Tag Archives: fashion accessories

My new addiction….south-western style purses from COWGIRL BLING WESTERN BOUTIQUE!

Several weeks ago, I started seeing posts on Facebook from a Texas-based boutique featuring stunning (and very affordable) purses, totes and fashion accessories featuring hand-tooled leathers, fringes and the most exquisite south-western Native American woven fabric designs.  I watched online as business owner Hannah Leib presented her own QVC-like live showcase of a variety of purses and totes…and I was hooked! RaeHaving grown up with horses & ponies in Western Australia (at least that was as western as I could get as a kid), I’ve always wanted to be a cowgirl and each year when I visit Arizona, I get pretty close to my dream. Now, thanks to some inspired purchases from Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique, I can live the Annie Oakley life here in downtown Toronto via my fashion accessories.

I recently spoke with Hannah and asked her to share her story….

Congratulations on your new website, CowgirlBlingWestern.com, where anyone who loves south-western style can find gorgeous purses, totes, wallets and accessories. What inspired you to launch this fashion business?  Thank you! I was recruited to join the Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique a little over a month ago. The whole thing was brought about by happy circumstances, and I was just lucky enough to have met the right people and be available at the right time! The business has been exclusively an online boutique with sales being conducted through Facebook lives. We decided that a positive shift for the business would be to offer a website where customers could shop at their leisure or review a product that had been shown on the Facebook live. Wrangler Photo Shoot (2)How do you find and choose the purses you carry? Are they all American designed and made?  Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique has carried a variety of products, but we are currently focusing on western designed purses, wallets, clutches, etc. that are produced by the company, American Darling. Western fashion dates back to the early settlers who explored the southwestern United States. While we have modernized western elements, we are committed to providing high quality and affordable pieces all across North America.HarlowShimmerCodi WalletI understand you were a Rodeo Queen – for which State and what were your official duties?  I was honored to represent the Evergreen State as Miss Rodeo Washington 2019. State titleholders travel around the country and within their state to help educate the public and promote the sport of rodeo and western industries. When schools were in session it was not uncommon to have a presentation from a local titleholder, see a friendly queen doing a hospital visit, or greeting guests at westerns events. As a rodeo queen we wear many hats so to speak, but my favorite way to combine my passion for education and my love for rodeo was through my platform: #HatsAndHearts – Promoting Rodeo and Agriculture One Hat and One Heart at a Time. I was able to cultivate educational presentations, videos, and connections during my year as Miss Rodeo Washington that I took with me to the Miss Rodeo America stage last December in Las Vegas, NV. It was an honor to walk away as 1st Runner Up and open a new chapter in my life.MRW 19.Has that rodeo royalty honor inspired or heightened your fashion sense and your new business?   Oh my gosh, my style has totally changed! I never wore styles that were “out of the box” before, but that is all a thing of the past now. My favorite part about western fashion is that you really can’t make a mistake. There is so much texture in the patterns, products, and styles which offer more variety in the day to day that you simply cannot get from other fashion genres.KaylaTell us about your horses?  And have you sought out matching bags and saddle blankets for your customers?  I have three horses: Willis, Tater, and Moose. They are all different colors, sizes, and they all have different jobs however each horse’s personality is very distinct. I like to pick out a color that best suits a horse’s color and attitude, and it’s easy for that to carryover to helping my customers. Being able to help find products that best bring out their personal style and attitude is really the biggest perk! MRW 19You’re located in Texas – can Canadians purchase your bags and accessories? Absolutely! We’re able to ship internationally and our website offers shipping options so that customers from all over can choose their preferred shipping method.at the post office (2)Do you plan on expanding the brand, adding more items to the catalogue?  We’re definitely planning to expand the product selection! Our big focus in the coming months is to find unique western jewelry and fun graphic tees. We are open to suggestions and mainly want to provide the best customer experience we can!turquoise earringsHow can people follow you on social media?  The best way to see what’s new is to follow our Facebook page (Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique) and to follow us on Instagram. If you want to see what items we currently have in stock and ready to ship today just visit: www.cowgirlblingwestern.com

Thanks, Hannah, and I hope all my fashionista friends visit your website and find their own fabulous cowgirl bling!  This past week I purchased a few more items as Christmas pressies for friends and family and my own latest prized purse from Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique is this stunning orange design (below) which is perfect for brightening up a grey Toronto winter’s day.
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Amethyst and Tahitian pearls

AWARD-WINNING JEWELLERY DESIGNER GLORIA BASS TO PRESENT CHRISTMAS TRUNK SHOW IN TORONTO

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Montreal-based, award winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS (pictured below R with her assistant Marie-Josee) who was hosting a special 2-day spring trunk show here in Toronto.20160515_133859(0)Her sumptuous big statement necklaces, delicate stacking rings, ballsy bracelets and elegant pieces featuring stunning Tahitian pearls in a rainbow of natural colours captivated my imagination…..I wanted to play dress up: perhaps as a Maharani or a Tsarina, a princess or the queen of the south seas, perhaps? Oh, the feel of the cool gemstones and 18kt gold against my skin transported me to exotic lands as my imagination ran riot!

A glass of chilled champagne and shared laughter soon brought me back down to earth as Gloria told me about her design esthetic, her favourite materials and finest precious gemstones, and how she wanted to personally bring her glorious (no pun intended) jewels back to Toronto’s discerning fashion mavens.20160515_133757 20160515_133746I’m thrilled to announce that we will have another opportunity to experience Gloria’s superb handcrafted designs this November 27 & 28 when she again hosts a special Christmas trunk show in a “pop-up” retail location in the heart of Yorkville.Nov Trunk Show adI asked Gloria if she would kindly share a little of her design philosophy and life story with my readers prior to the big Toronto event so scroll on down to meet Gloria Bass…banner1What first inspired you to take up jewellery design – was your family involved in jewellery or fashion?  No, my family was not in either the fashion or jewellery business but I always enjoyed working with my hands. When I was a teenager, I made my own clothes and did all the handicrafts – knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, etc. Early in my marriage, my husband and I spent two years in Southern California where I took a course in making jewellery. I went on to take private lessons for a short time and fell in love with it.Photo1What was the very first piece you created and sold?  I can’t remember the first piece I created but I do remember the first sale at a gallery!  Upon returning home to Canada, I set up a workshop in my house. When I had produced enough, I went to see someone at the Canadian Guild of Arts in Montreal and an exhibition was mounted for me. I remember coming in to the gallery the day before the show opened and was told that a gentleman had just purchased one of my bracelets. That was enough to send me flying……and then I found out that it was Peter Bronfman!

What are your favourite materials to work with – gold, platinum? And favourite gemstones?  18 karat yellow gold is my favourite material by a long shot! I love the rich colour and the metal responds the best to hand fabrication.Photo (1)My personal favourite gemstone is red! Rubies and red spinels. But I love all coloured stones – even though some are difficult to work with. Diamonds always add the final touch and lately, I work with a lot of different colour fancy diamonds.Ruby fringe with pearlsYou use a lot of Tahitian pearls in your designs – do you think pearls have been given a bad rap (grannies love their pearls) and do you think young women should embrace them like diamonds and other precious stones?  I most certainly do!!!! There are so many types and colours of pearls today. Pearls just light up a face and look good on everyone. I do so many different pieces with them – some very modern and cool!collection-gloria-titillium_15Do you have any favourite designers (current or historical) whose work you admire?  I think the Cartier and Tiffany pieces from the Art Deco period are sensational. That type of craftsmanship is very rare today. I identify with Suzanne Belperron’s esthetic taste. I also like the work of the German house ‘Hemmerle’ as well as de Grisogono for what they do with colour.

You’re coming into Toronto at the end of November for a special 2-day “trunk show” in Yorkville – what new pieces are you creating especially for this show?I’m making an amazing pair of earrings using over 23 carats of sapphires ranging in colour from almost white to yellow to orange. Also, I have a fabulous ring with a 22 carat opal and a pavé of multi-colour stones, a ring with a labradorite scarab, and a lot of pieces with my signature “coil” work. And always….new additions to my endless stacking rings (pictured below)!!s-rWhat trends (or colours) do you see for jewellery and accessories going into 2017?   I don’t follow trends too closely although I think big pieces that make a statement are always on my radar. I will continue to make pieces that are wearable on a daily basis but just not mainstream.Image-1 Pearls_watermelon tourmaline & green diamondsAny advice for young designers looking to go into the jewellery or gold-smithing business?  It’s a tough world out there and there is more competition than ever now. If one has the passion and drive, one can succeed.

Thank you, Gloria.  I encourage you to visit her website to see the beautiful, innovative designs that have become her signature www.gloriabassdesign.com   In the interim, enjoy some of her outstanding work here….. necklacesIMG_7098Even men can wear pearls…as cufflinks (below)MG_01062or opals, too!MG_00412

Gloria makes sure our men look elegant, too.IMG_7311See how women are wearing Gloria’s designs….
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GLORIA BASS DESIGN

Toronto Trunk Show

Sunday November 27th & Monday November 28th

10am to 5pm

24 Bellair St, Yorkville

www.gloriabassdesign.com

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MEET FLO BARON, FASHION STYLIST TO HOLLYWOOD STARS AND NOW TORONTO’S WOMEN OF DISTINCTION!

A couple of months ago, I was pushing my cart up the aisles of my favourite supermarket and kept running into the same lady reaching for the same products. We both laughed “we gotta stop meeting like this…” then began trading nutrition recommendations and handy menu suggestions as we hit the fruit & veggie dept. together. She was delightful and had a wicked sparkle in her eyes. I had just met fashion powerhouse and stylist to some of Hollywood’s great old-school stars, FLO BARON.  bf1b00_fc6f7ba492fd4571b29f6d13d52d74d3-mv2Flo and exchanged phone numbers and promised to meet for tea, and within the week I found myself sitting in her super glamourous Yorkville condo surrounded by artworks collected over many years and her elegant black and white furnishings. Very Busby Berkley, very Flo Baron! Flo not only loves styling women in fashions that compliment and enhance their body shapes, she also offers opportunities to purchased some pretty stunning designer lines from the States. She has an adjoining private “salon” and holds court each week with an exclusive group of clients, putting together their outfits, accessorizing and offering wardrobe tips.20160819_134852I asked Flo to share a little of her background and fashion career and she revealed some wonderful stories and anecdotes that I’d like to share with you here…..

Although her family wasn’t involved in the fashion industry, Flo Baron always knew she was destined for a life surrounded by beauty, design and creativity. As a young girl in Chicago, she dreamt of fabulous fashions and always appreciated the feel and look of fine fabrics. Flo won a scholarship to secretarial school where she excelled but fashion always beckoned, perhaps she would become a model. Her idol was Jinx Falkenburg (pictured below), one of the highest-paid cover-girl models in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.Jinx Faulkenburg In the early 50’s, Flo answered a newspaper ad from a modeling school who wanted someone to teach make-up, personal grooming and dress styling to women going into the corporate sector for the first time (yes, these were pre-Mad Men times). She landed the job and taught hundreds of young women how to present themselves in the most fashionable manner for their 9-5 jobs as well as cocktail parties.

Moving to California with her husband in the mid 50’s, Flo’s life took an exciting turn when she landed a job in the dress shop at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel. She helped style Hollywood’s most glamorous stars of the day including dancer and movie star Cyd Charisse, Dorothy Lamour, Elizabeth Taylor and even Zsa Zsa Gabor who would frequently drop in and demand Flo bring her everything on the racks in her size! “Polly Bergen walked in one day wearing a full length mink coat. She put her arm around me, winked and whispered “I did it all by myself!” What a fabulous lady she was.”bh hotelSome years later, after a brief stint as a production secretary on a popular TV show, Flo became intrigued by interior design and decorating. “I love anything with an artistic value, anything that was created by an idea in somebody’s mind.” So along with a friend, she soon launched a home accessories and bathroom design business. Flo loved intricate fixtures and bathroom furnishings so she soon had every garage mechanic in San Fernando Valley working with her to handcraft her metal bathroom, tabletop and furniture designs. After the successful debut of her line at a Los Angeles trade show, she opened her own factory, hiring a workforce of skilled craftspeople to produce her line which was sold in the US,  Canada and internationally. After 40 successful years, Flo sold that business and in 2005, she moved to Toronto to be closer to her daughter.

Over the past ten years she has developed relationships with a number fashion designers from New York, California and Canada. Flo has brought back these lines with her to share with friends and personal styling clients. Due to her background in fashion, décor and design, Flo has developed a loyal following of clients who look to her for guidance with their clothing choices, as well as purchasing unique and affordable fashions that she personally curates for each client’s wardrobe. “I love helping women discover their true inner beauty and elegance by enhancing their appearance with clothing and accessories that are not only timeless but very affordable.”

20160905_144857 20160905_162628When you visit Flo Baron’s style studio, you will enjoy a personalized wardrobe consultation, and get to try on various fashion pieces and accessories to enhance your own personal style.  Whether you need something casual, a business outfit or an elegant ensemble for that swanky soiree, Flo can put together a head-to-toe look that will make you feel like a million dollars…but with a much more affordable price tag. She has also just launched a “young & chic” division catering to the younger fashion followers and coordinated by her assistant Michelle, seen below assisting another client. 20160905_144916One of Flo’s clients is the Canadian actor, playwright and entrepreneur Nonni Griffin seen below getting the full Flo experience!IMG_20161005_162252 IMG_20161005_161907 IMG_20161005_164509If you want to learn more about this wonderful and talented woman of influence, please visit her website: www.flobaroncollection.com

And check out these gorgeous scarves for fall that just arrived in the salon, as well as some great bling to accessorize your own outfits.20161007_130144 20161007_130610 20161007_130622 20161007_130628 20161007_130637