The Bucket List – Fall's New It Bag

by Afiya Francisco

From Saint Laurent to Elizabeth and James, the bucket bag is our new favourite shape – an effortlessly chic marriage of form and function. If you are a fashionable career girl on-the-go, like myself, who typically carries her life in her bag, the bucket bag is definitely your new go-to carryall. To ring in the fall season, we've rounded up a lust worthy list: from rock star fringe to bold metallics. The Style House has got you covered – step up your fashion game with one of the season's most buzz worthy accessories! – Santana

Row 1 (l to r)

  • Proenza Schouler
  • Saint Laurent
  • Elija

Row 2 (l to r)

  • Loewe
  • Runway via
  • Alexander Wang

Row 3 (l to r)

  • Alexander Wang
  • Madewell
  • Prada

Tomato Red – Trend Tolerance: Low

by Afiya Francisco in ,

I recently sat on ET Canada's Fashion Panel, alongside a super talented & entertaining crew: the Beckerman sisters (Calli & Sam) and Fashion magazine Fashion Editor-at-Large and stylist Zeina Esmail, to dissect the hits & misses from the Emmy Awards red carpet. One of the few things that we unanimously agreed upon is that red – specifically a bright tomato – was the dominant colour of the night. I didn't particularly love any of the red carpet looks, I may have even been a wee harsh in my commentary claiming that I didn't think any of it was done well (in my passion, I forgot about the exception, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. How could I?! Adore her.) Anyway, what lacked on the carpet has certainly been made up for on the street. As with most trends, you can go full tilt in head-to-toe but one key piece makes quite a statement. Visit here to catch the segment.

Photos: Who What Wear | Vanessa Jackman

Head Over Heels – FW14 Trend Report

by Afiya Francisco in

Like many, fall is my absolute favourite season of all: hello to chunky knits and over the knee boots! Looking ahead to one of the most exciting season's to date, it is full of looks that I can’t wait to try. This may very well be my favourite fall season of all time, till next season that is... 

– Santanae

It’s a Mod, Mod World 

The swinging '60’s were all over the runway: from the embroidered shifts at Gucci to the metallic boots at Saint Laurent, designers are mad for mod. Incorporate this trend into your work wardrobe now by paring an A-line shift dress with open toe booties, and later, with opaque tights and over-the-knee boots. 

Louis Vuitton | Gucci | Saint Laurent | Valentino

Roberto Cavalli | DKNY | Burberry | Etro | Leonoard

Roberto Cavalli | DKNY | Burberry | Etro | Leonoard

Blanket Dressing 

When Christopher Kane sent an army of models, led by Cara Delevingne, down the runway in monogrammed  Burberry blankets, it was a wrap – literally. The fashion set went into a frenzy and a trend was born. Take a cue from Olivia Palmero and incorporate the ultimate transitional piece into your daytime look.

Let's get Knitted

Nothing epitomizes a crisp Autumn day like rocking a chunky oversize knit sweater with your favourite pair of denim and Chelsea boots. This fall uniform is more relevant than ever. For an updated twist, pair your chunky knit with a skirt for a modern and stylish cool girl ensemble. 

Dion Lee | Michael Kors | Tory Burch

Fast Food Fashion 

Looks like you can finally have your fashion and eat it too. With Jeremy Scott's visual shout out to Mcdonald's to Kate Spade's new twist on Chinese food takeout boxes –  street style stars like Anna Dello Russo and Chiara Ferragni are eating up this new trend!

Anna Della Russo | Anya Hindmarch | Kate Spade | Moschino

Sparkle for Day 

If you like a littlie bling in your life (and who doesn't?) you are going to love this trend. The most recent update to the ongoing metallic trend is in its streamlined shape and structure as seen at Tom Ford and House of Holland. Not only fashionable for evening, take this trend for a spin by rocking your sparkle of choice to your next brunch date!

Tom Ford | House of Holland | Rodarte

The Fantastic Fur

Love it or hate it, fur was major in Milan. From Prada to Fendi, it was all about statement fur in bold colours and patchwork detailing. Fur scarves, clutches and snoods create the look of ultimate luxury. For the faint at heart incorporate this look into your wardrobe through textured accessories real or faux.

J. Mendel | Marc Jacobs | Marni | Prada

Images via,,, and

Cottage Essentials

by Afiya Francisco in

Fresh air, long days; I love laid back cottage visits. Pack the perfect pieces – you can get away with a medium duffle bag, even for a week away – and you can master wild weather fluctuations. I recently shared, on The Morning Show, my favourite brands for stylish cottage wear. Roots is, of course, the epitome of cabin chic. But there are also some new kids on the fashion block, who have a great selection of cool essentials that work both at the cottage and as casual city style. Province of Canada, with its well-edited selection of basics, is definitely one to watch. And I can't say enough about the virtues of a cozy blanket wrap – Winners (above), Roots and Aritzia all have covetable options. Birkenstock & Adidas are old standbys but they have never been as chic as they are now. Here's the segment for more cottage essentials.

Row 1 (left to right)



Row 2 (left to right)

Row 3 (left to right)

WHITE OUT – SS14 Trend Report

by Afiya Francisco in

From Céline to Alexander Wang, head-to-toe white ensembles dominated the runway and offered a fresh new perspective for SS14. Take a cue from the fashion set and check out our favourite ways to incorporate this easy breezy hue – guaranteed you'll want to wear until well after Labour Day!



TIP 1: The Little White Dress
Move over LBD, the LWD is the new go-to this season. For a cool girl ensemble opt for a pair of crisp white sneakers for your next weekend look.



TIP 2: Office Look
Stay cool, calm and collected at the office and pair wide legged pants with a cool tee, sleek sandals and a crisp white blazer, giving your classic suit an updated twist.



TIP 3: Texture
Add interest to this cool hue by playing with texture both in your outfit and accessories.



TIP 4: Matched Set
Take a modern approach to this trend and rock a matchy-matchy dress and jacket set for your next night out on the town!



TIP 5: 50 Shades of White
Add visual interest to your look by rocking various shades of white head to toe.



TIP 6: Add Personality
As with any trend don't forget to add your own sense of style and personality. Whether it be a statement shoe or a great pair of shades, always remember to leave your mark.


Electric Avenue – SS14 Nail Colour Trend Report

by Afiya Francisco in

From the lemon yellow hues seen at Burberry to the citrus orange digits at the Just Cavalli show, lego brights were seen all over the runway for SS14 replacing last year's pretty pastels. With summer in full swing, go bold this season and add a stylish splash of colour with our round up of this season's hottest hues! – Santanae

Electric Blue 

Treat this colour as your new neutral pairing it with this season's most fashionable trends like Sport Utility or Global Nomad. YSL Nail Lacquer in Peacock Blue, $27.

Tangerine Tango

Last year's reigning colour is back in full swing this season and looks great with a golden tan. Chanel Le Vernis in Mirabella, $27.

White out

Longing for a weekend in the Hampton's? Get in the spirit with a freshly painted mani/pedi in your brightest white. Essie Nail Polish in 'Blanc', $8.

Radiant Orchid

Reign queen supreme this summer in the season's 'it' colour! Julep Nail Polish in 'Kayla', $14.   

Green with Envy

Take a cue from the fashion set and rock this deep sea hue with the season's boldest graphic black and white prints. Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in 'She Drives', $18.

Pretty in Pink

Make a splash at your next pool party in this juicy shade of pink. Essie Nail Polish in 'Haute in Heat'.

Lemon Yellow

Take the plunge this season in this bold yet budget friendly hue. Try it with your next pedi and work your way up to a mani. Sally Hansen Triple Shine Nail Polish in 'Lemon Shark' $4.

Classic Red

Our roundup would not be complete without this hot red patriotic hue you will be wearing long after Canada Day. Butter London Nail Polish in 'Lady Bird' $15.

 ... As if choosing a nail polish colour wasn't hard enough already ;) 

Evolution of a Label – LINE Knitwear

by Afiya Francisco in ,

LINE Knitwear, and its sister line John & Jenn, are adored on a global scale for their combination of luxe fabrics and creative knits in everyday construction. Season after season, at World MasterCard Fashion Week, a runway seat to LINE is a coveted possession and the buzz continues at store level. So what do you do when you achieve an enviable formula of success? You change it up. Design duo John Muscat and Jennifer Wells discuss:

It’s easy to get comfortable in what you’re doing. And it’s also dangerous.
— Jenn

Line and Personal Style

John: A lot of women need a reason to add something to their wardrobe, she wants to be excited and she wants to see something new, but it shouldn’t be so difficult to wear that it’s a puzzle in the morning. If she’s going to add it to her wardrobe it better be special and it better be amazing because she’s got lots of clothes and she doesn’t need anything else. So you have to give her a reason. 

Jenn: I like the fact that it’s the go-to. Like the go-to cardigan, the go-to leather jacket; it’s your favourite cashmere that you throw on – so it’s easy to wear but it’s special. You want to put it on all the time.

What’s next?

John: We’re going through a massive evolution. 

Jenn: We’re rebranding a little bit. We’ve got a new design team, that’s exciting. 

John: We’re vertical in Asia now which is huge. Everything is changing and everything is about to change. You’ll start to see the tweak of it in holiday. 

Jenn: Well, I do think that it started in Fall ‘14. We dabbled with more commodities: expanded our jacket component, sweaters as outerwear jacket components, more dresses. That’s transitioning into holiday and into Spring ‘15. 

John: I don’t think that we’ve had such a cohesive team, until this point, it takes a long time to build. The team now, [compared] to how it was before, is like night and day. Everything is just coming together and a cohesive vision is being executed. 

Jenn: We’re finding different factories and experimenting with different fabrications. And we’re using some imported fabrics that we’re mixing, and it’s changing the taste, which is exciting. 

At John & Jenn's Toronto studio.

At John & Jenn's Toronto studio.

What will that look like to the customer?

John: You’re going to see the collection hit a whole new level. I would never talk up the collection before it’s out there but I think you’re going to look at it and say, “wow that’s Line?” It’s just going to evolve.

Jenn: For fall we have definitely expanded the sweater as outerwear component and the jacket component and I think that these items are great in your wardrobe because they’re transitional. Our weather is so weird that you kind of need something starting in October and it may not snow until December. And then the same again in March. We also expanded what we started doing last year which was adding a lot leather details onto outerwear and also to the everyday sweaters, like trims. There’s a lot more attention to the stitch techniques and combining of yarns and fabrications. 


Let’s talk summer...

Jenn: The trick with summer is to do knitwear that’s lightweight enough and can still be transitional. We experimented with a lot of open work and drop stitches, a lot of linen and lighter weight fabrications. 

A hint of what’s to come for holiday...

Jenn: We played with metal & chain. Holiday, for us, is party-wear-slash-that-new-thing-that-you-want-to-have. Maybe a little bit of gift giving but really those yummy sweaters that you just want to wear around from October to February. Runway is always a little snippet to what we’re thinking about for the main collection so we did play with angora and colour. I think that people are getting a little bored of black all winter so if you can inject a little bit of colour it makes people happy. Like are you going to wear black until March?

John: There are two big stories here: cashmere colour and angora. 70% angora. In the past, we would have dialed it down a little bit, we would have done a 30% angora. We’ve gone all the way. Luxe cashmere - three gauge. The other element is true holiday, as we see it; chain detail, continuing with outerwear, party wear.

What is your design process?

John: The roles that Jenn & I play are this: I leave her alone, she starts the process with her team and then I come in at different points and I edit. I’m an amazing editor but I’m not great at the start off point, the launch point. That’s always kind of been who we are and we’re circling back.

Evolution of the brands

John: The market changed when everything crashed and I think that everyone scrambled, and has has continued to scramble since then, because it keeps changing and shifting. We’ve now taken the point of view of, “We’re going to do what we want. We’re not going to chase anything. We’re going to stay true to what we want to do. As opposed to do ‘what she wants’”. Because a lot of brands are playing that game, “What does she want? What does she want? What can I get her to buy?”, and when you go into that panic state you’re not true to yourself or the brand. Even with John & Jenn, the evolution there, is that it was always meant to be the cooler younger sister of Line, at a better price point. So the big message is that were staying true to the brand no matter what happens, that’s our perspective and what our go-forward is. We’re not going to be scared of anything.

Angora is a great example. People don’t wear angora, we don’t care, then don’t buy it. We love angora and we put it into the collection. And what is everyone loving? The angora. Whether it sells or not, it’s aspirational and that’s what we’re going to continue doing. 

You need to have a very delicate balance between reality and fear, because fear will hold you back creatively and disconnect you from the collection. I always ask everyone “would you wear it?” and if they say “no” then it shouldn’t go into the collection. They would say, “well I’m designing it for her”. Well there is no “her”, you’re the her and that’s the only place that you can design from.

Jenn: It’s easy to get comfortable in what you’re doing. And it’s also dangerous.