Interview: Atelier Mimii

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Originally published by Novella Magazine

Paris-based fashion brand Atelier Mimii prides itself on its luxuriously handmade garments. Each unique piece “represents a presence” of its own with “an explosion of colour and movement.” The brand’s designer is of little words, choosing instead that the clothes speak for themselves through the embroidery, manipulation of fabric and bold designs. It is our pleasure to introduce you to Mimii as she introduces her latest collection, Pluralism. 

Isabel Mundigo-Moore: You say that you have ‘something’ to say about the current state of the fashion industry. What is that ‘something’?

Atelier Mimii: We want to give value to the clothes we envision, as for us, it is a second skin that we wish will live an eternity.

IMM: Why is it important that to you that people understand the ‘handmade’ aspect of your clothing?

AM: Mimii’s philosophy is focused on handmade pieces of clothing, on its uniqueness and differentiation.

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IMM: Where did the inspiration for your latest collection, Pluralism, come from and what is the significance of it being called so?

AM: As said by the dictionary Pluralism is defined as: ‘a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist.’ The collection embodies a coexistence of references that have been worked on to convert thus ideas onto a second skin.  

IMM: How do you source your fabrics? 

AM: From all around the world.

IMM: Can you describe the design process for Pluralism?

AM: It all began with a square, a triangle and a circle.

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IMM:You seem to play with every aspect of clothing– colour, fabric, shape, textures–yet, still find a unique aesthetic. How do you balance them all?

AM: At Mimii everything goes.

IMM: How does Paris as a city interact with your clothing?

AM: Living in an open-minded city, the interaction occurs naturally.

IMM:Where do you seek inspiration and how do you organize it?

AM: It comes from painters.

IMM: Who wears Mimii? Who is the Mimii “woman”?

AM: A woman who wants to wear her mind on her skin.

IMM: What is style to you?

AM: A mind on the skin.

IMM: What are your favourite places in Paris?

AM: Museums, galleries, coffee bars and in any park where my dogs can run.

IMM: What is your daily routine?

AM: To work, work, work, and work.

IMM: As a brand, what are your future goals for Mimii?

AM: For people to become aware of the brand and feel special when wearing Mimii.

IMM: As an artist, what are your future goals for Mimii?

AM: As an artist, I have never thought of a future goal. I simply work and express a colourful point of view through Mimii.

Shop Shoppers Like It’s A Parsian Pharmacie

Originally published by Novella Magazine

Oh the Parisian pharmacie. The one secret that Parisiennes willingly admit about their infamously effortless beauty routines. The devotion that Parisians have to the pharmacie is generations deep, faithfully maintaining beauty secrets from parents and grandparents. Because really, an effortless beauty routine means investing in your skin and haircare regimes; simply, invest in the fundamentals. Recent Shoppers renovations (fancy ones!) have made ample shelf space for a wide range of French products. Look closely, and for these right products, and you could stock your cabinet like Jeanne Damas, Garance Doré, and Caroline de Maigret.

BIODERMA SENSIBIO H20 MICELLE SOLUTION

This make up remover is just wonderful. It does not sting the eyes, it has zero scent, and is not irritating on sensitive skin. And it does the job very well. It removes make up without excessive elbow grease, while also removing dirt and pollution from walking around the streets of Paris, erm…Toronto. I meant Toronto.

LA ROCHE-POSAY TOLERAINE RICHE MOISTURIZER

A good, daily moisturizer is the key to your skin routine, especially during the dry winter months. This is good for at night use because of the shea butter, something to repair the skin after a long day.

LANCÔME HYPNOSE MASCARA

In How To Be Parisian Wherever You AreCaroline de Maigret recommends Lancôme’s Grandiose mascara, which is great but I am going to recommend Hypnose instead. It’s brilliant because it manages to stay on all day without gather a shadow beneath the lower lash region, while easily coming off with cleanser and water (no need to tug your eyelashes off). I also find that it gives the lashes a nice lift if you apply a layer, wait 10 second for it to dry, and then apply another layer.

AVÈNE CLEANANCE GEL

The smell is great, it doesn’t dry out your skin, and it is a lovely shade of blue. I’ve used this consistently since high school and have found it has kept my skin clear since then. The best bit about it is that you only need to use a tiny amount each time, so it lasts a long time.

NUXE RÊVE DE MIEL ULTRA-NOURISHING LIP BALM

I was hesitant to buy lip balm for $17 when my go-to Vaseline Rosy Lips was in the next aisle for $3.99, but this lip balm from Nuxe is on another level. It goes on thick, so I recommend putting it on once in the morning and once at night. The first few applications will make your lips peel a bit, but then your lips are like butter. Soft, French butter.

KLORANE DRY SHAMPOO WITH OAT MILK

Now this here is your key to that hair. You know, the messy, chic hair. The hair with je ne c’est quois. Unbrush, unfussed, yet clean. This is your tool to that second day, messy hair of the Parisienne. It is especially great if you have bangs, which seem to be on a grease cycle of their own.

Remember, each Shoppers location is a touch different (renovations may change that) and may have different selections. In my opinion, the location at Bloor-Yonge has the best stocked beauty section and the best selection of these French beauty products in particular. Bonne chance!

Feature Image: Beauty et le chic

Sustainable Fashion Brands You’ll Actually Love

Originally Published by Novella Magazine

For many people, the idea of “sustainable fashion” or eco-fashion gives them the willies. They think of expensive, shapeless sacks and discard the fact that fashion and ethical standards can exist in harmony. But just like that incredible vegan chocolate chip cookie, or that natural deodorant that actually works, times have changed: ethics and aesthetics are no longer mutually exclusive.

There are endless reasons why people are finally giving sustainable fashion the attention it deserves, both environmental and social. The fast fashion habits of the past 20 years has raised our levels of clothing consumption exponentially, and the world simply cannot handle it. While brands like People Tree and Matt & Nat have been spearheading the slow fashion revolution, many other brands have emerged in the past few years that deserve our attention as well.

REFORMATION

Founded in 2009 by Yael Aflalo, Reformation is probably the most well-known sustainable fashion brand due to it being loved by it-girls of the world, including Alexa Chung and Jeanne Damas. Not only does Reformation clearly break down its sustainable fashion philosophies on its website, but it also makes the most covetable limited-edition clothing. Reformation is best known for its dresses and occasion wear (Lena Dunham wore one of their bridesmaid dresses in the past), but the basics also come with adorable details. Between the Reformation using sustainable fabrics, like tencel, making the clothes in an ethical factory in L.A., and having a very impressive recycling program, it’s a must that we all #jointhereformation.

VEJA

So sneakers made a huge comeback five years ago and have not left upper ranks of the fashion trend stratosphere. To meet the trend in a sustainable way is VEJA, a Paris-designed, Brazil-produced shoe brand. The brand aims to “offer a different vision, which combines fair trade and ecology and links together economy, social initiatives and the environment,” while its minimalist sneakers are impeccably designed. The brand doesn’t advertise at all, instead it spends their money on fair production and investing in quality materials. The white leather sneakers are everyday favourites, while the metallic and perforated, pastel options are likewise tempting.

EVERLANE

Featuring classic knits, cashmere sweaters, and elegant trousers, Everlane is the sustainable answer to basics and wardrobe staples. The brand works closely with its hand-picked factories and is completely transparent about the cost of production vs. mark up retail prices. While Everlane might not be as high on the sustainable scale as Reformation, it is still miles ahead in the right direction and makes fantastic pieces that will stay in your wardrobe forever.

BASE RANGE

Underneath your fabulously sustainable finds, you’ll need under garments. For selfish reasons alone, natural, chemical-free undergarments are especially important as they are less likely to cause irritation around your most important areas. For that, Base Range makes incredibly comfortable bras, underwear, and loungewear. Based in Denmark and France, the European brand celebrates sustainable fashion with ease and comfort at the centre of its aesthetics.

BY SIGNE

To solidify the fact that sustainable fashion is actually cool, we look to By Signe, the Danish brand that creates feminine easywear handmade in their Danish studios. Not even the biggest opponent of sustainable fashion can deny the coolness of the Danes. It carres pieces made mostly out of bamboo (yes, the soft stuff) in shades of white, beige, grey, and black.

If these options are not enough, there are incredibly chic e-commerce sites that carry sustainable brands, such as Rêve-en-Vert and The Acey. These sites do all the work for you and carry the best sustainable fashion brands available.

It must be noted that core goal of the slow fashion movement is to slow down consumption. While the ascending popularity of affordable, fair trade and sustainable clothing brands is fantastic (!!!!!!!!), we must remember to actually love everything we buy instead of relying on impulse purchasing. And just so you know,  vintage, thrift stores, and clothing swaps are fun and easy sustainable options as well.

For more information about sustainable fashion in Canada, check out Fashion Takes Action.

My Childhood Nightmare, The Puffer Coat, Is The Trending Outerwear Piece for Winter

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Originally Published by Novella Magazine

2016 has been a strange year, no doubt about it. To top it off and make the year even odder, a formerly categorized fashion faux pasthe puffer coat, is still the definitively trending outwear piece for FW16. I would like to say I am making this up, but it was seen on countless FW16 runways, endless street style shots, and Vogue.com has written about the trend three times (here, here, and here). Oof. And Marques Almeida wants you to wear in it in XXL.

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Photos: Vogue

Of course, the practicality is tempting, it’s like a wearing a sleeping bag, and adds to the list of practical trends. Like sneakers and hoodies, puffers have seamlessly transitioned from “fashion don’t” to ultimate cool item. But I can’t help but remember the traumas associated with the puffer.

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Photo: Jsledge

What comes to mind when you think of puffer coats? The 90s hip hop scene? Feeling like Randy from A Christmas Story? Princess Di on the slopes? Perhaps, like me, your associations with puffers are more personal. I think of my childhood in the 90s and the countless times I would slyly leave the home in my glossy pink jacket and somehow wind up having to wear an undershirt, snow pants, and…a puffer coat. Parental echoes of, “Trust me, you’ll thank me later.” Pondering the puffer makes me recall Halloween night 1998 (aged 5) when I was given the choice to wear my parka (what I called a puffer coat) on top of my costume or under my costume and I chose the latter thinking that I had to show my costume off. The result was a much bulkier, inflated version of the princess I had hoped to be.

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Photos: Vogue

Back to 2016, when the puffer is hot, hot, hot and the question of flattery comes to mind. Does this coat look good on people other than street style stars or models? Will I knock someone over riding the subway in my XXL puffer and not even feel it? Is wearing it off-the-shoulder à la Vetements completely useless? (Yes.) Should I buy a gold one from Uniqlo or should I hit up a thrift store and buy a huge one formerly used by a dad in Hamilton?

No doubt this trend comes with a lot of questions, but the big one remains: will you wear one this winter?

Style Notes: Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy

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Originally published by Novella Magazine

Carloyn Bessette-Kennedy’s iconic style is no secret. She had cracked the code to timelessness. As a former publicist for Calvin Klein and the wife of John F. Kennedy Jr., son of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, it is no wonder she became such a legendary icon. She embodied the minimalist and graceful ideals of 90s designers such as the aforementioned Calvin Klein, but also Jil Sander and Ralph Lauren. How do we achieve this timeless style?

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Day to Day– Her weekday looks were streamlined and professional. Corduroy pants, long camel skirts, and turtlenecks for fall, black slip dresses for summer. Despite her access to designers, she wore the same sunglasses, Selima Optique, and the same bag, Hermès Birkin, year round. The take away? Invest in quality pieces you love, rather than buying a number of accessories to change daily. It’s excess.

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Casual– Bessette-Kennedy’s casual looks were set to the tone of ease. She borrowed from John. She wore loose jeans or trousers paired with a black sweatshirt or oversized white button down top, and no make up. To top it all off? Stan Smiths.

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Beauty–Her beauty looks were simple and elegant: thin eyebrows, red lips, and long blonde hair worn either in a bun or loose. Her long blonde tresses and thin brows became her signature, her beauty styling never wavered, thus becoming timeless. Oh, and tortoiseshell headbands (J.Crew carries beautiful ones made in France).

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Evening wear– All black, all the time.

5 Style Lessons From CBK:

1. Go basic. Her classic looks, endlessly documented by paparazzi outside of the Tribeca apartment she shared with JFK Jr., included many basics, such as cropped bootcut jeans, leather loafers, camel skirts, sleeveless black tops and tortoiseshell accessories.

2. Keep it simple. No patterns (okay maybe leopard), frill, bright colours, or excessive texturing.

3. Oversize. For days off, oversize is key.

4. Find what you love. Don’t buy your pieces thoughtlessly. Think about what you are buying and only make the purchase if it’s love. Choose a night in here and there and save up for your it-bag.

5. Minimalism. Adhering to a minimalist aesthetic allows you to play with shape and quality of fabric. Search vintage for cashmere turtlenecks and buy one in grey, white, black, and beige.

All images sourced on Pinterest.

The Significance of Paris Fashion Week Trends

Originally published by Novella Magazine

Across the board of the Paris Fashion Week runway shows, there was a shifting tone away from the cool irony of Vetements (let’s say, for example) and toward the real, genuineness of the individual. Specifically, the woman.  There was a sense that the fashion world is getting dressed again, and focusing on the art of it and power of that art. As such, the fact that the 80s is the major theme across all fashion weeks is no surprise. For 80s fashion embodies so many values–strength, feminism, power– that need to be nourished today–see the American election. Take for example the power suit, and with that the strong silhouette of empowered women. The jacket, with strong shoulders and impeccable tailoring is at the forefront of the trends. But at the same time, this same woman who wears the jacket can go out for a night of dancing in bright pink or a silvery mismatched dress and maintain her empowerment. She can roll up her sleeves and fix her broken sink, she can run a powerful business empire or even a country.

This woman, seen at Paris Fashion Week, can do it all and she does it proudly as herself, pretending to be nothing but that: herself. All of this was reflected in the trends and in the shifting politics of the fashion industry: Maria Grazia Chiuri took the seat at Creative Director at Christian Dior after a history of male successors, and Gigi Hadid (who recently showed a brilliant example of self defence in Milan) opened the most shows, evoking the powerful 80s supermodels. Phoebe Philo at Céline used the sountrack of everyday life, children’s voices and city traffic, to celebrate the everyday woman. This atmosphere among the shows at PFW meant that the trends at Paris Fashion Week, were all about strength, decisiveness and emblazoned sensuality.

The Jacket

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Céline SS17 | Indigital

Workwear

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Isabel Marant SS17 | Indigital

80s

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Balenciaga

Playful Prints

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Lemaire SS17 | Indigital

High-Waist Trouser

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Jacquemus SS17 | Indigital

“La Personne”

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Christian Dior SS17 | Indigital
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Saint Laurent SS17 | Indigital

Feature Image: Céline, Indigital