All Cried Out

 Don't you know my tears will burn the pillow
Set this place on fire
'Cause I'm tired of your lie
All I needed was a simple "Hello"
But the traffic was so noisy that you could not hear me cry

  I gave you my love in vain
My body never knew such pleasure,
My heart never knew such pain
(And you) You leave me so confused
Now I'm all cried out, over you.
..
All%2BCried%2BOut All Cried Out
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Fashion: Michelle Bobb-Parris

SYarhi michelle bobb parris 6758 Fashion: Michelle Bobb Parris

August
19
2014
Fashion: Michelle Bobb-Parris

Michelle Bobb-Parris shots from when we met up in London last December for The Stone Set. We’d worked around each other shooting street style at the shows for a couple seasons but had never chatted. Within two minutes of meeting we realized we’re both from Toronto!

Two Canadian girls in a café in London taking pictures of Michelle’s wonderful vintage costume jewellery collection. We had such a blast and I love these secret spy photos we took of her. International espionage in New Balance kicks and toting a Proenza Schouler shoulder bag naturally.The spy who blogged me…

cheese!

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Cause She’s So High

'Cause she's so high
High above me, she's so lovely
She's so high
Like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite
She's so high, high above me
She comes to speak to me
I freeze immediately
'Cause what she says sounds so unreal
Wounded%2BDream Cause Shes So High
 But somehow I can't believe
That anything should happen
I know where I belong
And nothing's gonna happen
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
'Cause she's so high
High above me, she's so lovely
She's so high
Like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite
She's so high, high above me

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Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10

Designer Photo 1024x682 Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10headshot provided by Smythe

August
18
2014
Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10

Smythe turns 10! To celebrate designers Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe created a capsule collection of ten of their best pieces to be reissued. Lenczner and Smythe are so humble about their line which in ten years has achieved so many milestones: Barney’s, Jessica Simpson fame and then of course the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton spotted in their jacket, on repeat! Just a few basics really.

I sat down with the duo at their west end Toronto studio to talk about ten years in the biz. Pitfalls, business plans and how to navigate Fashion for a decade. Meet Andrea and Christie!

SYarhi smythe 3380 Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10

Happy 10 years!
Andrea: I know! You should show a picture of us ten years ago, we look a lot younger.

Is this the paper anniversary?
Christie: I think we get diamonds! We should buy each other diamonds.
Andrea: It’s not diamonds.
C: But it’s something good. Traditionally ten years is ten, because my husband and I did the list of them.

What did you get for tin?
C: I think he just wrapped my present in tin foil.

That’s cute (laughs)!
C: That’s how you get what you want…
A: But all the clichés are true; “ten years have gone by so fast,” it’s important to reflect on it, ten years; it just doesn’t feel that long.

SYarhi smythe 3387 Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10

Reflecting back then, which goals did you met and what did you supersede, were there any u-turns, are you guys where you thought you’d be?
A: That’s a good question
C: No one ever asks that question

Yes!
A: We never laid out goals.
C: We didn’t have a business plan
A: No, and I definitely would say there are things I’m super proud of that we didn’t expect but also things that we probably wish could have gone better. You hate to name them, but moving forward I think we’ve grown a lot from a design perspective. That’s where I feel like we gained a lot of skill. And we can do things faster and better now. We are just coming up with bigger and bigger collections. It’s a better process because we know more we know what’s going to work or why it won’t work, why it will. It was trial and error for so long.

I love the evolution as well from strictly blazers and outerwear to then including pants and skirts.
A: And knits for fall now. I’m mostly proud of our design evolution. In terms of business we probably could have been more aggressive, but we’re busy
C: We’re raising families.
A: It’s been a blur because we have huge priorities outside of work young children that were born during this process.
C: We may have been more aggressive but at the same time we’re proud that we were responsible. We grew our business responsibly and have been in business for ten years. That’s a great milestone for us and in this particular industry that’s hard.

SYarhi smythe 3392 Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10

The mindset is if you’ve made it ten years, it’s safe to say you’re established. (We all three knock on wood.) For any start up there’s no way of predicting the trajectory.
A: My background is such that I should have made goals (banker past life) a five-year plan a two-year plan. But I don’t know that kind of talk reminds me too much of my old banking life and my eyes just gloss over. I think we always have the feeling of how we’re doing we always know where our strengths and weaknesses are. It’s not to say we aren’t aware we just don’t set it out on paper. We know the temperature of our company on any given day. There were years we grew a lot, and some we were surprised by.
C: I think when you focus on your strengths rather than writing an involved plan or projection you’re growth is that much great because you’re developing the area that you have the most talent in. for us, what we love the most is the design and in this particular industry you’re only as good as your next collection. That’s been our love and our focus.
A: You can sit and crunch numbers till the cows come home but if your collection’s not cute it doesn’t mean anything. I think we put our energy into design.

How do you balance work and life?
C: I don’t know, how do you?

That’s why I’m asking! (Laughs) I’m really, really asking.
A: Having a partner really helps. If one of us goes on vacation it doesn’t stop, there’s someone still here answering phones, paying bills.
C: Putting out fires!
A: Getting back to the staff, and spelling each other off. It’s easier than if you’re a single proprietor and you try to step away. Things mount up and then it’s very tense to go away and get back to it. That’s the real benefit to having a partner. And then we travel together a lot so then well bring our computer.
C: Sometimes the nice thing about being away together, is that you’re not worrying about the other person who’s back at the office and you’re both really off. That’s when I feel the most relaxed.
A: that’s weird, I never worry when I’m away.

SYarhi smythe 3383 Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10

You travel a lot together?
C: When I’m away I worry that she’s dealing with a mountain of stuff.

Yeah, that guilt of being away and someone is tending to the mess.
A: I don’t have that guilt! I really don’t. we took separate summer vacations but last Christmas our families were together. Having spouses who are super supportive and so when it’s crunch time you can just say. When you need to work on a Sunday, which happens, we clear it. That’s part of work life balance. What else?
C: I don’t know we help each other. We both have kids we have the same values, our lifestyle’s are similar so if Andrea’s booking fall activities for her daughter she’ll yell across the room to me, “do you want Coco to join Chloe doing hip hop this fall?” and I’m like ‘Oh yeah,’ so she gets me the form and we do it together. If I’m going to buy ten birthday presents for the kids then I’ll ask her if she needs any. Because a. we have the same taste, b. kids who are really close and good friends. The things we have to juggle are the same. I learn a lot from this one because she has three kids, I can’t complain organizing for one. This one (Andrea) is laser organized.
A: Well… yeah, if any one of us has to go and do an errand we see, “ you need a Halloween costume?”
C: We prompt each other!
A: That’s true. It’s really good to have a partner. Especially one that you like!

How does that work in the studio?
A: We design together but we divide tasks up. Ten years in we know who does what. We don’t disucss it anymore. If the task is paying a bill it’s me, or Christie does the booking. We each have the undesirable jobs. We divide it up. There’s drudgery in every business—we split the drudgery up. Christie always tidies up the studio.
C: I’m the cleaning lady. I’m really good at it.
A: I don’t know where anything goes! She has a great system for all our raw materials. I have different systems for paperwork.
C: It’s funny to watch us do the hamstering and dance around each other.

How did you guys originally meet?
C: In high school, math class, hated that class
A: Gr. 9 for you and 10 for me.
C: Well we knew each other all the way through but when we got really close it was before we graduated.
A: Gr. 11?
C: No! Gr. 12.
A: So this whole gr. 9 math class isn’t a true story.
C: You always say gr. 9? No, that’s not true.
A: Christie fast tracked, way back when high school was five years…

SYarhi smythe 3384 Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10

Oh I know I was the last year to do the fifth!
A: Chrissie ended up in a lot of classes with me. I always thought she was really pretty and cool and dressed cool. And then we lived together in university.
C: Then we didn’t live together in university but were still friends.

How did the business partnership and design come about?
C: In math class! We would be drawing our prom dresses, or semi formal dresses.
A: I think we started talking about doing a business together in university, in a fantasy kind of way.

One day…
A: It was a store.
C: It was going to be all body suits.

Where?
A: Well, then it would have been Montreal. That was the first iteration. We talked and went our separate ways but always kept in touch. Then Christie moved back from New York, she had a big design job there. And it was like how do you do that here? So it was the right time for her to take the risk because she kind of had nothing to lose. And I said, ‘Ok.’ It was a lot of smoking back then.
C: A lot of smoking!

Did you launch with a show?
C: We launched in 2004. But we’ve never done a show. We have been part of shows with Holt Renfrew and staged shows at Holt Renfrew, but never been on the calendar. We found them very prohibitive and it wasn’t part of our business model. We were working towards getting a showroom and then we got onto the calendar of the tradeshow industry and so a show wasn’t how we mapped it out.
A: We do coterie and DNA. The show takes a huge effort out of your day to day. It’s great marketing and every Toronto fashion week I feel a pang because you see everyone else being written about and we feel left out of it. We are not putting ourselves out there, I just don’t feel left out enough to do it.
C: The way that we were presenting and booking our line works for us, so we’ve never done a show.
A: I’m sure we’ve missed some good press from not being at the tents.

But, that is the only payback to a fashion show.
A: Usually.

It’s the notoriety and press and brand recognition, there’s no precise ROI.
A: Which it’s hard to say. Most people wont buy a brand unless they’ve heard of it.

What would have to happen for you guys to show?
A: A massive sponsor.
C: A sugar daddy!

SYarhi smythe 3381 Favourite: Smythe 10 x 10

What are some highlights from the past 10 years?
A: The obvious one, Kate Middleton wearing Smythe. Then there was the first US account, which was Barney’s. There are so many…
C: The anti-bullying initiative was big for us.
A: The suit launching suiting we were really into. The first coat collection we did for Holts.
C: Spring 2010.
A: That’s how we broke into coats. Getting our new office.
C: Moving out of the frat house into our new fancy offices. This is our third office. All the moves have been major.
A: Hiring people was a big deal. And getting our showroom in the US, which was really hard, especially when you’re new. Oh, this is dating us but remember when Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were together?

The real life?
A: No, that was MTV, but they were breaking up and there was a picture of her wearing our blazer.
C: It was everywhere, this picture of her wearing Smythe. Not just the tabs, Harper’s picked it up too. It was all over! We felt bad because something good for us was coming out of somebody else’s misfortune.
A: And the birth’s of our kids in there too.

Thanks so much for having me!

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We moved!!!

 We moved our blog, come and and join us at 

 http://www.fusionofcolor.net/wordpress/

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I’ll Fall Right Into You

You're picture perfect blue
Sunbathing under moon
Stars shining as your bones illuminate
First kiss just like a drug
Under your influence
You take me over you're the magic in my veins
This must be love

Boom Clap
The sound of my heart
The beat goes on and on and on and on and
Boom Clap
You make me feel good
Come on to me come on to me now
SouthernCharm Ill Fall Right Into You

Boom Clap
The sound of my heart
The beat goes on and on and on and on and
Boom Clap
You make me feel good
Come on to me come on to me now

No silver or no gold
Could dress me up so good
You're the glitter in the darkness of my world
Just tell me what to do
I'll fall right into you
Going under cast a spell just say the word
I feel your love
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Postcard: au bord de la mer

SYarhi france 9748 Postcard: au bord de la mer

August
15
2014
Postcard: au bord de la mer

Au bord de la mer, somewhere along the coast in the Pays de la Loire, France. We brought sandwiches and water, the beer conveniently forgotten at the house. We tried to walk along the beach but the rocks cut up our feet. I took pictures of these two women beside us, one topless the other not. They were so familiar to the scene they almost became part of the horizon. We tanned and played in the water and then it was time to go back to where we’d first met.

Pays de la Loire, France— June 2014.

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Fashion: Zoe Lee

SYarhi zoe lee 7565 Fashion: Zoe Lee

August
12
2014
Fashion: Zoe Lee

Today, I’m so excited to be featuring Zoe Lee, shoe designer based in Paris, and juicy tidbit she was born in the T.O.! I’ve been fashion stalking Zoe since I was first introduced to her line by the coolest, Elise Pioch of Maison Balzac in Sydney. She’d just had delivered the most beautiful custom shoes from Zoe who she’d stumbled upon in the Marais last time she was in Paris.

SYarhi zoe lee 7595 Fashion: Zoe Lee

It was love at first sight for me too. Zoe’s shoes elude to bygone eras, a lil Louis IVX, a lil mod, and a lot gorgeous! I jumped into her store and ambushed her, well she was expecting me another day, and she so graciously gave me the mini tour. I could live in the entire collection. It’s that perfect balance of beautiful workmanship, artistic design and yet something you’d want to wear every day. May I introduce, Zoe Lee!

SYarhi zoe lee 7584 Fashion: Zoe Lee

How did your own line come about?
I had been working as a shoe designer in house and as a consultant for about 10 years when I thought about perhaps doing a small collection on my own. I asked the advice of a friend and colleague (she was my product developer on one of my consulting jobs) and she was so enthusiastic about it (perhaps more then me even!) that I felt it would be silly not to try. One thing led to another… And now it seems I have a full blown collection that I am responsible for every season. My colleague is now also my business partner… It was more timing then a huge ambition to do my own thing.

SYarhi zoe lee 7605 Fashion: Zoe Lee

Moving to paris to find a brick and mortar was a bold move, how has it changed your business?
Again another unplanned thing. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to contemplate too much which I am glad about… It’s great to meet my customers, not just the buyers for wholesale, but actually the person who’s buying my shoes. It gives a clearer perspective on what I am doing because my designs should be defined by my customer to some degree. The shop also allows me to experiment, do small projects. By cutting out the middle man I’ve created far more flexibility. I can do limited editions, keep prices modest and have an honest quality product to offer.

SYarhi zoe lee 7581 Fashion: Zoe Lee

You have so much face time with the clients, as the designer does this propel you forward and/or how do you cope?
Sometimes good sometimes bad. I have help in the shop now so it’s better. But I really enjoy being in the shop on quiet days getting on with work selling the occasional shoe. I try to do the mornings. It’s a nice routine.

SYarhi zoe lee 7613 Fashion: Zoe Lee

Are the rumours true, do you do custom work?
I can do custom work but I haven’t really done much so far. I do not do bespoke but I can do made to order.

What era of fashion/design would you say influences you most?
I am not really influenced by era’s. I am interested in culture and colour and texture. I don’t like to romanticise about the past, I prefer the future. I like to find interesting leathers and material and find new ways to present them so that they don’t remind you of something seen before but rather something new.

SYarhi zoe lee 7609 Fashion: Zoe Lee

SYarhi zoe lee 7601 Fashion: Zoe Lee

who do you most want to see in your shoe, and which one?
I like seeing my mother in my shoes. I usually make to order in bright or sparkly metallic leathers for her.

High heel or flat for yourself?
Flat and a mid height (75mm) is good for me.

SYarhi zoe lee 7612 Fashion: Zoe Lee

Tell us your favourite haunts (patisserie, lunch, dinner and place to boogie) in Paris
Lunch at Nanashi (rue Charlot)
Dinner Au Passage, 1 Bis passage Saint Sebastien I’m more into food then a dancing… I don’t really do bars in Paris but if in London then the Groucho or Blacks on Dean Street.
There’s a brilliant cheese shop near metro Saint Paul that I go to a lot…

SYarhi zoe lee 7603 Fashion: Zoe Lee

Parting thoughts and what’s in the pipeline?
Unisex boot and a small line of bags. Also launching a couple of exclusive styles for the shop in Oct.

SYarhi zoe lee 7606 Fashion: Zoe Lee

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Postcard: Northern Light

SYarhi northern lights 0767 Postcard: Northern Light

August
11
2014
Postcard: Northern Light

Dreaming of the weekend… I just love that slice of moon.

Snapped: on the road, northern Ontario, Aug. 2013.

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Breakaway

I'll spread my wings
And I'll learn how to fly
Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway

Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway, breakaway, breakaway
Release Breakaway
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