Category Archives: Books

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Alice in Wonderland mania

The world has gone mad-hatter-wild for Alice in Wonderland.

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The highly anticipated film hit theatres on March 4, 2010, and the excitement is palpable. Fashion designers are dedicating collections, department stores their windows and the Four Seasons Hotel is even hosting mad hatter tea parties.

That’s right, the luxury hotel in its Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles locations are hosting Carroll and Burton inspired teatime. Menu items include Nutella and caramelized banana, raspberry jam and cream cheese pinwheels, cheddar and apple butter and desserts such as dark chocolate mousse with crunch toffee, almond cake, mini vanilla cup cakes and Alice’s special sugar cookies. Not bad!

The tea parties in Chicago take this one step further down the rabbit hole with Wonderland inspired activities, such as giant chess (the pieces are two feet tall), tea cup decorating and Red Queen’s croquet. And yes, the mallets will be traditional pink flamingos.

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On the other side of the world, Alice madness is equally present. Zoom in on Parisian department store Printemps, which has dedicated its display window to commissioned pieces by Chloé, Alexander McQueen and Nicholas Kirkwood.

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Kirkwood’s Alice heels are a chaotic representation of nonsensical absurdities that are on the other side of the looking glass. ”This time, I figured, why not just pile as much as I can on top?” Nicholas said. He did this, and he did this well.

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Maison Martin Margiela designed a spectacular creation, which emulates the idea of falling headfirst. How better to achieve this than by creating an upside down dress? Indeed, the skirt is a bustier and a chiffon veil begins at the waist and goes over the head. One of the sleeves mimics a crinoline made of whale-boned velvet, embroidered with pearls, crystals, and recycled jewels.

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None of these items are for sale.

Bergdorf Goodman has also decorated its windows à la Lewis Carroll and Bloomingdales is set to do so later this month.

-Elli Stuhler


Filed under Books, Fashion, Films, Food/Drink, Hotels

The future of reading

Normally when reading Jekyll and Hyde, you have to visualize the transformation from man to monster. Well, not anymore.

Alberto Hernandez wants bookworms to be as interactive as possible when reading a novel: visually as well as physically, adding as many elements to reading.

The ‘Hybrid Novel’, an experiment using The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original text, but its pages have been toyed with. Some double over, some cut in half and some are translucent.

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Hernandez adds in pictures, illustrations, old ads, info-graphs and typographic elements making the novel seem cryptic.

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Tear it, flip it, fold it, peel it, combine pictures together. Anyway you want to read it, he brings it to life.

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There’s even a section that’s made of reflective material. These pages allow the reader to contort or distort their face and play around with the visual so it’s just like Mac photo booth, but in real life.

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It seems like Mr. Hernandez is capitalizing on the notion that younger generations are having a hard time keeping their attention to one thing. So, his solution: make novels as interactive as possible.

Hernandez may have cracked the case on how to get more people reading and any admitted bookworm should be excited for this venture in fiction.

– Tim Morse

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Climb these Saucy Stairs

We grudgingly walk up and down them every single day in the hopes of burning a few extra calories. They get us from one level to the next in a relatively short distance. They’re typically mundane. Lets be honest, who gives stairs a second thought?

Well, architects do. They must think about the material, colour, shape and how much space the stairs take up. How will they attach to the wall? How much space will be between each step?

The following architects have been so innovative and imaginative with stairs, that we can’t help but wonder, why aren’t all stairs like these ones?


Hidden from view from the main reception room, this secret staircase doubles as a bookshelf. Designed by Tom Sloan at Levitate Architect, the staircase provides this Victorian apartment in London with some nifty storage space.


Floating box stairs designed by Guido Ciompi for The Gray Hotel in Milan.

These stairs lead up to the Longchamp store in New York. The 55-ton staircase took six months to build and looks like rolling strips of ribbon. The staircase was designed by Heatherwick Studio.

This staircase, designed by Roberto Semprini, was inspired by the natural shape and smoothness of river stones. The stairs are actually made out of polished concrete blocks. Unfortunately, these stairs don’t actually lead anywhere, they were on display in Milan to show that something as functional as stairs can be artwork as well.

This slide/staircase is fun for the whole family. London architect Alex Michaelis installed the slide next to the stairs at the request of his children and now he says, “We tend to have a lot of the kids’ friends around— they’re here perhaps more than at some of the other parents’ homes,” Michaelis said.

-Otiena Ellwand

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The Perfect Coffee Table Book

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John Galliano has continually produced memorable ready-to-wear couture shows during his time with Dior. His shows manage to go above and beyond just fashion, they are experiences, works of art. His talent has always been appreciated, and recently it was commemorated.

Which brings us to the purpose of this post, the perfect holiday gift.

Photographer Roxanne Lowit has released a new book entitled Backstage Dior, which is the perfect glimpse into the inner workings of some of Galliano’s most memorable shows for Dior. The book is a sensory overload, packed with colorful and glamourous candids.

Lowit has said, “[John] blends fashion and fantasy in a way that always leaves me breathless.”

We couldn’t agree more.

– Alexa P Gray

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Paperdoll Fashion Show

Do you have a fashion junkie on your Christmas shopping list?  Danielle Meder’s book of paper dolls may be the perfect gift you’ve been searching for.

You may have thought paper dolls couldn’t be fashionable past the age of seven, but Meder’s dolls are your average cutouts.

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Her book contains paper dolls and cutout clothing from Toronto’s LG Fashion Week.  Seventeen dolls, 15 designers, and 60 items of clothing accessories make for one fun little book.

Meder’s creation will allow the fashion lover to mix and match different outfits from different designers and re-live and re-love all their favourites from the Spring/Summer collections shown in Toronto just a few months ago.

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The book is available through Meder’s website, the final fashion blog.  She’s also running a contest to see who can create the best paperdoll outfit using her recreations.  The winner will receive a free book.

The book is cute, fun, and Meder’s artwork is detailed and delightful

-Emily English

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Alice in Paris

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Paris has always been a wonderland for fashion fanatics and soon it will be one à la Lewis Carroll. In honor of  the Alice in Wonderland story and the impending Burton film, Parisan department store Printemps has made a very special request, one-of-a-kind designer dresses for Alice herself.

Designers Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Maison Martin Margiela, among others who are as equally famous for their beautifully constructed garments, as they are notorious for thinking outside the box.

The dresses will be revealed in Printemps window displays in February which just so happens to coincide not only with the new films release, but also with Paris fashion week.

Coincidence? We think not.

-Alexa P Gray

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