Mini Bags

Several designers have down-sized their handbag offerings this season. The French fashion houses in particular love the idea of a mini. You may think that a mini bag is decorative but useless. I have changed my thinking after purchasing a beautiful aqua leather mini bag in Como. First, a la francais.

French Design

Louis Vuitton delicate, pretty mini pink and burgandy Capucine can be handheld or worn crossbody. It comes is variety of leathers or skins and many colour combinations. The mini Viv by Roger Vivier is bold and structured in black and white with 2 compartments and pockets inside to organize your small stuff. Finally the Hermes mini Halzan in sapphire. The bag of a thousand forms. When you see how many ways this bag can be worn and how stylish it looks you will want to save your cash for this investment bag!

Italian Design

My mini bag has the width to hold a full size wallet, iphone, keys and lipstick. For social occasions not much else is necessary. My mini bag has 2 handles as well as a detachable cross body strap. When I use my mini bag for work it needs a companion tote. I use my Longchamp tote for all the work week necessities.

Italian Haul

I’ve been back for a couple of weeks from my trip to Italy and as always I was depressed to leave la dolce vita and return to my everyday vita. That being said, my everyday vita allows me to live la dolce vita for short periods of time. On to the fashion and the shopping…


Having visited both the North and South on this trip I can say the style language is very different. The North boasts Milan – fashion capitol of the world and mecca for modern art and design. Northern Italian woman love their jeans and even if they are ripped to shreads, they are styled with lovely ballet flats or neat, clean sneakers + a blouse or crisp white shirt. You won’t see a pair of dirty, grungy Converse anywhere. You see neat, tidy Converse or Stan Smiths.

The South is totally different. It was still full summer in Sicily. Women were more bohemian in dresses and frilly tops paired with flat sandals and high heels.


Shopping was not the number 1 priority but I did take advantage of every opportunity made available. My primary shopping was done at Foxtown in Mendrisio, Switzerland. It is about a 40 minute drive from Milan and on every Asian Tour of Italy package. It is no Great Lakes or Sawgrass or any other big outlet Mall you can think of, but the quality of high end designer stores is what makes it famous.

I focused my attention on handbags and footwear. Specifically Gucci. img_2935I wanted to celebrate the completion of my certificate in Digital Strategy from U of T with a Gucci Bag. I did my research so I knew what styles I liked and I definitely wanted the double GG canvas. I love the rose gold trim and fold over closure on this bag. It holds a ton and also has a cross-body strap. It’s the perfect Forever Gucci bag at less than 1/2 price. This style has been updated for 2016 but the fine straps and hint of pink add a touch of elegance and femininity to this bag.


I scored on img_3199ballet flats at Tods. I love Tods shoes. Their driving loafers are famous for comfort and pedal to the metal grip but I’m not a loafer girl – I’m a ballet flat girl. I chose a tri-colour suede and leather combo in royal blue, charcoal and black as well as a deep rose patent leather. These were marked down twice so I basically payed for a regular pair of no-name leather flats but got Tods quality instead.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know I have been searching for a dark green blazer. My favourite Italian brand Benetton came through. This blazer is soft and drapes well. I know it will look great this fall. Especially when I pair it with the chunky stone necklace I bought in a local market.


I couldn’t leave her at home. I had fun shooting the doll in Italy. Thanks to Elena for your patience and help setting up the shots.



Graphic Proposal

Another huge trend for fall is colour blocking. It was seen on many runways, and Zara has done a great job bringing this runway trend to mass market.

Here’s a look at this trend and on some how-tos.


BAL_subtleColour blocking can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. A subtle way of wearing this trend is by using neutrals with 1 or 2 bright colours. At Balmain, this look uses black and white to create the graphic look with green and yellow.


BAL_extremeAnother look from Balmain uses full-on colour and very little black. Both looks are colour blocked and graphic.

To achieve this look choose solid coloured pieces and put them together. Eg. Orange skirt with yellow top and red boots. Think of it as creating a striped pattern using separate pieces and your body.


You can also colour block with graphic patterns.

BV_coatBottega Veneta showed this fabulous coat (in modacarta’s favourite colours). It is a stand-out piece with a graphic pattern.

loewe_subtle loewe_bold

At Loewe, they used pattern and colour blocking together to create a graphic look. The red and navy patterned skirt is paired with neutrals and is a more subtle approach. The long dress of green, grey and black creates a bolder statement because of its large proportion of pattern. All three of these looks are very wearable and FUN!

“IT” Bag

Loewe_bagWishing for this pink, colour block bag from Loewe. Great size and the pink will transition from FW to SS easily.

Spring Preview

spring_skirtColour block will continue into SS 2016. Miuccia Prada showed these gorgeous skirts with a mix of neutral panels and tweed.

As Boho style went from summer to fall in 2015 in safe to say colour block will take you from fall 2015 to spring 2016 in style.

Doll is back!

I used some paper I picked up during the Fall Haul in Troy, Michigan for this dress. I love the turquoise colour and the white.

IMG_1346Photo Credits

All runway images are from

Doll – Lori Tonizzo

Trend Alert – Brocade

Brocade fabrics were used by many designers for AW 2015/16. Brocade is a class of richly decorative fabrics often made in colored silks and with or without metallic threads. The name comes from the Italian verb broccare – to stud, set with nails which links brocade to its upholstery lineage.

ERDEM_0049A standout for the season was Erdem who can always be counted on for interesting prints. Like this lovely pink dress. Mario de Vincenzo showed brocade in a modern way with a striped dress. Not a household name but Mario is an “it” designer. He, along with Silvia Venturini Fendi, created the peek-a-boo bag which has reached cult status.


The master of brocade this season was Dries Van Noten. He not only did beautiful brocade gowns but also used it for jackets, skirts and pants. A piece like this in your wardrobe would elevate work wear to high style wear.

DRI_0265 DRI_0075


The Japanese paper I use for the dolls is so close to brocade it was hard for me to decide on one look – one paper. While researching this trend I came across this gorgeous dress from Etro which used a patchwork of brocades to create the dress. It’s this dress that provided the inspo for this week’s doll look.


Photo Credits

All runway from runway archives.

Doll – Lori Tonizzo

Falling for Accessories

The weather is changing in Toronto – heading towards fall. There is still a lot of warmth in the afternoon but the mornings and evening are cool. Time to fall for some great fall accessories.


pashminaA huge trend right now is the blanket scarf. I love the idea and versatility but I’m petite so it tends to drown me. That’s why I opt for a pashmina. It’s also very versatile and provides great warmth for those chilly morning commutes. I like to loop it around my neck in what’s called a french loop.

scarfAnother great find is this wrap with hood combination from Hudson’s Bay.

It has great navajo inspo and if I don’t need the hood I can just tuck it in. This print in burgandy, grey and navy is on trend with the accessory colours this season.


hatsThis is my favourite hat. I have had for a few years and I have added the embellishments to it over time. The tweed is made up of tan, burgandy and brown so again it’s on trend and goes with so many outfits. It’s styled like a cap but has a short brim and a tight fit to make it more feminine. I added a silk scarf tied in a bow to mimic another huge trend – the pussy bow blouse.

Special to modacarta

I am now turning the blog over to my good friend Dace [Broc] Obrascovs from LA who will talk about gloves. We obviously need them in Canada starting in fall but they can provide benefits even in warmer climates. Take it away Dace…

special_glovesI have worn driving gloves for 24 years in LA and have NO age spots on my hands; only thing I am vain about. There’s a benefit for you!
I have around a dozen pairs from Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Holt Renfrew. I also have several pairs from Rome. The Italians make the best gloves with exquisite detailing and high quality leather. The fit is always perfect! When I can’t find them at my usual retailers I order online from Bruno and Fratelli Orsini. I have never worn cashmere lined gloves in LA because the weather is too warm. I always wear unlined or silk lined. For cold weather climates you can get by in unlined or silk lined until winter hits.


Until winter hits you can wear silk scarves to protect your neck from the wind and also for visual interest. Here’s a refresher on scarf tying.

Photo Credits

Fall Accessories – Model and Photographer Lori Tonizzo

Dace provided the photo of herself

Falling Doll – Lori Tonizzo *no dolls were injured during the shooting of this film

Tie One On – see film for credits

Rebel Classic

Over the past few seasons the motorcycle jacket has gone from a trend to a classic. It has shown up in black leather with rebel studs, cotton prints, fine wool, quilted nylon and tweed. The variations are endless so it seems that the moto is now a classic piece that should be in everyone’s wardrobe. Here’s a 1/2 page from Harper’s Bazaar August issue showing the rebel classic.


The moto became a symbol of youth rebellion in the 1950s with films like the The Wild One and Rebel without a Cause. In the 70s and 80s it was personified by “The Fonz” on Happy Days and Matt Dillon in the Outsiders.

My own wardrobe has 3 unique interpretations of the motorcycle jacket.

Blue/Grey Lambskin was custom made for me by an apparel supplier I worked with on branded uniforms. It has a feminine cut and the moto styling is softer.

Cotton, printed jacket from Anthropologie. I wear this with everything from jeans to trousers and it’s a great topper for an LDB. cotton

Grey leather from Danier. Neutral, classic styling. This jacket has a boxier fit so I can wear it over sweaters even in late fall.grey

Paper Art
I created this jacket for the doll in the classic rebel style. I used a black cotton paper from Above Ground art supplies and metallic silver paint for the details. Jeans are the doll’s own. moto_doll

Photo Credits

Harper’s Bazaar page from August Digital Issue

All jackets – Lori Tonizzo

Doll – Lori Tonizzo

Header – Grafitti background Lori Tonizzo

Transitional Boots

Another great transitional piece is open toe boots. here is a mini guide to take you from summer to fall in style.


My open toe boots are from Browns in Toronto. I love the cut-work and solid stacked heel. To transition to fall, layer a coloured sock for warmth and visual interest. For a solid leather boot a patterned sock would work great.



These boots make a bold statement when paired with a pencil skirt. They would also work well with a denim or boho skirt. Layer a coloured or pattern tight for warmth and visual interest later in fall.



These boots demand attention so a cropped trouser shows them off the best. Sheer sock or fishnet gives a little extra visual interest and some added warmth.


All photos by Lori Tonizzo.


FW 2015/16 is a season of delights. I feel overloaded with trends so I’ve focused on the 3 you need to up your style game.


Tailored suits were featured on almost all fall runways. A suit is always a great investment because of it’s versatility it is the work horse of any wardrobe. Broken apart the jacket and trousers can be paired separately to create other looks. Dress the suit down with a t-shirt and sneakers or dress it up with a shimmery top and stilettos. Wear the jacket as an overcoat with a cashmere pullover underneath. These are just a few possibilities. The standout was PRADA. Severe tailoring on the narrow cropped trousers and fitted blazers is softened by the colour palette. Paired with the”inside” bag and you’re ready for serious work or serious fun.

IMG_0039 prada_suit

  • A LA MOD

The mod mini dresses at CALVIN KLEIN by Francisco Costa have it all. Style, glitz, attitude and comfort. Think women’s clothes in the movie Man from U.N.C.L.E. This trend is for everyone. If you think it’s too short – layer it over skinny jeans or narrow pants. Add boots and off you go. Sidebar – dresses over pants is another look for fall.

CK_MOD CK_mod2



This trend encompasses Boho and English Eccentricity. It can be long and flowy or have several layers of mixed patterns. It is an anything goes trend. Take this cue from BURBERRY. Floral trench over graphic dark trousers. At Miu Miu they mixed plaid with leopard and stripes. Some women find it challenging mixing patterns. TIP: consider tweed a neutral and pair it with stripes or florals in similar tones.


Brooches are the jewellery piece to have. It adds interest to a suit and works well in multiples with a new romantic look.

Burgandy and forest green are 2 of the biggest colours for fall. In New York the stores were full of apparel in these colours.

Ankle boots with stacked heels. That’s all you need to know and all you need for footwear this fall. NEXT WEEK: Footwear focus


I chose to illustrate a mod dress with mix patterns playing on 2 of Fall’s big trends. As always my paper is from The Paper Place in Toronto. mod_mini

Photo Credits

Prada – both images from website

Calvin Klein – from website

Burberry – from  website

Miu Miu – from website

New York Report

Modacarta was in New York this past weekend for a shopping and culture break. The posts did not continue live from New York because of crashing into bed as soon as I returned to the hotel after dinner. Blog breaks could not be accommodated in this jam packed itinerary.

Here is my shopping list and how I faired:

  • 7th Avenue Junk Jewellery – I didn’t get to 7th avenue but scored this fab African inspired bracelet and this adorable, simple cat ring. Total $15.IMG_0786
  • Dark Green Blazer – Green is definitely a top colour for Fall but it didn’t come in any blazers. Bloomingdales had a great display of mannequins in shades of green clothes but not one was wearing a blazer. The search continues…
  • Boho Dress – Zara had it! Direct trend from the FW2015 runways and a steal at $70.


  • Century 21 – Do not go to this store at mid-day! It was such a gong show but the deals are always worth the line-ups!
  • Frye Boots – Problematic.
  • Burgandy is also a hot colour for fall so I splurged on this fabulous Longchamp bag. IMG_0780Waterproof, foldable, lighweight and roomy with French style. Love it!

Paper Art

Could not resist the opportunity to take the modacarta doll on the road and snap some touristy shots. Here’s the results of the photoshoot at Rockefeller Center. Evidence below that I can take crappy, touristy shots if I try. Hailing a cab is the quintessential New York moment that I had to capture.

IMG_0769 IMG_0773 IMG_0775Photo Credits

Whitney Museum of American Art – Lori Tonizzo

Zara Dress – Zara website

All other photos by Lori Tonizzo