Tag Archives: Accessories

Fashion Know-How: Key Tips to Picking the Perfect Accessories

Early into my high school days, I discovered that there is a real talent in picking the perfect accessories.

In my view, I was unceremoniously moved from the local co-ed public school (read: where there were boys) and sent to an all-girls high school. Few people are truly confident entering Grade 9, and even fewer can pull-off a self-assured look wearing a blue tunic, grey knee socks and navy loafers

Certainly, not me!

Picking Perfect Accessories Cindy Goble Scarves

The theory behind a standard school uniform is that it takes the “what am I going to wear” decision making out of early mornings. The standard puts everyone on a level fashion playing field. However, even in those days, the trendy girls could assert their fashion style with accessories (as long they did not push the boundaries too far).

Picking Perfect Accessories Cindy Goble Scarves

Do you have a foundation wardrobe?

Fast forward to the working world realities of the morning rush, business travel and a limited shopping budget. This often translates into a wardrobe that gravitates towards the fundamentals. Weekday essentials might include a white blouse, a stylish black suit (or pants and a blazer) and a sensible pair of black heals. Evenings and weekends might mean dressing-up in that perfect little black dress or chilling out over a latte wearing your favourite pair of jeans.

Picking Perfect Accessories Morija Reeb earrings frost leaves

Fashion tips for picking perfect accessories:

Once you have built the foundation of your wardrobe, it’s time to project your style with the right accessories. Add a flash of colour over a neutral top with a scarf. Catch someone’s eye with the bling of a contemporary designer jewellery piece. Choose a bright handbag to carry the essentials or as a statement piece.

Picking Perfect Accessories Leather handbags Sophie Christine Vonbun

We have created a downloadable e-guide to help you pick the perfect accessories. This booklet will dispel some of the challenges behind selecting the perfect handbag and the “must have” jewellery.

Picking perfect accessories Black-Gold Memory Necklace Anastassia Sel

Is it time for a closet make-over?

Are you starting a new job?

Are you trying to cull an unwieldy wardrobe?

Sign-up for our newsletter here and we will send you the free e-guide for picking the perfect fashion accessories.

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Fashion Tips Picking Perfect Accessories Style Guide

Travel Tips: How to Enjoy a Vancouver Weekend by KOTI Designs

Atelier creator Kaarina Talvila of KOTI Designs has lived in Ontario, Zimbabwe and Victoria, but there is no question Vancouver is her home. We all know that Vancouver is beautiful, but her description will make you want to move to this west coast metropolis.

A cyclist rides through Jericho Park #Vancouver @MyVancouver

“I absolutely love living in Vancouver and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Vancouver is a place with the perfect balance between big-city amenities and the outdoors. It’s a short five-minute walk to the beach from my house, and I have a forest at the end of the road, but I can also get right into the centre of the city in about half an hour. Inspiration comes easily when you live in a place where you’re surrounded by the serenity of nature, but also have access to top-notch museums, galleries and a vibrant craft community. And of course, there’s also a strong Asian influence in Vancouver which has definitely had an impact on my design sensibilities.”

Beach sunset friends #Vancouver @MyVancouver

Kaarina founded KOTI Designs in 2004. In the last five years, she has focused (full time) on her creative pursuit. The KOTI Designs silk evening bags are a reflection of this lady’s mathematical mind meeting her creative self. Read the background on KOTI Designs here.

Sunset silouettes people at beach #Vancouver @MyVancouver

Ask a local how they would spend the perfect Vancouver weekend?

Coffee at Nelson the Seagull in Gastown. This café has a small but excellent menu in a lovely old building with wooden floors, high ceilings and a bakery in the back.

Gastown Streets #Vancouver @MyVancouver

Lunch at La Taqueria, downtown on Hastings Street (right in the vicinity of two of my favourite fabric stores!). A tiny hole-in-the-wall place with a big selection of bite-sized pinche tacos. There is always a line-up, but it moves quickly.

Edible Canada under Granville bridge @EdibleCanada

Dinner at Edible Canada headquartered at Granville Island Public Market. This restaurant is where locals, visitors, professional chefs and passionate foodies congregate to experience the best in BC and Canadian cuisine. Edible Canada is a big promoter of innovative Canadian cuisine. All their food is locally sourced, and they have a great patio (for dinner or anytime).

Edible Canada Dining Room #CanadianFood @EdibleCanada

Edible Canada Food #CanadianFood @EdibleCanada

Iconic Vancouver – It’s almost a cliché now, but I think the Stanley Park seawall epitomises Vancouver. It provides views of all the disparate elements that make up the city. Stanley Park has views of the downtown skyline, the working port, the ocean, the forested mountains.

Vancouver, BC Canada #Vancouver @MyVancouver

Stay here – I’ve never stayed at the Granville Island Hotel, but I’ve always thought it would be the perfect place for visitors. It’s right in the city, but being on Granville Island, it’s surrounded by the waters of False Creek with all its marinas and small water taxis. As well, all the great restaurants, theatres and artists’ studios of Granville Island are right outside your door.

Don’t miss this insider experience – If you spend any time in Vancouver, you have to go hiking. Skip the Grouse Grind and instead, do the Sea to Summit hike on Howe Sound. It’s 7.5 km with a 900-metre elevation gain. When you reach the top, you can relax over dinner and a drink with a fabulous view. Afterwards, take the gondola down.

Image credits: Photos provided by and published with permission
Cover Photo:  Seaplane over Coal Harbour – Tourism Vancouver
Photo 1: A cyclist rides through Jericho Park – Tourism Vancouver
Photo 2: Beach sunset friends – Tourism Vancouver
Photo 3: Sunset silouettes people at beach – Tourism Vancouver
Photo 4: Gastown Streets – Tourism Vancouver
Photo 5: Edible Canada under Granville bridge – Edible Canada
Photo 6: Edible Canada Dining Room – Edible Canada
Photo 7: Edible Canada Food – Edible Canada
Photo 8: Vancouver, BC Canada – Tourism Vancouver

How Designers are Turning Rocks into Beautiful Gemstone Jewellery

Classifying Gemstones

Talk about a rock-hard job! A gemologist must wade through a detailed analysis to arrive at a classification for a rock. Their conclusion after reviewing  colour, clarity, hardness and refractory qualities determines the relative value of a stone.

Even today, gemstone classification follows a methodology first invented by the Ancient Greeks. The analysis starts by dividing stones into precious and semi-precious piles. The precious gem group includes sparkling diamonds, red rubies, icy sapphires and green emeralds. The list of semi-precious stones is extensive.

The problem?

“There is no universally accepted grading system for gemstones.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Inert. Stable. Perpetual.

Powerful. Influential. Transforming

Hocus pocus?

Maybe, but there is a strong belief foundation behind the dominant properties of stones.

From the American Gem Society website:

“According to folklore and stories throughout history, many gemstones are thought to offer mystic healing to its wearer.”

For the fashion crowd here is what Elle Magazine had to say:

“Despite what you might think, touting the “healing” properties of gemstones isn’t just a fleeting Hollywood trend reserved for Miranda Kerr and um, Spencer Pratt. Gems and stones have been believed to hold metaphysical properties, alter our moods, and remedy a spectrum of ailments for thousands of years.”

Whether you are a believer or not. It could hardly hurt to add one of these fabulous gemstone jewellery pieces to your accessory collection.

The Powers of Gemstone Jewellery

Colleen Poitras’ significance bangle marks the power of gemstones by acknowledging life’s milestones and the need for a little luck around your wrist.

Significance bangle moonstone @ColleenPoitras

Erinlaura harnesses the strength of rough cut stones with dainty gold filigree to craft harmony in her pendants.

Collins Necklace #Jewellery @Erinlaura #MadeinCanada

Anastassia Sel remodels old-style ring settings with stunning non-traditional stones.

Aurora Ring #Jewellery @AnastassiaSel

Gemstone Qualities

What stone to buy? Here, are some details on a few of the semi-precious stones in their gemstone jewellery collections.

Purple Amethyst @ColleenPoitras

Amethyst is quartz. A crystal that calms the wearer and brings a closer connection to inner thoughts. The stone creates a deep awareness (especially if worn during meditation) and a sense of protection. This gemstone helps to banish negative energies. The Greeks believed the purple amethyst to be a “sobriety stone” associating its rich burgundy colour with Bacchus (god of wine). February babies this is your birthstone.

Black Onyx @ColleenPoitras

Black Onyx – Persistence and healing this is the stone to wear to that challenging client meeting. The impenetrable dark stone improves both focus, dedication and retention. Black Onyx might be a good choice to wear to your next exam or budget meeting. Perhaps a gift for a student.

Chalcedony @ColleenPoitras

Chalcedony is known as the Speaker’s Stone. The stone of someone who reflects upon the impact of their words before speaking. This light blue stone absorbs negative thoughts and energies. A nurturing stone for a friend.

Labradorite @ColleenPoitras

Labradorite this stone is bewitching and transforming. Facilitates magical powers and clear a path through the haze of memories and desires. Having trouble remembering your dreams? This stone provides clarity, improved communication and tempers negative feelings. Maybe you should get one for everyone in your office.

Moonstone @ColleenPoitras

Moonstone associated with the moon and the goddess Diana. A gemstone for the ladies, it encourages reflection and inner exploration. Moonstone is a good luck stone, offering protection and increased fertility.“ According to Hindu mythology, moonstone is made of solidified moonbeams.” (source). The adularescent nature of this stone with made it a favourite of 1960’s flower children. Moonstone continues to charm designers.  This stone is an excellent choice for the ladies on your shopping list.

Rose Quartz a bit like rosé wine this gemstone can vary from pale to dark pink. However, in this case, it has nothing to do with the length of time spent on grape skins. Prized by ancient cultures, archaeologists date rose quartz jewellery specimens from Iraq to 7000 BC. Revered for centuries, rose quartz is a healing stone. A love stone.

Rutilated quartz @ColleenPoitras

Rutilated Quartz a clear quartz peppered with Golden Rutile increases creativity and balance your energy chakras. Trouble sleeping? Worried about ageing or life’s road blocks this attractive stone will help bring clarity and centre your thoughts. This stone may even improve your love life.

Watermelon Tourmaline Union Necklace #Jewellery @AnastassiaSel

Tourmaline is a quartz stone. These crystals run the gambit of the colour spectrum from clear to black. The stone of luck, love and positive energy. A watermelon tourmaline gets its name from the green exterior and red interior, like the melon. Wearing a black tourmaline stone might just bring you more luck than playing the lottery.

Smart Designer Shopping for the Uncomfortable Realities of Travel

Unfortunately, the glory days of travel are long gone; glamorous overland excursions, plush ship berths, expensive china and silver flatware remain legends of past voyages and dreamy novels. Although, you can still find handcrafted leather steamer trunks, smart cosmetic cases with shiny buckles and monogrammed hat boxes – in flea markets.

Travel Air #TravelTips @Atelier_boutiq

Today’s reality of airline limitations on baggage weight, size and quantity force you to pack wisely. Standing in the queue at airport security, balancing your laptop, spare change and shoes, is usually enough torture to ensure that you do not select more than the absolutely necessary items for your trip.

Mediterranean Boat #TravelTips @Atelier_boutiq

However, black suits and white shirts are boring.

Essential Poncho @ArtiganiMilanesi

At Atelier, we have travel solutions for your next voyage, accessories to brighten up your suitcase without adding weight or bulk. Here are some smart shopping ideas for your next out of town business meeting:

Essential Cashmere Cardigan this Italian tailored sweater will keep you warm on the plane or in the conference room. Available in multiple colours.

Essential Cardigan @ArtigianiMilanesi #cashmere

A stunning 100% silk scarf by Morija Designs, is easy to pack and will dress-up with any outfit.

Smart Designer Shopping Travel Silk Scarf

Eye-catching and comfortable to wear jewellery like the Collins Necklace or the Matter Series Ring in stainless steel will steal the show at your next client appointment.

Collins Necklace #Jewellery @Erinlaura #MadeinCanada

 

 

Inspired by Art Deco KOTI Designs Luxury Silk Evening Handbags

“Home” in Finnish is KOTI, the name that Kaarina Talvila chose for her company. For her, it is a fitting name linked to memories of her mother who first taught her how to sew. KOTI Designs is also evocative of the fact that Kaarina is very settled in her adopted city of Vancouver, a place where she has lived since 1980, and the fact that she is at home (literally and spiritually) in her studio.

Silk Canister Purse in Violet and Cream Silk @KOTIDesigns

 

We were curious about the KOTI Designs story; from geology to silk handbag design. Kaarina Talvila achieved a major in geology from the University of Toronto and subsequently worked for a Fortune 500 company in computer support for mining exploration – mapping and data analysis. Now, she creates geometric patterns for silk evening bags and finishes them on a 35-year old on Viking sewing machine.

Silk Canister evening bag in Steel Blue and Chartreuse @KOTIDesigns

 

When did you start KOTI Designs?

I started KOTI Designs on a very part-time basis about twelve years ago (2004), when my children were in elementary school, but I didn’t turn it into a full-time undertaking until about five years ago.

Why did you start KOTI Designs?

Despite the early career in a science-based field, I’ve always been a creator  – right from childhood. In fact, I took time off from my software work to go back to school to do a crafts program, but I never thought it was a viable career choice. When I was a stay-at-home mom, though, with children in school all day, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to pursue, finally, the creative life I’d been wanting for as long as I could remember.

Square silk Purse Red and Purple @KOTIDesigns

Can you tell us about the crafts program?

I already knew how to sew, thanks to my mother, as well as high school Home Economics classes and years of sewing my clothes. Before starting my new venture in earnest, I took a two-year hiatus from my software career and attended Capilano University for their craft program, which encompassed weaving and surface design, as well as drawing, design and art history.

How did you learn to work with silk?

When I was at Capilano University, we got a good grounding in working with all natural fibres, both for weaving and surface design.

Why do chose to you work with silk?

When I was doing table linens, I was using natural linen because of its durability, but for my evening bags, silk was the only choice. Silk is elegant and lustrous. It represents refined quality and still has an aura of the exotic. And, most importantly for me, silk is unmatched for rich and vibrant colours.

silk-evening-bag-half-moon-shape-in-black-and-scarlet-and-gold @KOTIDesigns

Your designs are inspired by Art Deco and the Japanese aesthetic – what is it about bold, precise patterns that speak to you?

Art Deco is very geometric, and that’s me with my math and science background. My designs are very controlled and precise, but also minimalist, and that’s where the Japanese aesthetic comes in. I love the balance and apparent simplicity of Japanese design.

Can you describe your workshop (atelier)?

I have a lovely studio space. It’s on the second floor of my home in West Vancouver, with windows that look out over Burrard Inlet and a walk-out deck. I’m a bit cramped for space, but the beauty and serenity more than make up for that.

silk clutch evening bag in black rust and red @KOTIDesigns

How long does it typically take to make a bag?

I usually make the purses in batches of four or five – do all the cutting, then all the sewing, etc. It’s much more efficient than doing them one at a time, but if I were to work it out per purse, it would be about 3.5 to 4.5 hours, depending on the style.

The beautiful KOTI Design bags are made from fine silk cloth and fabricated with an exacting eye. The full collection is available here.

Image credits: Photos provided by and published with the permission of KOTI Designs