|Canadian Fashion gets Serious|
|Daria Werbowy on Fashion's October 2013 issue|
According to my long-suffering cousins, the Canadians are a misunderstood bunch. Popular myths beyond the border involve igloo housing, lesser technology and the assumption that everyone speaks French (when the French-speaking population is mostly found in Quebec).
Let's just say the last thing I expected from my recent visit was intelligent, intriguing fashion and beauty journalism from a Canadian perspective.
Here's a few eye-brow raising facts I learned about Canada from its best-selling women's' magazine Fashion (October 2013), starring none other than Ukrainian-Canadian super Daria Werbowy.
7 Curiously Canadian Fashion Facts
At nearly 10 square kilometres (the second largest country in the world), the existence of only 5 Louis Vuitton boutiques feels a bit mean. Besides high-end department stores like Holt Renfrew, Gravity Pope (the go-to for footwear), the rest are independent boutiques scattered across trendy districts in Montreal, Toronoto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, stocked with top international and local designers.
2. They're obsessed with all things British
"Maybe it's the class system, the stiff upper lip or the Queen, but something about the Brits makes them born to rebel."
While I don't completely agree with all of the above, there's little doubt of 'The British Invasion' in Canada. It was surprising to see the extent of it - from short hair ("British girls are more adventurous"), mod (Agyness Deyn's Dr Martens collab), punk, handbags (the Mulberry Bayswater finally arrives!), British models (Stella Tennant to Edie Campbell) and promising talents like Jean-Pierre Braganza.
3. But they put a Canadian twist on it obviously
For example, London-based designers Jean-Pierre Braganza and Erdem were both born in Canada (in Toronto and Montreal respectively).
4. Canada's Got Talent
Discovering Melissa Araujo (see dress below) was a weak-in-the-knees moment for me. Minimalist, interchangeable and affordable, her pieces offer serious wardrobe ROI. A selection of her designs are available to purchase on her website, which also showcases her brilliant fashion illustrations
|Look#37 from Melissa Araju's 'Linear' collection|
The magazine's 'Top Coats' Canadian outerwear special is also noteworthy, not least since freezing winters can drop below -40°. Serbian born, Toronto-based designer Bojana Sentaler Nikolic (of Sentaler) and her luxuriously tailored 40s wartime-inspired coats win my vote.
5. Kick-ass Ads (starring fashion bloggers)
|Christina Caradona's ad for Tampax Radiant|
This also exemplifies the growing trend of bloggers becoming public print and TV faces of major brands.
6. Vichy is Canada's no. 1 skincare brand
Who knew? Known for its French thermal spring water formulations (sourced from the town Vichy) and diverse targeted skincare lines, mid-priced Vichy comes up on top. Available in the UK from Boots.
7. Danier Leather
|Danier Bucket Tote|
Image credits from top: art8amby.wordpress.com, catwalking.com, melissaaraujo.com, stocklandmartelblog.com, danier.com