Dianes Lingerie x Jason Matlo

Many style experts will tell you that having a proper-fitting bra is integral to achieving a great look, a tenet that local lingerie purveyor Dianes Lingerie holds near and dear to heart. Dianes recently took to the streets to promote that message with a daring on-the-move live exhibit in collaboration with Vancouver-based designer Jason Matlo. Titled "Bras You Want to Show Off," the exhibit features models clad in custom-made sheer Matlo creations strolling Vancouver's downtown streets.

Want to find out more? I had a chance to ask Matlo himself a couple of questions about it.

How did the collaboration with Dianes Lingerie come about?

The "Bras You Want to Show Off" idea was conceived by creative agency DARE. The seven couture looks were created exclusively for Dianes as part of a celebration of female beauty, confidence and sophistication. It was our goal to create a sheer collection that would complement the detailed beauty and modern style of the Dianes client and exquisitely crafted products. We chose fine quality fabrics and the highest quality finishes as we felt this was in keeping with Diane’s philosophies of quality and excellence. The seven looks were constructed from silk organza, silk crepe de chine voile and very fine gauge jersey mesh. It took one week and 5 skilled technicians working 18 hour days to complete the capsule collection. The lingerie component was provided by Dianes, utilizing pieces from the current in-store merchandise.

We did not give each piece a name. We affectionately referred to them as "Diane’s Daring Designs."

The items will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to assist with their fundraising efforts. The details around when and where the items will be auctioned are still be decided upon at this point.

What was working with Diane like?

Working with Diane was effortless. The lingerie is beautifully constructed and the philosophies of Dianes and the Jason Matlo brand are similar in that we share many beliefs--chief among them a desire for excellence in product, design, fit and finishing. Both of our companies strive for personalized customer service and a desire to make women feel simultaneously feminine and confident. It was a natural fit.

The clothes are sheer to show off the bras, but they still seem very Jason Matlo: confident, sensual, a contrast of structured tailoring and soft draping. Can you talk a bit about the design inspiration?

From the initial design meeting to the finished garment, the goal and vision was to stay true to our brand by incorporating structured tailoring and soft draping. We were selected to collaborate with Diane’s because the look, direction and feel of our collection so closely aligned with the Diane’s customer profile and vision, and we were encouraged to stay true to the brand. The pieces were inspired by the bras. It was our goal to create pieces with silhouettes and design lines that did not interrupt the lines of the lingerie. In the end, we hoped that the clothes would [be] almost invisible garments (or ghost-like dresses), giving the viewers Superman-like x-ray vision which allows them to see the stunning undergarments.

If you missed Bras You Want To Show Off last week, fear not. It's happening again this Saturday (tomorrow!) from 10:30 until 6:30. The seven models will be hitting the streets of Vanouver wearing their Jason Matlo creations and handing out $40 gift cards to be used towards a Dianes bra. Following the live fashion show, the outfits will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to assist in their fundraising efforts.



For our second trip to Portland, the boy and I booked a room at The Nines on the recommendation of Anya and Adele. It was such a lovely hotel, very luxurious and modern. So pretty!

The view from our eleventh floor room

A chandelier on the ground floor

The highlight of The Nines: a beautiful courtyard/atrium that sits in the centre of the hotel, where guests can wine, dine and unwind.

While shopping in the Pearl District, I saw Camilla Skovgaard shoes on sale. But I was saving my money for my big splurge of the trip...

...a new camera! I'm still learning how to use it properly.

Other Portland purchases: J. Crew wool cafe capri pants and silk 'Lucinda' blouse, plus a black cashmere cardigan, Hanii Y print blouse and two necklaces from Nordstrom Rack. The black-and-gold necklace turned out to be Kate Spade when I inspected it closely; it was on clearance for $18.75. Score!

First night in Portland: dinner at Mother's Bistro followed by salsa dancing at Aztec Willie's.

It's my birthday and I'll dress up if I want to. Wearing an H&M lace dress and bib necklace, red Roots clutch, blue patent Pour La Victoire pumps.

Dinner and drinks at my favourite Portland restaurant, Toro Bravo. After an incredible meal, the staff surprised me with churros and dipping chocolate, all topped off with a birthday candle.

As with most vacations, it was too short and I'm kind of sad this trip went by so quickly, especially with a daunting schedule for the next couple of weeks. Oh well, c'est la vie! Besides, the wait will only make the next trip all the sweeter.


Long Beach Peninsula & Astoria, OR

If Long Beach, WA has a "small town America" vibe, the same thing could be said of the other towns on the peninsula and Astoria, OR. But such a vague description encompasses so many flavours. Long Beach is a town that one drives to or drives through, with smooth flat roads and hotels and summer cottage rentals dotted along the coast. Further up the peninsula, Oysterville had an astonishingly well-preserved historic village. The little schoolhouse, red-and-white village church, and pioneer houses dating from the mid-19th century seem as though they were lifted from a novel. Our drive through other parts of the peninsula revealed further delights: bay views, an old cannery, boats at harbour.

On day three of our trip, we left Long Beach--crossing a bridge that was miles long and spanned the Columbia River--and made a brief detour into Astoria, OR. I have a pet theory that small towns always turn the former home of a prominent, upper middle-class Victorian citizen into a heritage museum, and Astoria fit that theory to a tee. We paid for a walk-through tour of the Flavel House Museum, a multi-storey Victorian mansion built in the Queen Anne style for Captain George Flavel, who sailed and navigated the Columbia's treacherous sandbars and made a fortune doing it. Then it was back in the car for our next stop: Portland!


Malene Grotrian Presents A Modern Classic

Join one of my favourite local designers, Malene Grotrian, for the launch of her new fall/winter 2011 collection. Titled "A Modern Classic," the collection is all about flow and structure. Check out the flyer above for details (click to enlarge), or purchase your tickets here.

UPDATED TO ADD: You have a chance to win a pair of VIP tickets here.


Long Beach

I took a lot of photos considering it was only a 4-day road trip, so you'll have to bear with me as I split up the recap into multiple posts!

We stayed at the Adrift Hotel in Long Beach, WA for the first leg of our trip. The hotel was right next to the beach and we had an ocean view from our room! Due to the strong winds and currents, the surf isn't safe for anyone to swim in and it wasn't much fun actually being on the sand. But we still had a good time strolling the quarter-mile boardwalk that stretched out over the grassy dunes and admiring the same landmarks that must've greeted explorers Lewis and Clark when they first charted Long Beach. The skeleton of the washed-up grey whale they noted in their logs is still around.

The town itself felt very Small Town America, which was charming in its own way. Little museums devoted to kitschy themes, a quiet sleepy vibe. All the businesses lined themselves along a main street, and as one would expect from a seaside town, the eateries and stores boasted a lot of pan-fried oysters, clam chowder and saltwater taffy. We opted to dine at the Lightship Restaurant (upstairs from the Adrift) both nights for the amazing coastline views it afforded. Afterward, we sipped some of the hotel's fruit- and cucumber-infused water, then relaxed in our room with some red wine and complimentary DVDs borrowed from Adrift.


Style Advice: How do I dress up tall flat leather boots for work?

A while ago, my gorgeous friend Megan emailed me this question about the boots she'd just bought (pictured above):

What do tall boots go with and how would you wear them in a professional context? (I attached a clip of the pair I have in mind by Coclico, but am still humming and hawwing on them till I figure out how I might work them into my wardrobe.)

Shortly thereafter she sent me another email:

Re: the boots, I did end up buying them! They were $200 on Amazon including shipping, compared to $600 for similar boots at Gravity Pope, so that makes them doubly amazing. I probably couldn't wear leggings and a long top with them to work, or jeans for that matter, but dresses and skirts are a go. Thanks for your input!

Megan, first of all, kudos on getting a great deal on a pair of beautiful, well-made, classic boots that can be dressed up or down. Boots like these can go from a business casual work environment to a casual weekend. Even if jeans and leggings aren't allowed, there are still plenty of sartorial options to choose from. (For the illustrative examples below, I've used items from Shopbop, J. Crew and Madewell mostly.)

You've already hit the nail on the head by suggesting dresses and skirts as a starting point. Sweater dresses and dresses in heavier, winter-appropriate fabrics will keep you cozy. If sleeveless numbers are frowned upon, layer long-sleeved tees underneath or wear a cardigan on top. You could very well have a capsule wardrobe of work-appropriate day dresses to wear with your tall boots Monday to Friday and call it a day.

But wearing a dress day in and day out would be a bit boring, wouldn't it? Mix-and-match separates provide so much more versatility. Skirts in wool or twill, a neutral hue or a bright orange or mustard, and of any knee-length silhouette (mini, pencil, paper sack waist, A-line) would work well with a pair of tall boots.

So what do you wear tucked into the skirts? Jewel-toned silk blouses offer the same professional polish as a tailored button-up shirt, but look and feel much more luxe and offer more freedom of motion. Drapey tees in soft jersey also work.

Lastly, accessories such as scarves, earrings, bracelets and belts can go a long way in personalizing the looks I've suggested above. I know that Megan has an extensive collection of earrings she likes to wear. Personally, I favour necklaces that add drama and fun to an outfit.

Of course, the key to pulling off skirts and dresses paired with tall boots during winter is to wear tights or leggings underneath to keep your legs warm!

Do you wear tall flat boots to work? What do you wear them with?


The Sweet Scent of September: Kenzo Flower Tag

The next fragrance in my Sweet Scent of September giveaway series is a fresh, feminine scent from Kenzo. Dubbed Flower Tag ($79-99, exclusively at The Bay), it's a new take on a classic light formula and features fruity notes (rhubarb, blackcurrant, mandarin), floral notes (peony, lily of the valley, jasmine), and sensual notes (tea, vanilla, musk). Although that sounds like a heady mix, when I tried it I was pleasantly surprised by how light and fresh it smelled. The bottle is a mix of a design by graffiti artist Julien Chalet and a poppy tag from a graffiti fresco in Paris. All in all, it's perfect for a fun free spirit.

To win a bottle of Kenzo Flower Tag, simply leave a relevant comment on this post by Friday September 30th, 12pm PST. All entries must have a means of contact (blog, email or Twitter). All entries without a means of contact will be disqualified. Canadian and international entries welcome. Good luck!


The Sweet Scent of September: Fan di Fendi Winner

The winner of my Fan di Fendi giveaway is...


Congratulations! I'll be contacting you shortly with details on how you can claim your prize.


Road Trip!

By the time you read this, I'll be in Long Beach, WA, with the boy, enjoying grassy sand dunes, long strolls on the boardwalk and evening breezes that smell like the ocean. That's right, we're going on a little road trip to celebrate our two-year anniversary and my 27th birthday! After Long Beach, it's off to Portland for some salsa dancing, shopping and my special birthday dinner at Toro Bravo.

I've scheduled posts for the entire time I'm gone, so check back often and have a great weekend!


Style Advice: How to Pack a Small Cross Body Bag

On my Luxe or Less post about small cross body bags, gorgeous blogger Elisse wrote:

Great post on this selection of mini cross-body bags.

My next question, and request for a future Solo Lisa post: what cute wallets, accessories, or must-haves can a girl fit into these types of petite purses?

Elisse, the answer to your question is a bit of a paradox: the fewer cute must-haves you carry in a petite purse, the better. It might sound like a scary concept for chronic over-packers, but once you spend an evening with a small handbag, you'll realize how liberated you feel. Here are a few tips to make sure you're not toting around excess baggage.

Choose your mini cross body bag wisely. Pockets, compartments and card slots help you keep things organized without needing a bulky wallet. And speaking of which...

Ditch your everyday wallet. Instead of trying to cram your card- and receipt-filled pocketbook into a tiny purse, use a cardholder or a sleek, small wallet like one of Coach's mini skinnies. If you're in a pinch, you can even use an elastic or a binder clip to keep bills and cards together.

Take only what you need for the evening.This means something different for everyone. I always take my ID, debit and credit cards, transit pass, cell phone, a few bills, a pocket mirror, keys, cell phone, blotting papers, and lip balm or lipstick. Depending on your circumstances, your list of essentials might also include a hair elastic, bobby pins, a tampon, eye drops, medication, etc.

What do you pack in a small handbag?


Community Style Event

Support a good cause while vintage shopping, enjoying great food and wine, and getting some help from an expert stylist? Check, check and check. See the flyer above for full details (click to enlarge) and happy shopping!


Eileen Fisher Opens New Store on South Granville

Many women agree that variety is the spice of life when it comes to style. But there are also those who crave the simplicity of a capsule wardrobe--clothes that go with anything and everything, a few beloved pieces worn all the time. For the latter, Eileen Fisher is a godsend. And, for Vancouver-based Eileen Fisher fans, that godsend just became a little more accessible with the opening of a new store on South Granville, the first Eileen Fisher store to open outside of the United States.

For those who are unfamiliar with the brand, Eileen Fisher's eponymous designer began the company in 1984 with only $350 in her bank account and a vision of providing women with simple clothes that would make getting dressed in the morning a breeze. "I'm a mother, a clothing designer, and a businesswoman," Fisher herself once explained. "My wardrobe meets my varying needs. The idea is, you just put your clothes on and go. You don't have to fuss, you don't think about them all day, you're just ready to do what you need to do."

Evidently Fisher's vision struck a chord with multitasking mothers and career women everywhere. From the company's humble origins, they've grown to 52 freestanding stores and a staff of 875. The line is also carried in numerous big-name department stores including Canada's very own Hudson's Bay Company.

Eschewing runway trends, the clothes feature a muted palette of neutrals and dusky jewel tones. Loose, drapey fits are meant to flatter without clinging and look timeless year after year. Eileen Fisher has traditionally attracted an older crowd, but there are gems for younger fashion lovers who want to invest in some quality basics. At the media preview I attended last week, I spotted lots of luxe knitwear, basic silk tunics and cozy scarves.

But my favourite piece in the store (and also one of Eileen Fisher's picks) is this army green cocoon-shaped coat. The snap closures, funnel collar, elastic gathers and belt make this coat sporty but elegant. It's part trench, part anorak. The nylon-blend fabric feels water-resistant too, making this the perfect topper for running errands in Vancouver drizzle.

Welcome to South Granville, Eileen Fisher!

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