THE BITE: An amuse-bouche of fashion news

Beauty from tragedy, courtesy of Mira Becker. Story by Anne Pringle.

Designers take on the oil spill
About five months after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the leak has finally been capped, but oil is still causing damage along a 965-kilometer stretch of coastline. Many fashion designers have turned their talents to supporting this environmental disaster, such as high-end Brooklyn footwear designer Bed Stü, who created a limited-edition line of faux-oil stained “Gulf Coast Cleanup Shoes.” Kenneth Cole released T-shirts reading “I clean up well. Support the Gulf”, and German designer Mira Becker recently debuted two silk, ribbon-strapped cocktail dresses patterned with digital prints of the actual spill. The proceeds from the frocks will go to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation. (Wall Street Journal)

H&M on the Champs-Elysées
This week H&M opened the doors to its newest flagship store on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. The building holds address number 88 and was designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel. It all sounds very impressive, but success came only after a small battle for the third-largest retailer in the world: There was some debate as to whether the store would be in keeping with the posh feel of the avenue. In the end, the fact that the H&M will be carrying its collaborative line with French fashion house Lanvin as of November 23 (46 more sleeps!) probably helped its cause. (WWD)

Kanye’s model melody
You know high fashion has gone mainstream when… Kanye West raps about it. In case you haven’t heard it, his new song “Christian Dior Denim Flow” drops the names of 21 models in a single verse. Among those mentioned by the style-savvy musician are Lara Stone, Jessica Stam, Coco Rocha, Alessandra Ambrosia, Abbey Lee and Doutzen Kroes. (MTV)

The Fashion Show
Bravo had such success with the launch of Project Runway that they attempted to re-create the hit series with The Fashion Show. After just one season, the show failed to produce a lot of buzz, so they’ve stepped it up for season two. Former judge and host Kelly Rowland is being replaced by the more experienced Iman, and will be joined on the panel by designer Isaac Mizrahi and Laura Brown from Harper’s Bazaar. Sounds promising so far… (NY Mag)

THE BUY: Best of back to school

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Jacket ($49.50, at Dynamite), inspired by a certain Clueless character.

After a summer of sandals, sundresses, and socializing, September is the perfect time to reset and get serious.

This week on The Buy, we’re going all the way back to school. Whether you’re starting your year at university, college, high school (or you just like to look smart), fall’s best fashion is collegiate chic with a grungy twist. (Think cardigans paired with combat boots.)

We checked in with our favourite students of all time, from Blair Waldorf to A.C. Slater, to bring you their best back-to-school styles, with all items available in Toronto.

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THE BUY: Military chic

Story by Caitlin Agnew.

For Fall 2010, designers sent their troops marching down the runway—literally—in military-inspired getups. From Balmain to Burberry, never has there been an army so stylish. Crisp details and muted colours are perfect for back-to-school fall chic and also lend some much-needed structure after a summer of lace and free-flowing maxi-dresses.

Military style also allows for versatile fashion strategies. Channeling your inner Napoleon?  It’s brass buttons all the way. Take back the uniform and make it your own, mixing pieces from all eras of combat and fashion.

Here are our favourite military-inspired pieces, from $8 to $4,900, and all available in Toronto.

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THE BUY: May flowers

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Illustration of the Reality Bites cast (sans Ben Stiller) by Cleo Kendall.

The Buy is celebrating the arrival of May flowers with a look back to our favourite ’90s flower child: Winona Ryder as Lelaina Pierce in Reality Bites. A hopelessly romantic Gen X-er, Lelaina chooses passion and poetry over Porsches and prosperity, all in the name of love and good conversation. (Who could forget “You, me, and five bucks?”)

This spring’s floral-print craze is a welcome throwback to mid-’90s hippie-chic, with delicate blossoms sprouting everywhere from Prada to Betsey Johnson. A patterned dress, an embellished shoe, even a lipstick case—adding a floral piece is an easy way to inject seasonal colour, femininity, and trendiness into your wardrobe.

We’ve chosen our top 10 floral pieces, all of which are blooming right here in Toronto.

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the H&M party

Photography by Natalie Castellino.

On Wednesday night, the H&M at the Eaton Centre held a big, shiny party to celebrate its revamped space. Media mixed with preferred shoppers, and everyone enjoyed both a 25 percent discount and some serious people-watching. We’ve narrowed down our picks for the night’s top 10 looks, and our favourite elements within each ensemble.

Favourite elements (left): The proportions of the silhouette—the long jacket, high waist, and just a touch of floral shirt showing; (right) The amazing turquoise jacket.

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