild of designer Jop van Bennekom and journalist Gert Jonkers. FYI, Bennekom has also published Re-Magazine and Butt Magazine.
FANTASTIC MAN has been destined for a male audience (although, not exclusively I guess, as I've enjoyed the read immensely this last year and a half!..), but now comes along THE GENTLEWOMAN, a new biannual style magazine for women, which will launch in March 2010.
I decided to have a look closer at that word, because my very first impression, I admit, was one of frustration...I felt a bit jealous, or BAFFLED by the use of such a politically correct adjective: gentle. It did not sound as heroic as its male equivalent. So I looked up the definition for the word gentlewoman and found...

Gentlewoman's Waistcoat - 1950 Vintage Knitting Pattern- Splendid! Wikipedia:
"A gentlewoman (from the Latin gentilis, belonging to a gens, and English 'woman') in the original and strict sense is a woman of good family, analogous to the Latin generosus and generosa. The closely related English word "gentry" derives from the Old French genterise, gentelise, with much of the meaning of the French noblesse and the German Adelheit, but without the strict technical requirements of those traditions, such as quarters of nobility."
Portrait of a Gentle Woman, by Correggio (Antonio Allegri), 1517. The Hermitage, St Petersburg.

...and in the Merriam-Webster online search dictionary:
Function: noun
Date: 13th century
By association with gentleman, the word can refer to:
1. a : a woman of noble or gentle birth, b : a woman who is an attendant upon a lady of rank.
2 : a woman of refined manners or good breeding : lady.

All right that sounds pretty fantastic to me! And yet, there still was this vague, lingering impression, hovering in the back of my mind, and making me feel that a Gentlewoman was not a status half as enviable as that of a Fantastic Man.
FANTASTIC MAN & THE GENTLEWOMAN. I guess I expected something...else, or perhaps, just as many suggested, FANTASTIC WOMAN. But that would have been too easy, I reckon. I understand why they had to go for the exact opposite in the staple ingredients and layout, in order to mark the difference. So I won't blame them too long if my woman's feelings have been hurt a bit in the naming process- Don't worry, I will recover and, anyway, imagine two FANTASTIC people on the same boat, that might have sounded a bit too ridiculous! The US Fantastic Four Marvel Comics Inc., one of my cousins' favourites when we were kids, might not have liked it, either. See if FANTASTIC MAN & FANTASTIC WOMAN had had two FANTASTIC KIDDIES, that would have been it; totally unfair competition to the super-heroic comics, not a good idea! However, and if I let my imagination go wild, I can easily fantasize a Hollywoodian blockbuster film based on the lifestyle of our FANTASTIC FOUR, showing us the private and public spheres of a refined family, posing in their Amsterdam, London, Paris and New York pieds-à-terre...

Oh, and also, I was a bit annoyed to see that any man interviewed for FANTASTIC MAN is referred to as Mr. FIRSTANDLASTNAMES , always capitalized in Times New Roman uppercase; whereas, the ladies are just named after their first names.
Melanie Ward is the first gentlewoman to be featured, with an interview by Cathy Horyn and beautiful pictures by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

That sounds a bit funny to me. But here again, they certainly wanted to change their system, and inject new ideas, new blood. I know, I know. They mean well, they probably just want it to sound more enigmatic, more intimate. And one last remark, if I may daresay, about the title, The Gentlewoman. It looks like it will be printed in extra bold, lower case Futura font, no capital letters, again for a change. I know the font is more 'forward-thinking' (as my dear husband, Marco, would say), compared to the extremely traditional, irrefutably classical Times New Roman font used for the gentlemen,of FANTASTIC MAN; so it might well be a change for the better.
Last but not least, WHY The Gentlewoman as a title? Finally, Marco, who knows everything and more in the field of graphic design and magazines, told me: "the title is most probably a reference to the stylish eponymous 1930s magazine, The Gentlewoman...The Home Magazine."
The Gentlewoman Magazine- December, 1930
A reader of the Gentlewoman magazine at home, in the 1930s.

I guess I will learn to like this title, I know I will. Will I like its content as much as I do for its male counterpart? Time will tell. For your information, the sample stories of issue n*0 of THE GENTLEWOMAN that were featured in FANTASTIC MAN'S 10th issue included a spread on cone bras...

...and an article about "the power of napping". Nice! I am a believer in the virtues of napping, not so much though in the cone bras' bombshell look; even if my addiction to the show Mad Men might incite me to wear some, one of these days, sooner or...later. I did enjoy most of that preview of the Gentlewoman's issue n*0. I have no doubt that the gentle ladies will feast on it.
The main actors of Mad Men, all styled like in the 1960s
To recapitulate, I was first baffled by this title; it sounded a bit too understated and homely to be truly gripping. But it's OK, this gentlewomanhood seems to have a plethora of twists and turns awaiting us in each of its pages. Gently but firmly poking our brain. I like this.
This being said, I love my FANTASTIC MAN, and I know he will not let his girlfriend down. THE GENTLEWOMAN will certainly again offer us journalism of the highest quality, compiled with original thoughts in its writing, photography and design. No offense taken, really!
And you know what? At the end of the day, I think the gentlewoman is a rather debonair title...Looking forward to the first issue!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marco Jacob, or the Art of the Trench according to the Sartorialist

Do you remember when Scott Schuman, a.k.a the Sartorialist, visited Toronto last July, 22nd (see post)? The next day, Marco met with Scott and was shot for the Art of the Trench Burberry Campaign.
Here is the result. Personally, and this is a totally biased point of view, of course, I love his focused look. This trench seems to be an inspiring one! I wish I could read the notes or see the sketches that were jetted down back then. Yes, a nice Sartoriale-with-a-twist look, cheered up by the red socks, and the 1970s Samsonite briefcase.
Leave a comment if you feel like, I am curious to read your impressions.
For your viewing pleasure, I suggest that you also take a stroll and browse through the complex mosaic of styles portrayed on the Art of the Trench website.
Looking good, baby!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mad about Madeleine...

Evening Coat, Summer 1936

It took me by surprise, the other day. Literally, out of the blue in a clear sky...BOOM! It struck me. It happened at the bookshop. I fell in love. Head over heels! Don't misunderstand me, the attraction had nothing to do with what I feel for my husband (NOOO!), but I knew it was meant to be. I was smitten with the beauty and novelty of it all. I frantically browsed, touched, and went through it all. I had to own it, to possess it...But the price to pay was quite high. I would find a way, no matter what. And I found a way. This morning I received it from the post, special delivery from Amazon. This book, Madeleine Vionnet, edited by Pamela Golbin and published by Rizzoli, is simply irresistible! An earthquake in my fashion world.
Few designers have the honour of being labelled the "Couturier of Couturiers", but the revolutionary Madeleine Vionnet was one of them.

Madeleine Vionnet founded her fashion house in Paris in 1912, on the rue de Rivoli. She later moved it to avenue Montaigne, but both are iconic Parisian addresses.

1922: A model wearing an outfit designed by Madeleine Vionnet including a pair of ornate gloves. Picture: GETTY

Vionnet's avant-gardism saw her inventing the bias cut, her greatest contribution to fashion design. Cutting patterns along the bias forces the fabric to cling to the body and move with it - a "trick" John Galliano champions today - creating Vionnet's trademark look of draped, form-conscious clothing that was sleek, flattering, and body-skim.

A model shows off a Vionnet dress in New York

"When a woman smiles, then her dress should smile too," revolutionary Parisian couturière Madeleine Vionnet once noted, eschewing corsets, padding, stiffening, and anything that distorted or artificially moulded a woman's natural curves - instead draping classic Greek-influenced designs that floated freely and flatteringly around the body. Dominating haute couture during the 1930s until her atelier was shuttered in 1939 with the onset of World War II, stars like Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo were frequently photographed in Vionnet's distinctive designs.

Dress, Winter 1921 (red crepe romain cut on the bias)- Dress, Summer 1920 (Handkerchief Dress)- Dress, Summer 1921 (red crepe romain)
Unlike her contemporaries, she favoured fabrics like crepe de chine, gabardine, silk chiffon, and satin - typically ordered a good two yards wider than was customary in order to accommodate her then-revolutionary draping on the bias.

Four-Handkerchief dress, Winter 1920
Famed for cowl necks, halter tops, and handkerchief hems, her timeless, architectural designs are as relevant today as when they first debuted; she was and is still worshipped by designers like Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Azzedine Alaia who once gushed, "Vionnet is the source of everything, the mother of us all," John Galliano ("Her tailoring has inspired generations of designers"), Karl Lagerfeld ("Everybody, whether he likes it or not, is under the influence of Vionnet"), Cristobal Balenciaga ("Madame Vionnet is my master"), and Christian Dior ("No one has ever carried the art of dressmaking further than Vionnet.").

A Madeleine Vionnet dress. Titled Bas Relief, 1931, by Vogue photographer George Hoyningen-Huene.

Along with a major retrospective at the Musee Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris (through January 31, 2010), Rizzoli has therefore published this equally fabulous new coffee-table tome edited by Pamela Golbin, the Curator in Chief at Les Arts Décoratifs.

In addition to an illustrated chronology of Vionnet's life and career, it includes never-before-seen photos and sketches, an unpublished manuscript about the house authored by Andre Beucler, and stunning images shot by celebrated photographers including Patrick Gries, Horst, Hoynegen-Huene, and Steichen (currently exhibited at the AGO, Toronto, until January 3rd, 2010).

Evening Dress and Cape, Summer 1935 (black tulle embroidered with rectangular mother-of-pearl sequins in bayadere stripes)- 'Les Liserons'(Bindweed)Dress, Winter 1918 (black satin crepe embroidered with multicolored silk flowers)
Detail of Evening Dress, Summer 1931 (Pink chiffon overlaid with black lace and chiffon in a geometrical pattern, belt of black velvet ribbon, buckle of amber resin)
MADELEINE VIONNET Edited by Pamela Golbin (Rizzoli New York, 2009) is available for order at
Evening Dress, Winter 1938

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From Russia, with Love...

Sergey Solovyev, Director of Anna Karenina, and Tatyana Drubich, lead actress of the film. Present at the media launch held at the Samovar Room.

Today, I attended the media launch for the 2nd KinoArt Russian Film Festival, which runs in Toronto from Thursday, November 5th, until Sunday, November 8th, 2009. I enjoyed it a lot as the whole team of the festival was very professional, efficient and welcoming. It was most interesting to get to talk with Alla Ani Poliakova, the Festival Coordinator, or with Ingrid Hamilton, the PR lady, or Vitaly Gurevich, or again with Maria Vorobieva, from Ethnic Channels, who was covering the event. Most of all, I had this very pleasant feeling of sharing in the Russian wit and sparkling spirit- NB:I was the only one not to speak Russian, I therefore solely relied on the translator's assistance which she graciously provided for my eyes only. Very nice of her! After the official launch, and the Q&A, the discussion went on around a wide selection of croissants, and other fancy viennoiseries, not to mention the cups of delicious Russian champagne. Now, if you think that good food and good wine could influence my already very positive impression of the upcoming festival, you would be totally... right!
This year's selection of feature films, of short or documentary films has been chosen with care and offers a large panel of choice in genres and subjects. We were told that after a successful launch in 2007, KinoArt Festival is back and this year brings with it the massive premiere of Anna Karenina along with legendary Russian director Sergey Solovyev and actress Tatyana Drubich. Solovyev’s version of the Leo Tolstoy’s epic love story will turn heads and provoke cinematic debate.

The shooting of Anna Karenina took place at Tolstoy's house at Yasnaya Polyana, today a museum which includes his library of 22,000 volumes
If you are like me, an enthusiastic reader of Russian classic literature, you won't miss the great opportunity to see the Russian film adaptations of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Gogol's Taras Bulba.
I must confess (Shame on Me!) that I haven't read Anna Karenina, even though I did read other Tolstoy's books such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich and The Cossacks; I characteristically never felt the urge to read this iconic novel ( the best in the world, according to Nabokov), I could put the blame on the fact that I knew the plot too well as often quoted or referred to in the time of my literature studies...But there is no excuse, really! It is now time to make amends and bridge this gap of ignorance. I will go and see Anna Karenina Canadian Premiere tomorrow at The Isabel Bader Theatre, and promised, I will start reading the book right afterwards.
It is a very good thing, indeed, that Russian directors restake claim to their classic literature with North American Premieres of both Anna Karenina and Taras Bulba (which I read, pffew!). Of course, Western filmmakers have had their turns, but I am very curious to discover new & more culturally-authentic versions of these classics.
Poster of the 1962 film, directed by J.Lee Thompson. Loosely based on Gogol's novella.

Making its debut in Toronto is Taras Bulba, directed by renowned director Vladimir Bortko it is based on the book by Nikolai Gogol (called “one of the 10 greatest books of all time” by Ernest Hemingway). Famously embraced by Hollywood as a starring vehicle for the late Yul Brynner, it’s an enduringly controversial story about Ukraine's Cossack warriors and their campaign to defend their lands from the advancing Polish armies. I will definitely go and see that one too!
Scene from Taras Bulba directed by Vladimir Bortko. The film is currently widely discussed and has raised many a controversy.In Russia there are fears that it will exacerbate historical disagreements with Ukraine...

I will also certainly not miss the documentary on Kino. I am looking forward to being introduced to the music of Svetlana's (a Russian friend of mine) favourite Perestroika Rock band! Viktor Tsoi was her idol at the time.
Viktor Tsoi
Don't miss the Opening Night tomorrow:
Anna Karenina, directed by Sergey Solovyev

Gala Opening Night Screening
Thursday November 5, 2009
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St., W.
Tickets available at the door night of screening:
$20, includes Reception following Screening
$10, for students/seniors

See you there!

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