Rozaneh’s moving out

The above Toronto spring outfit was brought to you by Marilyn Hartley of Rozaneh, a secret hiccup of a vintage shop near Queen and Dufferin — the Valentino polka dot full skirt, the Giorgio Armani ‘Le Collezioni’ blazer. (The vintage Trinidad & Tobago touristy boy’s tee? Err, that’s my own.)

For the local second-hand hound in the know, Marilyn has served the community with her quality vintage — Peter Max scarves, Mary Quant textiles, beautifully embroidered Victorian piano shawls (and have you seen her knits? Totally out-there). Her customers are loyal because she always seems to have a Sonia Rykiel tee or Comrags bodysuit on hold the next time you pop in (which always begins with “I thought you might like this..” in between cigarette drags), and you’re entirely welcome to sit for a chat and discuss favourite Comme de Garcon collections while the jazz radio station softly plays.

So it’s a total downer to learn earlier this week that due to a SIZABLE rent increase, Marilyn will be packing up and moving out from her Queen West location after only a couple years (she was a College and Ossington establishment for ten years before that).

But have no fear — Marilyn’s hosting a month-long sale that’s kicking off today. Sure, the rain doesn’t exactly pull you outside, but when has that ever stopped you in discovering high-end vintage?

Rozaneh Closing Sale – March 29th to April 30th, 2009
442E Dufferin Street Studio E (just North of Queen/South of Dundas, TTC bus stop at Alma) Thurs 1-8pm, Fri & Sun 1-7pm, (Or call for appointment, 416-703-6818)

– Rea McNamara

Canadian vintage want: “La Parka” coat

Any Canadian who grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s will probably remember the Linda Lundstrom “La Parka” as the prototypical suburban-hockey-mom-driving-the-mini-van-to-practice coat. It’s a type of outerwear that has faded from the Canadian style consciousness, perhaps only remembered in passing as a mid-80s innovation when it was reported that the veteran Canadian designer went into bankruptcy last year (rest assured, her company was bought by silent investor, Eleventh Floor Apparel, and will be showing at Toronto’s LG Fashion Week later this month. Will we see a new and improved “La Parka”? Who knows).

As Canadiana nostalgia increases — in the 90s, we embraced the Inuit parka, in the 00s, it seems that we’re hungry for HBC blanket coats — I’m starting to re-evaluate “La Parka”. The suburban mom qualities are drifting, and I’m becoming attracted to it’s long shapeless silhouette (so Japanese!) and it’s deliberate re-imaging of the parka (which in the 80s, was a very outre winter statement to make).

“La Parka” is a bit of a technical innovation as well, with a double-layered coat system that reflected the fickle nature of Canadian weather. The inner coat was usually a wool duffle with a zip running down the front and complimented by “no tears fur” trim (mid-80s, and faux fur was still gaining acceptance as a viable real fur replacement). Lundstrom built relationships with the Northern Native community, and often had this inner coat accented with a decorative native motif designed by an inuit artist. The outer coat was nylon shell that was wind-proof, machine washable and could be removed and worn separately as a raincoat (and this was all before Mountain Equipment Co-Op). Isn’t this all so practical? When you look at it now, doesn’t it seem so current and relevant for today?

Yeah, i thought so too. Which is why “La Parka” is now on my list of Canadian vintage wants. If anyone has any eBay leads, holla atcha gurl.

(Pencil drawing scanned from Caroline Routh’s In Style: 100 Years of Canadian Fashion).

- Rea McNamara

Toronto Star says: Worn Fashion Journal isn’t your typical style rag

Another day, another press clipping: exactly a week ago, the entire Worn staff (editrixes, wornettes, the lone husband and cats) met up at the ‘office’ (which you now know is really a “third-floor flat in the outer reaches of Parkdale”) for their 15 minutes with the Toronto Star.

Photographer Lucas Oleniuk dropped by first, and I’m sure that a bunch of well-dressed ladies was a bit different from his usual oeuvre (he does war, disasters and Olympics). But he was incredibly gracious, and gave us helpful portrait tips for future reference (best one: to get that flattering soft focus Barbara Walters lighting on our faces, we were told to look up to the ceiling at a light fixture).

Everyone pulled out their best dress, thus proving the axiom that atypical style rags keep company with atypical stylish folk. Laura Wornette (we prefer that than ‘intern’) had these brilliant mustard yellow tights on that compare to other yellow tights we were aware of, does not make your legs look jaundiced. Sarah, our assistant editor, brought out a 1950s vision that belonged to her grandmother. And I myself made a detour to Rozaneh (all my fine things were in dry-cleaning), borrowing (but subsequently purchasing) the 1960s shift I’m wearing (spot the curly hair girl with glasses).

Journalist Tabassum Siddiqui does a bang-up job describing Worn, not to mention giving an actual portrayal of the blood, sweat and tears that goes into each issue (note: the volunteer staff, the $5000 budget/issue, and once again, the “third-floor flat”). She also offers a great sum-up of what we do:

Part zine, part academic journal, part style book, Worn manages to combine a vintage sensibility with modern design, largely eschewing advertising in favour of striking artwork and photography, and quirky articles (past stories have focused on everything from the environmental impact of dry cleaning to the history of mannequins).

Thanks, Toronto Star! Oh, and before I forget — Tabassum and Lucas? That little party we’re having: two open slots have been penciled in with your names (don’t forget to wear the red!).
-Rea McNamara

NOW says: Why don’t you replace your Vogue with Worn Journal?

In Toronto, there are two alternative weeklies. (Full disclosure: I write a style column on a now monthly basis for EYE Weekly. It’s called Inspiration Point, which hijacks the fashion product shot as an ode to particularly obscure cultural references.) The other venerable alternative weekly is Now Magazine. Their style/design authority is a gentleman by the name of Andrew Sardone, who is a tireless supporter of the local scene. He often wears the impeccable bespoke tailoring of rising Canadian designer Philip Sparks, and also chairs the “personal fundraising pet project” Buy Design for Windfall, a service that assists homeless and emergency shelters with new clothing (we hear on the Twitter line that this year’s Barbarella inspiration will one-up last year’s Studio 54 theme. Hello, pretty pretty!).

Imagine Worn Journal’s surprise to see that our recent issue was considered required style reading this week:

Books are great, but fashion people are magazine people. Since Vogue has fallen out of favour, fill its spot on your magazine rack with the Worn Fashion Journal. The Canadian indie rag’s seventh edition is full of quirky articles and editorials on spandex, photo-realist weaving and alt prom style ($6, Freedom Clothing Collective, 939 Bloor West, 416-530-9946,

Mr. Sardone, thank you. If you’re coming to our Heartbreak Karaoke Fundraiser Party next month, we’ll be sure to keep an open slot.
-Rea McNamara