Fashions displayed in “Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics” at the Design Exchange. Photos courtesy of Design Exchange.
TO JANUARY 25 It’s universally acknowledged that the clothes we wear, in addition to being purely functional, offer insight into our personal identity. More broadly, fashion trends can also be a reflection of social mores and political values. This season at the Design Exchange, guest curator Jeanne Beker peeks into the wardrobes of iconic fashion designers and pulls out pieces that have made important political statements over the past 50 years. The striking garments—ranging from disposable paper dresses with portraits of Bobby Kennedy and Pierre Trudeau to androgynous designs by Montreal’s Rad Hourani to the famous identity-subsuming masks of Maison Martin Margiela—lend both style and substance to longstanding ethical debates, gender issues, anti-war activism and more. —Craig Moy
• Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., 416-363-6121; dx.org
• Map and reviews
Flanked by charming character homes and stately elm trees, Academy Road is as distinguished as its namesake, St. Mary’s Academy for girls, which still anchors the east end of the strip today. Begin your sun-dappled stroll just before Beaverbrook Street at Sue’s Fashions, where you can snap up a coveted pair of curve-flaunting Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. Fashionistas will go mad for the colourful collection of dresses (pictured) just down the street at trendy Mad About Style. Rustic whimsy is what you’ll find at Lake Life, just a short walk east. Pick up a serene gel firepot for the deck before heading to cottage country. Treat your feet next door at European Shoe Shop. Everything from utilitarian Birkenstocks to sky-high Stuart Weitzman stilettos can be found in this well-edited store. Those in pursuit of one-of-a-kind fashion finds must check out Redeemed. This consignment boutique’s best kept secret is its quirky shoe collection.
Personal shoppers at Topshop pull chic clothes to suit your style
Want to be on-trend but don’t know where to start? Make a free appointment with Topshop’s personal shoppers in The Bay downtown. After an interview to find out your fashion goals, they’ll pull together an array of head-to-toe outfits in your size for you to try on. The shoppers know all the fashion gems hidden in the 3,700 sq m (40,000 sq ft) of floor space—the second-largest Topshop in the world—and they’re ready to share their sartorial secrets.—Sheri Radford
By Phil Birnbaum
There's nothing like the bespoke pieces and hard-to-find labels that boutiques offer. From beautiful pieces for your home, or curated fashions, boutiques offer a unique shopping experience. Enjoy this slideshow of ten boutiques we love across Quebec. (more…)
Selections from Banana Republic’s fall line
Banana Republic enters the world of lights, camera, action in its first-ever film-inspired collection, styled and curated by the costume designer of Keira Knightley’s new film, Anna Karenina, in theatres Nov. 16. Rich colours channel the romance of 19th-century Russia, while the accessible price point banishes any heartache.—Jennifer Patterson
James Bond Seamaster Planet Ocean watch. Photo courtesy OMEGA
Look as dapper as 007 himself by donning the limited-edition James Bond Seamaster Planet Ocean watch (pictured). With only 5,007 of these tickers available worldwide, you’ll want to hold your martini order and hurry to OMEGA so you can emulate Daniel Craig in the latest Bond installment, Skyfall, in theatres Nov. 9. Now all you need is an Aston Martin and a moonraker laser.—Kristina Urquhart
BCBG Max Azria’s fall collection is the perfect fit for the season
One of this season’s greatest sartorial pleasures is trading flip-flops and short shorts for more sophisticated clothing in rich, harvest-inspired hues and lush fabrics. BCBG Max Azria’s fall 2012 runway collection features these luxuries in spades — camel, burgundy, chartreuse, and black are presented in bold, geometric patterns on flowy, 70s-inspired dresses and pants. Topped with a trench or a leather bomber (or fur, which was everywhere at BCBG’s runway show), the look (at right, $562) will take you through the cooler weather in style.
Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St., 613-288-2874, www.rideaucentre.com.
CBC Radio-Canada satchel
The CBC’s mobile reporting bag harkens back to that bygone era when reporters pounded the pavement for a scoop, news arrived over the wire and everyone was known as Sport, Ace or Sweetheart. Channel this time in Canadian history with your own canvas satchel, available at www.cbcshop.ca.—Jennifer Patterson
Fashionistas frequent local store Plenty
Locals love Plenty, a homegrown boutique filled with hip, covetable clothes. The racks are curated with a sharp eye, from in-house designs to fashion-forward international picks. The flagship store in Kitsilano opened back in 1989; now, 23 years later, there’s still plenty of style to go around. The online store just launched, so get shopping (or clicking) and support this Vancouver success story.—Karina Palmitesta
Cross-stitched floral watch by May28th
There’s no time like the present to trade in your ol’ run-of-the-mill timepiece for something more youthful and electric, such as a watch by May28th. All about animals? Purchase a ticker with a cute bear, owl or deer on the face. Focused on fashion? Try one with a close-up image of denim, wool knit or rainbow threads. Cuckoo for crafts? A cross-stitched floral (pictured) should be right up your alley. Buy online at www.may28th.me to support this joint Malaysian and Canadian company.—Jennifer Patterson
The AW by Andrea Wong Traditional Mexican Blanket Tote is perfect to take to any of Vancouver's sandy beaches
If the hunt is on for a chic carryall to lug around your surplus of summer essentials (sunscreen, camera, book—well, you get the picture), then consider your search over: the AW by Andrea Wong Traditional Mexican Blanket Tote (pictured) has it all. Each eye-catcher pops with colourful stripes, a blue suede circular bottom and soft leather straps; the interior comes lined with painter’s canvas and offers two pockets. Haul yourself down to One of a Few and Much&Little, or shop online at www.awbyandreawong.com.—Jennifer Patterson