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Diary | Vancouver From My Driver’s Seat

A sponsored post. 

Just like Oprah, The Anthology and MINI Richmond have teamed up to give you a car. And not just any car, but your favourite MINI. (Click here to enter to win!) My favourite MINI is the little Roadster pictured above, which I’m test driving before it ends up in one of your hands.

It’s a convertible so I’ve been doing a lot of driving with the top down lately. Roofs are so overrated.

These are a few shots I grabbed of my very pretty city (Vancouver!) as I was cruising around town (don’t worry, mom, I pulled over before I started snapping away).

I might love the beach on sunny fall days even more than during the summer. Kits, at least, is calm — quiet, even. And oh so pretty.

And with a MINI Roadster convertible, you can sunbathe without even leaving your car.

Want to win your own MINI for a year plus a supersized MINI adventure from MINI Richmond? (Of course!) Click here to enter. Then up your chances by sharing your entry on Facebook and Twitter @MINIRichmond (#MINIadventure). Good luck!

Style | Inside TOPSHOP Vancouver, the brand’s biggest international store

Topshop’s biggest store outside the UK — all 33,000 square feet of it — opens today in The Bay on Granville Street in Vancouver.

“I’m still getting lost in it, I can assure you,” said managing director Mary Homer when I stopped by yesterday to get a first look at the space, which houses Topshop’s specialty boutique, a petite section, tall section, maternity wear section and gigantic shoe section. Plus, a personal shopping suite.

After my tour I sat down with a few of Topshop’s top people and here’s what they had to say…

Mary Homer on the pre-opening jitters 

It gives us such a sense of pride that people are excited for Topshop. You hope that people are going to love Topshop but until people actually come through the door and buy, I’m always a little nervous about the reception.

Mary Homer on how the web’s changed the game

You’ve got an online business and it’s brilliant, but the stores have to be even better now. Our customer is quite interesting because she will go online and look and then she’ll visit the store and buy.

Talk to teenagers and ask them if they’re going to shop online and they say “Oh no. I want to go shopping, I want to have lunch, I want to try things on.”

Topman creative director Gordon Richardson on women shopping the men’s section

You shop Topman? Please say yes. [Well I will now that I’ve seen the sweaters – Kelsey]

A lot of women shop Topman because it’s just good, great clothes, it’s like weekend clothes. Put on a sweater or a big blanket-looking shirt with a boy blazer or a boy jean and it kind of works.

Gordon Richardson on evolving men’s fashion

I think men just haven’t been let free yet to explore. We were just talking earlier that it’s taken us 10, 12 years to build brand credibility within Topman. We needed to make it a cool brand and we needed to improve the product, which I think we’ve done and we’re now at this point where we’re a fashion-led brand every bit as good as Topshop is for women.

Gordon Richardson on what it’s like being creative director

It’s about the creative brushstroke that I have across everything, which is a great role but quite exhausting sometimes.

The stakes are higher, the pressure is there to get it right. There are some things that don’t work as well but you can’t run a fashion business on everything being right. Fashion is about creativity and constant change so you have to run with that.

Gordon Richardson on the big picture

You have to think globally now as well because we’re such an international brand although we’re very British-focused, a lot of our imagery and our look is British. Obviously we’re now going to have now consider international markets.

It has a very British slant this season with all the fabrics and tweeds. The tweed is actual Harris Tweed and I don’t think there are any other brands at our level working with it. It’s woven in the outer Hebrides, north of England. It’s proper traditional cloth gentlemen used to wear to hunt, and shoot and fish.

London calling? Put it on hold and head to Topshop Vancouver instead.

P.S. Follow The Anthology on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll be the first to see behind-the-scenes photos.

P.P.S. You’ll find all The Anthology’s interviews with the likes of designer Rachel Roy, J.Crew’s design directors Tom Mora and Frank Muytjens, and New York-based artist Jason Young right here.

Style | A Few of my Favourite Shots from Freedman Shoes’ F/W 2012 Campaign Shoot

After the concept creation and the location scouting and the wardrobe direction and the posing and the smizing and the shooting, the work really begins. How, for example, do you choose which of the above photos of blue suede shoes you love more? (No really — guess which one we picked.)

You saw the behind-the-scenes pics from Freedman Shoes‘ fall/winter 2012 campaign shoot photographed by David Fierro, styled by Luisa Rino, designed by Dawn Newton, and directed by yours truly.

Now these are a few of my favourite shots and outtakes. Especially the one on the left which features one of the industry’s freshest faces, my girlfriend Kylie’s toddler Mya.

And these two featuring my dog-in-law Lola, whose tongue really is that long. They didn’t all make the cut, but they all have a special place in my heart. Like my favourite shot from Freedman’s spring 2012 campaign, which I now have hanging on my office wall.

Thanks again, team Freedman! That was fun!

[Photos by David Fierro.]

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Pinstagram | Bright Lights and Big Skies

The Anthology’s Pinstagram column marries the dream (Pinterest) and the reality (Instagram).

Pretty in… The RACHEL Rachel Roy dress I wore to interview the designera pink bow I’d wear everywhere.

Red squared. A model getting made up before the LOULOU Magazine event at Metropolis at Metrotown + a pair of red shoes that almost perfectly match her hair colour.

Natural beauty. An arrangement from a wedding (congratulations Matt and Megs!) + a place I’d fall in love with.

Graceful greys. Joe Fresh’s moody fall palette + a moody evening sky.

Bright lights. Martha Sturdy’s illuminated orb sculptures (available at Provide) + an illuminated model.

Sunny side up. Sunflowers for a September baby (happy birthday, Elisa!) + a not-so-sunny cat.

Crown jewels. A vintage varsity sweater that would be a gem if it weren’t from a rival high school + some paper gems.

Big sky. Life under the open sky in my MINI Roadster convertible (which you can win, by the way!) + life in the even more open sky.

P.S. Follow Kelsey Dundon on Pinterest and Instagram, or if you prefer a more traditional route, add The Anthology on Facebook and Twitter.

Style | The Name is Rachel. Rachel Roy.

If you had 15 minutes to ask Rachel Roy anything you wanted, what would you ask? When I sat down with the New York-based designer before her appearance at The Bay in honour of her fall collection, I asked her about Oprah, interning and time travel…

You have described RACHEL Rachel Roy as the younger sister of your designer line. What do you love most about designing it?

Because I was that girl growing up, I have a very kindred spirit to her. I really respect her. I understand that just because she might not be able to pay $500 for a dress she wants fashion and she wants what she sees in Vogue or the magazines that she reads. She wants better options so it’s really important to me to respect that and give the options that I am able to give within a certain price point.

What if you could speak to yourself when you were “That girl?” If you could travel back in time to give yourself a piece of advice when you began your career as an intern at Rocawear, what would you say?

I would say, “Good choice. I’m proud of you. You’re confident enough, thankful enough and capable enough to work for free simply to be in an industry that you’ve been dying to be in.”

Advice I would give to myself would be to have a point of view and stick to it. I definitely do that now and I think I’ve done that since my 30s but sometimes in your 20s you learn it if you’re not taught it right away. Having a point of view that you truly believe in – and sticking to it no matter who’s doing what in your personal life or your professional life – the world at large will have more respect for you if you actually have a story that you live.

In addition to your success as a designer, you’ve become a staple in pop culture with appearances on Oprah and Project Runway and celebrity clients like the first lady. What is it that most amazes you about what you’ve accomplished?

I’m just doing what I’m good at. I’m not good at a lot of things, but I think that everyone is good at something. When you’re good in the arts, it’s not something that – when you go through the public school system in the United States at least — it’s not something that you’re taught. So you can think “What the hell am I good at? What’s my gift?” And a lot of times you don’t learn that until you’re much older.

For me, that was knowing my gift was being able to take my surroundings and make them, to the best of my ability, visually as stimulating or comforting or pleasing as possible. That would be even with homes – I would go into friends’ places and help them shift stuff. In college I would be the girl that my friends would ask to come clean out their closets. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I say that to say we’re all good at something and when you can figure that out great, and it really doesn’t matter what you’re getting paid because your soul is happy.

[My dress c/o RACHEL Rachel Roy, my purse and necklace are both vintage.]

Diary | Behind the Scenes of LOULOU Magazine’s Shop Till You Drop Event

Hurry up and wait. That’s show shop business. Along with the team from LOULOU Magazine and my lovely assistants Katie Burnett and Amy Podrasky, I styled the Shop Till You Drop trend presentation at Metropolis at Metrotown last night.

Which meant plenty of backstage beauty touchups.

And pulling $1000 worth of Forever 21 accessories. (Do you know how many $6 rings and $8 necklaces that is?)

Certainly enough to accessorize our models, who wore (from left) True Religion, BCBG, and Forever 21, with shoes from BCBG. Cute, huh?

P.S. For as-they-happen photos follow The Anthology on Facebook and Twitter.

Trippin’ | Disneyland for Grownups

You know how everything these days seems to be described as “Disneyland for grownups?” Well what if you go to Disneyland as a grownup, and not as a chaperone for small children? In this guest post, my sister Larissa does just that…

On a recent trip to California we were flying through LAX and I thought, why not stop in Anaheim for the day and have a date at the happiest place on earth? Would Disneyland actually be as happy as I remembered?

I hadn’t been to the mother of all theme parks since I was a small child. Turns out Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain are just as exciting as I remembered, though Space Mountain was even more terrifying. You know what’s changed though? The lines. Sometime between my childhood and now, they introduced the FastPass which means you can choose to skip certain lineups by inserting your ticket, getting a new one, and coming back later.

Kids these days really do have it all.  Then again, so do grownups.

Diary | Hanson and Data at the PNE

I must be part carny because there’s nothing I love more than going to the PNE (Vancouver’s exhibition and fair) at the end of every summer. What’s not to love? It’s the land of ferris wheels and ring tosses…

…deep-fried Oreos and $25 hot dogs (I’m not even exaggerating).

Oh, and also these guys. Who you probably recognize from 1997. Or maybe you don’t because Taylor and Zac Hanson are no longer in their tweens (nor is their eldest Hanson brother Ike) but they are as delightfully boy band-y as ever.

You want to know what was the trippiest part of going to the PNE this year? It wasn’t sitting on the bridge of the Enterprise at the Star Trek Exhibition (though I got a real kick out of that), it was hearing grown men sing “MMMBop.”

Thank you, Team PNE, for such a fun evening!

P.S. You know where 2012 has 1997 beat? You can follow The Anthology on Facebook and Twitter @TheAnthology.

Style | Fall Fashion Trend Presentations

When I sing karaoke they turn down the volume on the microphone. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen here.

This weekend, like last, I’ll be at Metropolis at Metrotown sharing a few of my favourite fall trends and tips for wearing them. So when you’ve shopped till you’ve dropped, come say hi — I’ll be in the Love It or Lose It Lounge at 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00 on Saturday, August 25 and Sunday, August 26.

I promise I won’t sing.

[Photo by Amy Podrasky.]

Diary | Vintage Chanel at Secret Location

Photographer Trevor Brady snapped some gorgeous shots at Secret Location’s vintage Chanel party. Like the one above where I’m concentrating so hard on that little photo I’m snapping I didn’t even notice he was snapping one of me. (Snap out of it, Kelsey!)

My perforated leather dress is by Literature Noir, suede shoes by Elizabeth and James, hairband by Deepa Gurnani (at Libertine), my eel skin clutch is vintage. On my ladyfriend Laura (on the left) is a pleated drop-waist dress by Rag and Bone and shoes by Alexander Wang.

Thanks, Michelle, for sending these shots my way!

[Photos by Trevor Brady]

P.S. Snap to it and follow Kelsey Dundon on Instagram.