Here’s the ultimate “rock concert” – if you like gorgeous gems and baubles, then this is the show for you.Big thank you to Salim Moorani, Founder of The Gem Expo, for inviting me to come out to the spring show which opened today at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on King W in Toronto – show runs tomorrow, Saturday Mar.17th 10am-6pm and Sunday Mar.18th 10am-5pm. www.thegemexpo.com Salim greeted me at the door along with his charming wife and daughter (below) and then let me wander the aisles, meeting up with vendors and gem ambassadors.I was pleased to run into the lovely folks from Sonatona Natural Gemstones & Minerals (below) who I met last year…they’re always ready with a smile and willing to share their extensive knowledge about their precious and semi-precious stones. www.stores.ebay.com/sonatona Lots of ready made jewellery as well as loose gems for crafters and home bead-makers…. One new vendor I was delighted to meet was Deb from Karibu Beads, featuring hand-made Kazuri Beads from Kenya. The story of these beads is fascinating so I encourage you to visit www.karibubeads.com to learn more. Here are just some of the gorgeous colourful beads I saw…. The Gem Expo also features some stunning glass work, too, including these giant “crystal balls” and some spooky stone skulls. Groovy, baby! How about some fossils? Check out these prehistoric shark teeth…yikes!Meet another new vendor, Ryan Desantos of Laya Skye Jewelry (below). He brings in handcrafted designs from Bali and I particularly liked the amazing “floating” rings that are all sterling silver with a rotating element so you can fiddle away and calm your nerves with them. One of them almost fit…I was soooo tempted. His new website is currently under construction but do check it out next month: www.LayaSkyeJewelry.com More fabulous bling…..what’s a girl to do?! Lots to see and buy so come on down this weekend – most vendors take credit cards and Debit cards/Interac, plus there are cash machines in the hotel.
Last Sunday & Monday, Montreal-based jewellery designer, GLORIA BASS, welcomed celebrity visitors from the Canadian music industry and theatre, capping off her 2-day Christmas trunk show held in the heart of Toronto’s Yorkville village. She brought her unique designs made from 18kt gold and the finest precious stones and pearls to a special “pop-up” gallery, just in time for Christmas.
2016 Grammy-nominated Canadian flutist and composer RON KORB (above right) dropped in with his wife, Jade (above centre, with Gloria’s assistant Marie-Josée at left), to check out potential red carpet gems for next Spring’s awards season (Ron may be nominated again in 2017). Having been photographed by the world’s entertainment media when they walked this year’s Grammy red carpet in Los Angeles, Jade & Ron know the importance of wearing just the right accessories to make an impact and Gloria’s stunning, unique designs will definitely make an impression. Jade tried on some lovely freshwater pearls (above) and listened as Marie-Josée explained the handcrafting process of one particular white gold necklace featuring black Tahitian pearls, diamonds and rubies…wow!
Jade also loved the 18kt gold & diamond necklace (pictured with Gloria, below), part of a special line designed for Canada’s Remembrance Day programme in the form of poppies.A little later that same day artist, playwright and actor PHILIP CAIRNS (below) dropped in – Philip has recently been nominated for a Broadway World Theatre Award and was looking for something with which to make a splash at the upcoming ceremony. Marie-Josée showed Philip a number of pieces but he soon spotted a stunning Prasiolite & ruby pendant in 18kt gold that he thought would make a fabulous accessory to his awards tux…and it seems that Gloria thinks so, too! Several established clients of Gloria’s dropped into the pop-up store located on Yorkville’s Bellair St, and considering the number of sales, me thinkst Santa is gonna need a bigger sleigh this year!
Gloria would like to thank everyone who dropped into her Toronto trunk show and she looks forward to welcoming new clients via her online gallery. If you would like to see more of her beautiful designs and one-of-a-kind handcrafted works, please visit her website: www.gloriabassdesign.com
In the meantime, here are a few more sparkly gems to whet your appetite including my fave earrings (centre pic) featuring Tourmalines and Diamonds in 18kt gold, and the perfectly matched string of delicate pink “ombre” pearls (bottom).
On Sunday Nov. 27th, Montreal-based award-winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS launched her 2-day Christmas trunk show at 24 Bellair St in Yorkville, Toronto, and oh my, what wonderful bright sparkly treasures she showcased! Like the stunning Labradorite necklace above, each piece is unique and hand-crafted by Gloria and her goldsmiths so if you’re looking for a little luxury for this year’s festive season (or any season!), please drop in today, Monday Nov. 28th, between 10am and 5pm to experience the ultimate in bling! Here’s just a little taste of what you’ll see……Gloria only uses the finest quality gemstones sourced from around the world and works in 18kt gold; she also works with exquisite pearls from the south seas, Tahiti and freshwater or cultured pearls from Japan. You can see more of her innovative designs on her website: www.gloriabassdesign.com She also works on commission, as well as custom bridal pieces.As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of pearls and Gloria has created a special “ombre”style design (below) with perfectly matched Tahitian and South Seas pearls….what do you think of these beauties?There are many different pieces featuring South Seas, cultured or fresh water pearls set with precious stones in 18kt gold from which to choose…
You simply MUST come in to see these treasures in person. You will not find Gloria Bass Design jewellery in any department stores so today is your last chance to view work from one of Canada’s leading designers. Again, 24 Bellair St, Yorkville (close to Bay & Bloor) from 10am until 5pm. Cash, credit card or debit.
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.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. I’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.I 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…What 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.What 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.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.You 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!Do 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)!!What 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. Any 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….. Even men can wear pearls…as cufflinks (below)or opals, too!
GLORIA BASS DESIGN
Toronto Trunk Show
Sunday November 27th & Monday November 28th
10am to 5pm
24 Bellair St, Yorkville
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. Flo 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.I 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. 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.”Some 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.”
When 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. One of Flo’s clients is the Canadian actor, playwright and entrepreneur Nonni Griffin seen below getting the full Flo experience! If you want to learn more about this wonderful and talented woman of influence, please visit her website: www.flobaroncollection.com
I spent a lovely time this evening attending the cocktail reception introducing the stunning jewellery from Brazilian designer ANA KHOURI. The ARCHIVES store is located at the n.w. corner of the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville (Toronto) and offers other fine jewellery designers as well as fashion & home accessories, fabulous sunglasses, mens’ accessories and even glam tableware. So armed with my trusty flute of bubbly, I strolled thru the store enjoying the precious and semi-precious bling on display so join me for a quick virtual visit to www.archivesltd.com/
Lots of celebs wear Ana’s designs, esp. her ear cuffs – Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o and Cameron Diaz have all sported Ana’s baubles on Hollywood red carpets…. Archives represents a number of other int’l designers such as Iradj Moini who designed the fabulous Aventurine brooch worn by one of the lovely sales associates (below). …and their fashion accessories are exquisite, too. I fell in love with a couple of pairs of sunglasses, both quite outrageous…which pair should I get? Archives’ designer home accessories would fit perfectly in any chic uptown loft or condo…check these out. Wow! So definitely drop in and say hi next time you’re in the Yorkville neighbourhood…the staff will be delighted to show you around and chat about the designers represented in their store.
As my regular readers know, I have a real love affair going with this picturesque town located about an hour east of Toronto. Port Hope offers a welcome respite from the hub-bub of the big city – the Ganaraska River runs thru the historic downtown, the stores carry fashions, accessories and nic-naks that cannot be found in the big box chain stores of Toronto and the people….well, they are what make Port Hope such a delight. So friendly you’d think you were in Mayberry. Even the local policeman waved at me yesterday when I was taking photos of the main street (Walton St) as he drove by. So come take a virtual stroll up Walton Street with me….. (all websites linked at end)My best friend, Erena, and I always make our first stop at the charming Queenies Bake Shop (pictured above – far right end of bldg) for a “tinkle and a tea”…LOL The young ladies behind the counter and Adam the master baker/owner always make sure we’re well nourished so check out yesterday’s treats…yummmm While we sat and devoured our goodies, I overheard an interesting conversation at the next table and before you know it, I’m chatting with Port Hope Councilor Robert Polutnik and the town’s Marketing Manager Kevin Narraway. I shared my love of their town and how I’ve become an unofficial ambassador for the stores and points of interest….hopefully I can add my voice to the tourism siren’s call for Port Hope. I wouldn’t let them leave Queenies without a paparazzi shot so here’s Mr. Narraway (l) and Councilor Polutnik (r). No visit to Port Hope is complete without a visit to the king of bling himself, Kenneth Bell, whose store is packed to the rafters with fabulous jewellery, accessories and fashion items. And so our spending spree began. Here’s Erena with Ken after dropping a load o’ cash for gloves, scarves and sparklies – no wonder Ken’s smiling…LOL! Loved the cute toques with fur trim and the cute little owl pendant (below)…very on-trend, and very affordable. Next up, while Erena was buying up shoes from Gould’s, I wandered up Walton Street to visit the colourful Holton Florists (below)…isn’t this pretty? They even had mini Kangaroo Paw wildflowers from my home (Western Australia) – the red and yellow ones below. I dropped in quickly to say hi to the ladies of Bubbles and Gems (below) who I visited back in the summer. Lots of groovy sparkly things and I even shot a video so log on to this YouTube link and take a trip down their aisles…. http://bit.ly/1jQPF7K A block or two further up Walton, I discovered the best smelling shop in town – Joie de Vivre! Owner Diane showed me around the shelves and introduced me to a new line of Canadian-made hand and body products called Barefoot Venus and I purchased their new Maple Blonde body lotion. My skin is now smooth as a baby’s bottom and I smell like a maple syrup latte…yummmm. I went looking for Erena who had found the motherlode of fall fashions at Susan Dewhurst, a fabulous ladies’ fashion and accessories boutique. The brightly coloured sweaters & socks were displayed along the walls while racks of well-priced designer separates offered a wide variety of wardrobe choices. Erena really injected major funds into the local economy there!!! No wonder owner Susan (bottom left) and her associate Tammy (bottom right) had big smiles on their faces. Erena also did some serious damage to her credit cards over the road at G. Facey, another great store offering top of the line fashions for men and women. Owner Teri-Jo has become a friend after two previous visits that helped empty her shelves..haa haa.After 5 hours in Port Hope’s finest shopping establishments spending like two drunken sailors on shore leave, Erena and I had worked up a real appetite so where did we go to end the day? Olympus Burgers….seriously these are the yummiest, biggest and freshest home-made burgers and fries you could ever imagine. No wonder the locals tell everyone to go there. Thanks to owner George (bottom pic) and his staff for taking such great care of our grumbly tummies. I was going to take photos of the burgers as we ate them but we devoured them so quickly (and we needed both hands to eat!) that all I can share with you are the plates as they came out of the kitchen.
If you want a fun day trip out of Toronto where you can find fashions, home accessories, antiques, shoes and food that you cannot find in the city, then Port Hope is the place for you. Head E on the 401 past Oshawa and it’s probably about 50 mins from the GTA. They have a lovely beach, beautiful heritage houses to admire and…the friendliest residents who make you feel right at home. Lots of community events, festivals and family activities, plus the turn-of-the-century Capitol Theatre (below) that presents amazing big name entertainers. In fact, my friend, Mike D’Urzo, is presenting his mystical and amazing Mega Magic show there on Oct. 30th.
If you’d like to check out the places in Port Hope Erena and I visited, here are their websites (and tell them Glenda sent you):
What a grey, rainy day dawned here on the 4th day of the Toronto Int’l Film Festival (TIFF). I have no “official” screenings or soirees to attend so what to do…what to do? Earlier last week, I had received a lovely invitation from ARCHIVES [ http://www.archivesltd.com/ ] an exclusive concept store located in the new Four Seasons Hotel a few blocks away, so earlier this afternoon, I grabbed my umbrella, put on some bright lipstick and headed out to see their gorgeous new luxury bling… join me now for a virtual visit.
Fernando Jorge: the Brazilian-born jewellery designer takes inspiration from the laid back attitude and effortless sensuality of his home country. Fernando’s pieces are imbued with energy and movement – his aesthetic is inherently Brazilian. Having gained an international media following, the designer is widely considered to be amongst the brightest emerging talents in the jewellery and fashion worlds alike. His collections can be found in the most prestigious stores in London, Paris, Beirut, New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, as well as online.
Noor Fares: the young London-based designer is known for her exotic, mythical, hand-crafted jewellery. Noor’s admiration for beautiful objects started as a young child, obsessed with her mom’s jewelry box. After studying art history and jewellery design, she combined her passion for art with her love of adventure by launching her first line in 2009. Noor fuses modern fashion with old world tradition, using a diverse range of materials like diamonds, sapphires, white gold, and rhodium. Her creative aesthetic is rooted in her Lebanese heritage – most of her pieces are engraved with an eye, the Lebanese tradition that protects the wearer from all things evil.
Archives also carries a number of great purses from Les Petits Joueus, including this awesome black and red piece that would go perfectly with an outfit I’m wearing to one TIFF party this week….Don’t you just LOVE these purple hats from London milliner Philip Treacy – exclusive in Canada to Archives:I’ve always been partial to fine china and ceramics and Archives has a range of Meissen Couture home decor pieces…I love the birdies (below) that have no function other than to amuse. I also found the Meissen historic “helmets” (below) rather intriguing…looks like another Roman invasion!
I didn’t realize until I was told by the store staff that even the chandelier and wall sconces were Meissen….wow! They carry some cool men’s accessories, too, although I couldn’t grab a good photo without reflections…but definitely worth a look-see.When the store first opened, I remember seeing this fabulous mannequin that the store staff blinged out with mirror shards…look at her now, all chi-chi poo-poo !In-house designer Jaleh Farhad Pour creates stunning earrings and I have my eye on a number of pairs – guess which ones (below)….pair on bottom row, 3rd from left has my name all over ’em!The store also brings in some natural bling…love these carnations and orchids, all colour-coordinated.
…and if you’re looking for some great reading specs Archives carries the See Concept glasses in various colours, frames and vision levels, starting at $49…so you can get a two or three pairs! Do you like the blue pair I’m wearing?
They also have cool sunglasses from Illestiva (below) so pick out your fave movie star look and away you go to the red carpet.So much to see, so much to drool over! And you can enjoy all these in person if you drop in to Archives on Bay Street yourself (the NW corner of the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville) between now and Sept. 20th…check out the invitation below.
Thanks to the Archives staff for showing me around…..see you all soon.