From a lingerie lover to a denim devotee, we meet fashion’s most obsessed collectors

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Photography by Ania Bonieck and Tyler Stalman

Photography by Ania Boniecka and Tyler Stalman

After travelling the globe for seven years in search of a coveted Birkin to add to her 200-plus bag collection, Jenniffer Proskiw finally tracked one down in San Diego. “I went to boutiques in Paris, New York, Capri, Venice, Saint Maarten, St. Barth’s, Argentina—they all said no,” recalls the Calgary-based realtor. “I called the Hermès store in San Diego and the salesperson said, ‘If you can be here in person, I may have something.’ I know it sounds silly, but I was so excited to get my hands on one, I was shaking. When you open it up and smell that leather, when you see the handiwork—it’s something you want to look after and love.”

Fashion collectors like Proskiw—who obsessively collect a specific type of clothing or accessory—are a rare but growing breed. You probably know a shopping addict or two, but serious collectors are interested in more than the high a spree provides; a deeper passion fuels their spending. Many don’t even wear their purchases, instead displaying them like precious works of art.

Proskiw has built an entire closet and library in her new home around that premise. She plans to display her favourite handbags, including a Judith Leiber pearl- and crystal-encrusted peacock clutch that’s never left its dust bag and a Christian Dior evening bag that once belonged to Elizabeth Taylor (she woke up at 6 a.m. to bid on it the day Taylor’s estate was auctioned off at Christie’s in New York). Proskiw also collects eyewear—nearly 200 pairs, including prescription Dolce & Gabbana ski goggles.

Collectors Schiaparelli

Photography by Carlo Mendoza with styling by Christine Brant/Judy Inc

Statement-making pieces are precisely what inspire Carla Stitt’s collection of jewellery. Born in Montreal and based in Dallas, Stitt has been collecting since she was 15. Now 47, she has about 300 pieces. “I didn’t mean to start collecting. I was always into fashion, and the quickest way to update a wardrobe is through accessories,” she explains. “For me, clothing has always been the canvas—jewellery is the art.” When Stitt got engaged, her mother gave her $7,000 for a wedding dress, but she spent it on jewellery instead. “I was on my way to look at dresses when I popped into a jewellery store and spotted a $4,000 Konstantino bracelet that took my breath away,” she says. She ended up pairing the bracelet with a simple BCBG slip dress she found for $115—a decision she has never regretted.

What’s impressive about Stitt’s collection is its range—everything from $1 wood bangles to gold and ivory Noor Fares angel-wing earrings, vintage Chanel and gold-hammered architectural pieces by Hervé Van Der Straeten. And while she’ll occasionally shop on eBay or at auction, Stitt acquires most of her pieces by happenstance, often while travelling. Once, during a layover in Tarapur, India, she flagged down a cab after deplaning and headed straight to the local market. “I paid 30 rupees [around 50 cents] for an incredible ring made from lilac stone. It was massive, but I loved the ornate quality of metal,” she says wistfully.

New York-based Jennifer Zuccarini of Fleur du Mal, a line of lingerie and ready-to-wear, travels a dozen times a year to cities like Paris, L.A., London and Palm Springs. “Usually my first priority is getting to a vintage store or flea market,” she says. Zuccarini, the former design director at Victoria’s Secret and co-founder of Kiki de Montparnasse, collects vintage lingerie. The 38-year-old designer owns about 50 pieces; her favourites include a pair of high-waisted striped panties with fringe (“I’m sure it was a costume”), a ’20s beaded slip from a London flea market and a white lace YSL caftan found on eBay. “If you’re a vintage collector, you love the hunt,” says Zuccarini, who grew up in Toronto and shopped Queen Street’s Black Market as a teen. “When you find something that’s been personalized, like someone’s name embroidered—that is special.”

Collectors Lingerie

Photography by Carlo Mendoza with styling by Christine Brant/Judy Inc

Faith Orfus, co-owner of Toronto’s Rac Boutique, recalls shopping vintage at 12 years old. “My sister took me to Kensington Market and I bought a pair of used Levi’s,” she says. That fuelled a full-on denim habit, with a collection of jeans (around 30 pairs), jackets, vests, shirts, overalls and skirts. For Orfus, collecting is more about curating than just accumulating. Like an art collector, she’s only interested in the few pieces she deems worthy of a place in her collection. “It’s an instinct,” she says. “I can tell right away if it resonates with me.” Her favourite example is a no-name Western-style shirt with pearlized buttons that she discovered in a vintage shop 20 years ago. Dubbed her lucky denim shirt, it has been all over the world with her.

Other collectors become enamoured with a particular label. Toronto-based Shirley Hanick boasts one of North America’s largest collections of Elsa Schiaparelli memorabilia. It was during a 1991 trip to the Miami Beach Antique Show that she spotted the perfume bottle that would change her life. “It was very Surrealist,” Hanick, 66, recalls of the mannequin-shaped bottle capped with flowers in place of a head. “I had no idea who this Schiaparelli person was, but the dazzle of shocking pink boxes and beautiful glass flowers atop the crystal bottles was almost as stunning as my first gaze at the Venus de Milo.” Hanick quickly became known as “the Schiap lady,” and by 1996, she was giving lectures at conventions.

Over the past 20-plus years, Hanick has acquired nearly 1,000 pieces by the famed designer, from perfume bottles and lipsticks to jewellery, bags and scarves, as well as a hand-written note from Schiaparelli herself. Her home is gallery-like, with many items housed in glass cabinets. “Schiaparelli had passion. She was constantly reinventing herself,” Hanick says. “She’s a great inspiration to me.”

For most collectors, it’s the chase that’s most exciting. “The more obscure, the more covetable [it is] to me,” says Orfus. Stitt recalls the time a freak ice storm in Dallas made it impossible for her to attend an auction to bid on a pair of antique cameo earrings she had been lusting after. “Cars were sliding into each other,” she says. She placed her bid over the phone and hired a car to have them delivered to her—a trek that took two hours. “It has nothing to do with worth,” she adds. “Once I get it into my head that I want something, I’ll do whatever it takes to get it.” 


Hello, Canada! Etsy’s taking homegrown vendors on a 10-day roadtrip

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Etsy Roadtrip

Calling all Etsy ethusiasts, this one’s for you! Etsy is taking its online marketplace to the streets this summer, travelling across the country in a 30-foot Etsy-fied AirStream complete with merch from some of Canada’s best homegrown vendors. #EtsyRoadTrip will be making its way through four cities for a 10-day trip starting tomorrow, kicking off in Montreal.

Etsy hopes to bring the the well-loved site to life (translation: balloons, gingham and all sorts of handmade goodies a’plenty). Canadian personalities like MTV Fora’s Dani Reynolds, and bloggers FashionIsEverywhere’s Lolitta Dandoy, Sidewalk Hustle’s Hawley Dunbar and our very own Style Panel member Krystin Lee of Suburban Faux Pas will also be there mingling with guests in local pitstops.

The Etsy Roadtrip runs August 1-9, 2014 with stops at Montreal’s Olypmic Park (August 1-2), Ottawa’s Lebreton Flats (August 4), Kingston’s City Park (August 5) Toronto’s King St. W. and Brant St. (August 8) and Distillery District (August 9). For more information, visit etsyroadtrip.tumblr.com.


Not just for selfies: Instagram ad campaigns are taking over the fashion world

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daria-equipment

Photography by Daria Werbowy for Equipment

See the best Instagram ad campaigns »

You cannot deny the fact that fashion and Instagram are a match made in heaven (honestly, what did we even do before the photo-sharing app?). It’s hard to believe that in just a few years Instagram has gone from a platform for designer houses to tease their ad campaigns (all hail Oscar de la Renta/OscarPRGirl) to a space for open casting calls for aspiring models all around the world, as well as a place for brands to seriously hype us up with upcoming collaboration news (like H&M x Alexander Wang). With designer brands and magazines sharing insider scoop, ad campaigns and magazine covers launching on Instagram and of course, us fashion diehards on our phones 24/7, Instagram has quickly become an integral part of a fashion campaign. While it’s getting harder and harder to stand out from the sea of designer labels, there are some cases where a design house stumbles upon a stroke of social media genius and ups the ante on the Instagram fashion game, blowing us all away. Read more »


Your plus size guide to festival style: 3 looks with minimal cost, maximum appeal

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Plus Size Festival Style

While festival season continues through October, the last major stop on a music lover’s summer travel list will be Osheaga, the three-day music and arts jam hitting Montreal this weekend. And while the flower child meets-rock star girlfriend dress code has been set, we’re raising the bar on festival style with this plus size guide courtesy of our resident expert, Mo Handahu and her favourite source for all things unique: Value Village.

A haven for oversized, DIYable summer-ready pieces, Value Village, especially the men’s section, is a haven for festival style staples. With a little patience, you’ll find crop tops, knit vests, vintage tees and retro wash denim ready to be distressed.

To inspire you to hit the thrifting aisles, here are three looks that are street style ready for the festival circuit.
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FASHION Magazine September 2014 cover: Lana Del Rey

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Fashion Magazine September 2014 Lana Del Rey

photographed by chris nicholls and styled by george antonopoulos, lana del rey wears a cape, $3,620, blumarine. sweater, $200, line knitwear. hair, marc ramos for oribe. makeup, pamela cochrane for bridge/chanel. fashion assistant, eliza grossman.

See our guide to Lana Del Rey style »

Photographed on location at Toronto’s famous Casa Loma property, Lana Del Rey graces the cover of FASHION‘s September issue. Surrounded by the beauty of the Gothic Revival-designed estate, the 28-year-old singer-songwriter chatted with features editor, Elio Iannacci, on the agony and the ecstasy associated with her Billboard topping disc, Ultraviolence. Here’s a peek at Del Rey’s beguiling cover story—which hits newsstands on August 11, 2014.

Enter to win one of 5 Lana Del Rey prizepacks »
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What’s in your bike basket, Lorenzo Martone?

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Lorenzo Martone

Photography by Hannah Sider

See Lorenzo Martone’s bike basket »

Move over 2.55, the new It accessory is the designer bike. Enter Martone Cycling Co., a collection of super sleek, fashion-driven bikes and accoutrements popping up outside The Room at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto through August 10. Vibrantly-hued, made of steel alloy and aluminum, and with with pretty much all the bells and whistles you could imagine, the bikes are pretty much up there with Chanel snowboards on our “sporty things to covet” wish lists. For this special edition of “What’s in your Bag,” we caught up with the brand’s babely founder, Lorenzo Martone, for a tour of his studio and to see what he carries with him while riding the streets of NYC.


How to wear silk: 8 Style Panel tips, pit stains not included

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how to wear silk style panel

Thanks to its light, airy and breathable nature, silk is one of summer’s definitive go-tos. Especially with this season’s array of crop tops, off-the-shoulder ruffles and flowing midi skirts, the fabric is more popular than ever. And when hot summer days call for stylish wear while keeping us cool, incorporating silk into your outfit is a no brainer. However, while it may be the ideal fabric to wear during the warm season, it’s no easy feat to master the skill in silk dressing without a) looking like you’re ready to hit the sack, b) avoid its static-cling properties and c) leave traces of sweat in unflattering places. But before you swear it off completely, this week Style Panel is helping us take the guesswork out of styling this summer favourite. You know, just in case you can’t figure out how to wear silk without showing your pit stains to the world.

Whether they are dressing it up with heels or dressing it down with Birks, the ladies of Style Panel agree that silk makes for an ideal addition to any summer look. Our newest member Eleni McMullin of Convey The Moment sees the true versatility of the fabric, noting how she loves to dress her floral faux silk pants up for the night and down for the day. Loving silk for its easy-breezy ways, With A City Dream‘s Emma Walker and Velvet & Vino‘s Becky Kung both show how a silk jumpsuit can easily up the glam factor for a night out. And if you think teaming a jacket in the summer raises eyebrows, think again. Melanie Morais of Born Lippy proves that wearing a jacket in the summer (especially for those cool nights) is totally doable when its silk and breathe-easy.

Question 106: How do you wear silk? Read the answers now!»

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The best in emoji fashion: 9 ways to show your love for the smiling poop

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Emoji Fashion

Check out our favourite emoji fashion here »

While they may have started out as a fun way to text your friends, emojis are quickly taking over the world. From Demi Lovato’s love for the poop emoji, to theming one of November’s Victoria Secret Fashion Show runway looks, emoji fever has taken hold. Need more proof? Emojis have now reached The New York Times, with the lauded daily releasing an “Are you fluent in emoji?” quiz earlier this week. The fashion industry increasingly makes it easier to wear our emoti(c)ons and since we’re totally *heart eye emoji* with the cute little icons, we’ve rounded up some of our faves.
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