Anyone who follows fashion will have heard of Isabella Blow, the iconic stylist who was fixture on the UK fashion scene. She was known for her fantastic wardrobe, purchasing Alexander McQueen’s entire 1992 St. Martin’s College MA collection and launching his career.
As part of a fund-raising initiative for the Isabella Blow Foundation, Guinness has brought part of Blow’s collection, as well as a few piece from her own extensive wardrobe, to The Bay at Yonge and Queen in an exhibit entitled Fashion Blows.
The fund-raising part was a swank dinner, for the rest of us, the exhibit is free to view, set up throughout The Room, the Bay’s upscale fashion boutique. Blow’s well-worn pieces (complete with stains and cigarette burns – she didn’t believe in keeping fashion for special occasions) include many items by McQueen, as well as Galliano, Gaultier and Dior. It’s a beautiful selection of Blow’s memorable pieces (most with her famous Phillip Treacy hats) and the styling fully captures her spirit.
I haven’t worn perfume for years. Nothing scented really, if I can help it, unless it’s of the all-natural essential oil variety. Allergies and chemical sensitivity see to it that pretty much anything with fragrance gives me a splitting headache.
I don’t mind this especially, as I think most people who wear scent wear far too much of it, but there are a few perfumes that I love and would love to be able to wear again.
At the top of this list would be Chanel No° 5.
I wore Chanel when I first moved to Toronto in the late 80s. Chanel was huge in the club scene then and the perfume was the closest I was ever going to get to a suit or a bag. It was a glamorous scent, not overwhelming, pretty but also mysterious.
I went through perfume phases and had a few favourites after I abandoned Chanel up until I had to stop wearing all fragrances or risk making myself sick. I hadn’t thought about that lovely square-cut bottle for years.
When I was a wee thing, one of my greatest delights was stopping at the bakery counter at Simpson’s where my Mom would buy me a gingerbread man. Simpson’s was an old Canadian department store, at that time paired with Sears (old folks referred to it as “Simpson-Sears”), and then later bought out by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
The bakery and candy counter at the Simpson’s store in Halifax was right by the main doors that opened onto the city bus depot, convenient for anyone who had to switch buses to get to where they were going.
In those days, upscale department stores stocked a huge variety of sweets, particularly penny candy, and as a kid, it was a place of true wonderment. I’d clutch my gingerbread man tightly all the way home, careful not to let an arm or leg break off before I could eat him.
At some point in my early teens, Simpson’s moved to the other end of the mall, and Sears took over the space, removing the candy and bakery counter and forcing a bit of a trek for anyone who wanted a gingerbread man or a bag of Chinese Chews for the bus ride home.