Jan 31, 2010

Jan 28, 2010

Design Lover - Achille Castiglioni Primate Stool

Primate by Achille Castiglioni - lower right

I first saw the Castiglioni Primate kneeling stool (Zanotta) about a month ago at Vancouver vintage furnishings store Metropolitan Home. The stool was designed by Achille Castiglioni for his wife so she could kneel down while working and not hurt her back. As someone who prefers the floor or a stool to a chair the Primate kneeling stool has made its way to my personal list of must haves. For specs visit Unica Home.

** Visit Brillante Home for a color pic and a tour of Castiglioni's studio.

Achille Castiglioni Primate Stool

Tip of the Week - Travel

Always wrap your jackets and suits in plastic (left over wrap from the dry cleaner) or acid free tissue before you pack them - it helps to avoid creases.

Vintage Kimberly


Jan 27, 2010

Quote of the Week - Ivan Panin

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.

Jan 26, 2010

Which fabrics travel best?

When you're building a wardrobe - either a men's or a women's - keep in mind that one day you may need to stuff that stuff in a suitcase.

Crepe wool has a pebbly surface. It's my personal favourite but some find it too casual.

  • lightweight crepe or worsted wool - a dark wool suit or dress in a soft cut doesn't wrinkle, camouflages stains and is comfortable. The suit trousers can be worn with a less formal shirt for Happy Hour and switching accessories can bring the dress from a.m. into p.m. Don't mix and match your wool textures.
  • cashmere - wear it on the plane as it wrinkles in luggage. Wrinkles fall out of high quality cashmere by hanging the garment in a steamy washroom. Be careful with sweaters as you don't want the hangers leaving bumps in the shoulders. Try hanging them with a pant hanger upside down instead. I bring my travel steamer with me everywhere - invest in a good quality one - they're available at retail supply stores (in Vancouver try Eddie's). Read my post on the Defamation of Cashmere so you know you're bringing the right cashmere.
  • knit tie - go for a black knit as it goes with everything, doesn't wrinkle and hides most stains.
  • hose - ladies, you never know. Better safe than sorry.

  • loafers or slip-ons - black ones go with everything and can work as casual or business depending on what you wear them with. Ladies, I'd do a black closed toe kitten heel. Remember to keep them polished. Check my Learn Video on the lower left side for a demo or click here.
Know how to deal with those last minute wardrobe malfunctions by reading my post 10 Household Items to Use on Last Minute Wardrobe Malfunctions.

Inspired by Paris Fashion Week - Shopping Vancouver's Vintage Market

Last week was men's fashion week in Paris. Claire at Harbourmaster (Melbourne), Dana at It's my Darlin' (Seattle) and myself (Vancouver) decided to do a last minute what's going on in our city during Paris fashion week post. Go check out Claire's post for an Australian perspective and Dana's for an American.

Sure, I'm not living in Paris but I do find inspiration in a few places in Vancouver.

I like to pop by the Vancouver Flea Market from time to time to see what's going on. My one complaint is that it's really dirty there. Most of the vendors do a good job with their merchandising and product presentation but those that don't - eck. Bring hand wipes. There's a good selection of 70s kitsch to be found - bring cash and barter.

The flea market is only open on Saturday and Sunday and don't park in the field across the street you'll get towed - like I did.

The best selection of vintage furniture is not in Vancouver, it's in New Westminster - about a 20 minute drive from downtown. There's a block of little shops down on Front St. that are a design hunter's dream. Jenny Cashin's shop, mid-century modern home has the best service, quality, selection, and inspiring staging of mid century I've experienced in my travels. I'm not a full on mid century fanatic, I simply appreciate good design and good grains and Jenny's not a design elitist, she'll gladly share her knowledge. You will not find a better selection in the Lower Mainland than at mid century modern home (609 Front St. New Westminster, 604.515.1865).

To be honest - I find my fashion inspiration in my head at Third Beach - not actually on the beach but in the grassy knoll above it. I've spent 100s possibly 1000s of hours there in the last decade visualizing inspiration for my vintage shows, creating the blueprint for a men's wear label, and simply thinking about the history of fashion and design. It's a magical space with a powerful energy and a scent all of its own.

I went there today in the rain and was inspired to find new inspiration by what is already in my closet. I went home, emptied the clothes out (what's left of them) and put them on my dress form. It felt good - I hadn't played dress up in awhile.

Moral of the story - when you're stuck for inspiration look inside yourself and see what wants to come out.

Nothing smells better than this.

Jan 25, 2010

How to Decorate a 1970s Room

My favourite? Probably the chrome lighting, slate wall, stainless steel table - and yes, the green shag carpeting (although I would prefer a deep as deep can be area rug).

Jan 21, 2010

Tip of the Week - Footwear

Don't wear the same shoes two days in a row. We lose a 1/2 pint of water through our feet daily. Leather needs at least 24 hrs. to dry out.

Vintage Léonard


Jan 20, 2010

Quote of the Week - Goethe

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.

4 Stylish Reasons to Go to Paris Tomorrow

As if you'd need a reason at all.

Talk about four days of style spotting. To which address was my ticket sent?

Paris Déco...Off January 21 - 25
Parisian showrooms of top interior design companies will be open to visitors for the first time.

Paris Men's Fashion Week January 21 - 24

Click here to view the full schedule at Bijou Living on Facebook
via MIL on Facebook

Les Puces de Paris - Saint-Ouen
The Paris Flea Market

Madeleine Vionnet, Puriste de la mode
The last ten days of the Vionnet exhibit at Les Art Décoratifs.

While you're there why not make, 'We'll always have Paris' really mean something to you.

Architectural Salvage - Marble

You may remember me speaking of a slab of marble in the comment section of Top 5 Design Pieces I'm Extremely Bored of back in October. Well, yesterday I decided that if it was still there I was going to buy it (Craigslist was good to me last weekend). Yipeekiyay it was still there - but alas it had a sold sticker on it. Apparently, someone purchased it in November but hasn't picked it up yet as they've 'lost' their receipt. Sounds a little fishy to me. I offered to buy it and take it right then. No go. There was a new guy working there and things had suddenly become extremely expensive. Which would explain why they were overstocked.

One of my pet peeves is when you're at a second hand place or demolition sale and they say, 'Well, that sells for X amount new so...'.

The one that got away.
approx. 8' x 3' $250

They also had this piece which I thought would be good for a shelf up against my back wall.

I wanted to put the slab on top of some, preferably old, saw horses. My Dad had a great pair with paint splatters, nails and gouges on them that would have been perfect.

Check out my new page - Bijou Living Space.

Jan 18, 2010

Style Inspiration - James Coburn

in the sidecar
via motozania

Defamation of Character - Cashmere

Think about this, it takes the cashmere of three to six goats to make a single women's sweater.

A conversation with Daniel rekindled an issue I had been getting worked up about years ago - cashmere and its lowered image in the marketplace. A few autumns back I was caught unexpectedly downtown without a jacket. Needless to say I went straight to a specialty 'cashmere' boutique nearby as I wanted the thinnest yet warmest sweater I could find. Let's say I'm familiar with cashmere but not an expert. I also have a few vintage Scotish cashmere pieces that are at least forty years old and are still like new. Considering cashmere as an investment piece, I confidently forked out over $300 for my new pullover sweater - by the end of the evening it was completely pilled on each side. Furious? Yes.

Please understand this and pass it on -> REAL/PURE cashmere rarely pills and if it does it definitely doesn't happen in four hours. I went back to the shop first thing in the morning with my $300 rag. Guess what? No returns, no exchanges and no credit notes. Basically it was, 'That's your piece of crap now, enjoy.' One of my qualities I have to work on is keeping my cool.

Back to my opening thought - if it takes three to six goats to make a single women's sweater why are they $49.99 at 'select' retailers?

Don't support this abomination. Be an educated consumer and don't get ripped off - for the sake of the goats.

To educate yourself please read these FAQs from the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers' Institute and pass it on.

Jan 14, 2010

Quote of the Week - Albert Camus

But what is happiness except the simple harmony of a man and the life he leads?

Jan 13, 2010


Bragging --> Bijou Living got a wicked review on Dana Landon's It's My Darlin - Seattle Street Style.

Go and dig around on It's My Darlin and get inspired. I love Seattle particularly Capitol Hill. There is some serious fashion inspiration there. Dana has an eye for what Seattle truly is - and no it's not all grunge.

Get your butt to the Pacific Northwest will ya!

Oh, and if you hung out with us on Facebook you'd already know this - yet another reason to get on board. www.facebook.com/bijouliving

Paint It Black

I wanna see it painted black, painted black
Black as night, black as coal

...but I don't think I'd get my damage deposit back.

Jan 12, 2010

Best Summer Suits for Men

Don't use the heat as an excuse to look like a schlump
remember the words of Hardy Amies,
'Never wear shorts except at water's edge.'

There are many options available to you for summer business formal that won't leave you looking like Mr. Roarke - although he did look wonderfully marvelous didn't he.

  • A monochromatic look not only makes you look slimmer visually it makes you cooler mentally.
  • Don't think you can pull off a solid white or cream colored suit without feeling like Colonel Sanders? Try light gray - everyone looks good in gray.
  • Feel like you're on safari in a tan suit? Stick with black in a light weight fabric.
  • Seersucker too Barber Shop Quartet? Try a Pin Stripe, Herringbone, Houndstooth or Prince of Wales Check.

  • For a change, try a light color tie on a light color shirt.
  • If you can go without a tie in the summer keep your shirt collar in your jacket. A spread collar is very 70s and not in a good way.

  • Loafers are shown all over for Spring Summer 2010 for a refresher check my post on loafers.
  • Suede and buck are the perfect alternative between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • Keep those handmade Italian leather sandals in your bag for the ride home not the office.

Suitable Summer Suit Fabrics:

Poplin - a sturdy fabric that was originally made from silk, poplin can know be found in cotton, wool, silk or rayon. Burberry uses a lot of poplin (think of the feel of their trench coat).

- stay away from low grade low ounce linen. You'll look like you slept in your suit by the time you get out of your car. 11-13 ounce linen will drape better and not be as wrinkly.

Wool crepe - a crepe under 11 ounces is pretty much approachable nine months of the year. Every time I see my seamstress she says to me, in her heavy Eastern European accent, 'Listen to me, get 99% wool, 1% lycra. I do this for 40 years I know what I'm talking about.' The word lycra, like the word spandex, creeps me out but I better listen to her or else.

Seersucker - Personally, I'm not a fan of the seersucker suit as it reminds me of a candy striper uniform. A seersucker sport coat paired with some high grade linen trousers or seersucker trousers paired with a linen shirt sits a little better with me.

Try tone on tone shirt and tie for a change. Of course you won't be wearing combat boots or espadrilles.

Casual day? Leave the tie at home.

Don't think you can pull off a solid white or cream suit? Try gray - everyone looks good in gray. Of course you'll have your shirt buttoned up during working hours.

Don't fear pattern. Glen check/Prince of Wales Check is a great print for summer.

Remember you are what makes your style unique. Be comfortable, confident and cool.

Vintage Lanvin

Jeanne Lanvin

Jan 11, 2010

The Curse of Casual Friday

This is the post where your jaw drops and you call me 'old fashioned'.

I don't like casual days. I find them unprofessional. However, I'm also the one that doesn't like bare legs in the workplace.

At my first middle management job I came face to face with the curse of casual day. I was able to avoid the first few by playing dumb but my charade wouldn't last for long - my team was on to me. So, being the 'approachable' boss, I gave in. What was the problem? Well, you see, I have two wardrobes - my corporate costume and my real wardrobe. Let's just say the real wardrobe consists of lots of vintage and lots of black.

Ever have an unexpected emergency meeting pop up on casual day? Sure, I was wearing black denim, a silk t-shirt and a black blazer but I felt like a tool sitting down with the big wigs in their suits. Lesson learned.

Casual day attire for men in my books:
no tie

For women:

* Mr. Louisiana photo a fabulous gift from Could it be Madness-this?

Jan 10, 2010

6 Mens Boots

Wings and Horns (by Dayton)

Fiorentini + Baker


John Varvatos


Fiorentini + Baker
and his own boots are Kodiak

I had a brief two hour rendezvous this weekend and I'm not about wasting time. Many who know me are smirking as they read this - I know how to shop - I'm out as fast as I'm in. Needless to say, he and I got down to business lickity split. Shopping is too often a big waste of time unless you know exactly what you're looking for and where to find it. We went straight to Gravity Pope on 4th - which has the top selection of cool men's and women's boots in Vancouver - as well as the coolest women's clothes (along with Misch). Their one downfall - they run out of sizes quickly. Make a friend there.

You ask, 'Stacy, with such a big selection why did he only try these brands?' Because they were right in front of me when we walked in and he liked them (and I didn't want to get busted taking pictures in the shop). I could've spent our whole two hours there but after all it was a rendezvous and I did want some 'quality time'. I also recommend you try the NDC, MOMA, trippen, cydwoq, Adams and Gravity Pope, their in house label. The winner? John Varvatos side zip boot.

The Satanic Majesty's Request