OFW-Amber Watkins

Photo: Ming Wu

Ottawa Fashion Week hit the ground running with the first series of shows last night. As expected, the work of  Ottawa's remarkable, but somewhat isolated crop of independent designers, showed alongside some of the big hitters in Canadian fashion. I was able to catch a few of the shows last night and rub elbows with some finely-dressed people in the newly revamped, and extremely impressive, convention centre. There is so much gorgeous design going on in one place at one time, it is hard not to be inspired.

One of the shows I was really excited to see was by designer Amber Watkins. who's line of colour-by-number swim suits were a palpable joie de vivre. In Amber's world, there is no spring-its straight to summer. Her suits are perfect for the cheeky beach bunny, who wants to show a little cheeky, while hitting  a vintage note.

I caught up with Amber in the midst of all fashion chaos to find out some inside information about the designer.

In a fire, I would grab: my Diane von Furstenberg boots. I literally did so the last time my building's fire alarm went off.
Wardrobe envy: Toughie. I am really digging Emma Stone's red carpet style lately. Rachel Bilson's casual wardrobe is really amazing though.
Extravagance: Probably beauty products. I will spend stupid money on miracle creams. I am sure they do absolutely nothing, but I at least feel like I'm putting in a solid effort.
Beach Essentials: Sexy body oil. joking!!! giant shades and sangria. 
Fashion Citation: A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future.
Favorite Film: Batman films- minus the terrible one with George Clooney that should never be mentioned.
Signature cocktail: Dirty vodka martini. It's kind of an appetizer too. I appreciate a multitasking beverage.
Guilty pleasure: See above.
Style quirk: I don't know if I have a quirk. I'm really, really good at finding great deals. I don't usually spend very much money on clothing, which allows me to have an extensive wardrobe.

last week

A few pictures taken last week. 
Hanging out in westboro with friends after hours smoking cigarettes and talking about the perceived struggle we call life. My pup sitting pretty post OFW Judith and Charles launch party in Rideau centre. Basking in beautiful autumn light. Celebrating birthdays. Drinking absinthe


HM denim, veromoda blazer, diba shoes
Someone told me a few weeks back that I should stop creating for perfection and start creating for fluency. They were referring to my writing and art-making. I like this advice. A lot. I've been giving and taking a lot of advice lately. Seems like all my bitches be having problems. But, I like problems. I like helping people figure their issues out. Not because I think I'm Freud, but because I like smoking cigarettes with people and talking about the truth. I like my own problems too. They have become as dear to me as my shadow. I go through periods of roller-coaster heart palpitations and I often wish my probelms away, but who knows where I'd be or who I'd be without them.  

Speaking of roller coasters, I had this strange dream last night that I was famous for falling out of roller coasters while they were running their course, and surviving. I would go on all different types and attendants would assure me that they strapped and secured me in. But, like clockwork, after one loop-de-loop I would slip out of the harness or seat and come barreling towards the ground, only to land on my feet.

If this isn't some kind of strange sub-concious metaphor, then I don't know what is. x


a short musical interlude


Juergen Teller
W, February 2007

malignant optimisn

image from the film daisies

The people in Ottawa know how to take a dig. Think about it. Across the country other Canadians think we have no taste, no style and no fun. We’ve been coined the place that fun forgot and labeled the most unsexy city in Canada.  Most recently we were blacklisted as one of the worst-dressed city in world. It appears that we have been seared by not one scarlet letter, but by a triad of Bs - boring, bureaucratic and bland.

We’ve got to face the facts. The odds are against us.

Population. Ottawa’s inhabitants consist mainly of civil servants mindlessly punching in and out of offices that generally resemble pine boxes with peep-holes.  

Location. We are in the middle of two of the most energetic and culturally diverse cities in Canada. Considering that we already battle against ongoing identity issues (*however this might be a Canadian-thing, not just an Ottawa-thing), we are clearly geographically positioned to have a superiority complex as well.

Attitude. The most significant reason we are always under attack for our lack of elegance, I believe, is our overpowering sense of optimism. At first you may think, what is this crazy blogger talking about? Optimism is a good thing, no? Well, not is you want to be stylish. Seems like the happy-go-lucky people of Ottawa, always seem to think that life is just coming up roses, while in fact, most are blind to what makes a city, and a population, in vogue.

The cynical are stylish because they don’t give a damn.  They are so disenchanted by society that the rules seems hardly worth following anymore. Freed of simple-minded optimism, the cynical are critical, complex, independent and rebellious – all the elements of great style. Fashionable people fundamentally do not consider the moral and social dogma that ties so many unstylish people up in knots. Thoughts such as ‘I wonder if the print of my skirt is too much?’ ‘will <insert loquacious co-worker’s name here>  say something about the height of my heel?’ ‘I hope my boss likes my tie’ would never cross the mind of a cynic.

I think to be chic you must have no great optimism in the natural state of things. You must forgo fact— such as this matches, this doesn’t match, this is in season, this is out of season— and replace it with notions, ideas and conceptualization about style. Natural beauty should become something to take pruning shears to.  If architecture enables us to appreciate the landscape of a city, liberated from practical concerns, fashion should do the same for the citizens.

check your mask at the door

Pricked by love’s pointy thorns, our femme fatale encounters the taste of calamity and the faints of love lost.

my ceiling. my floor.

letters for lost lovers

 I just rediscovered these images I had saved on my computer a few years ago, 
They are of from an exhibition called Letter to Clair by photographer Patrick Swirc

For more than two months Patrick Swirc wrote a letter in the form of a diary by taking a photo everyday for Claire, the loved one who had left him. He made no secret of his hope that she would come back. This letter 
\was intended for her, and she received it.

My dearest Claire,
In this letter you will find all my grief, poured out each day into a picture.
I photograph myself. I am saving what no longer exists.
I want you for eternity.
text via
images via

lyrical love

Madly in love with these lyrics.

If I die clutching your photograph,
Don't call me boring, it's just that I like you.


ellery lookbook ss11