New Spaces

Not only are we extremely close to opening our new space in
the Exchange District... we have moved our blog.

All the content from this blog has been moved to our new
address on the web. We will leave this blog up as a byway
to ...

See you there!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Bounty of Boontje

Midsummer Light in white and red.

Fairytails gift cards in pink and red. Also featured "Bloom" greeting cards.

We are more than just a little bit pleased to announce that a substantial order of Tord Boontje lighting and home accessories has arrived on our doorstep. Tord Boontje's work has been called stylized design employing advanced technology with artisnal technique. We call it whimsical and poetic. Magical and romantic. We think you are going to love it as much as we do. Now in Winnipeg, and only at our House.

Until Dawn curtain. Available in store in a variety of colors.

Thinking of You vessel wraps make an ordinary vessel spectacular.

We have also learned that our backordered products were shipped out on Friday. Expected in that shipment are another two spectacular lighting pieces...

Icarus (left) is a shade which can be used with a table lamp base or hanging light kit. Daedalus (right) is sold as a set with a table lamp base.

The arrival of this shipment is most timely as just this weekend past the Globe and Mail featured an interview with Tord Boontje. The feature covers the existing line of products as well Tord's new Witches' Kitchen line (just unveiled in Milan this month). Take me there! The conscience choice of materials and the trade practices employed are two of the reasons we love it. We also cannot help but adore the playfulness. You can be certain that you will see this line in our House just as soon as it becomes available to us.

Witches' Kitchen Cooking and Serving Utensils

Witches' Kitchen Cooking Pots

Witches' Kitchen Apron

Monday, April 28, 2008

Vintage in the News

Yes folks, it is time for another instalment of Vintage in the News!

Its been some time since we last posted about how Vintage is inspiring trends in everything from home decor to fashion (almost two months!). This segment is long overdue and though we focus primarily on news of home decor trends, we found an article, featuring DIY tips and links on how to make or remake Vintage clothing into a trendy one-off which we simply couldn't resist adding. Enjoy! features an article on the current trend of utilizing 60's colors and collectibles with modern home furnishings to add verve to a living space. We know we love the colors.Take me there!

From; Design trends including the 'multi-generational' mixing of old and new. Though there are many terms, including the aforementioned, being coined for this trend we prefer to call it 'eras colliding'. To quote the article; "...the increasingly robust trend of mixing vintage and new pieces in such a way that it’s difficult to tell which is which." This is a terrific jumping off point for anyone considering a room or home makeover. Take me there!
A classic grand old home punches the decor with modern elements in metallics.

The formal, almost stuffy, lines of this hall table are overcome with a modern paint treatment in a bold color.

Flair can be added to any decor by incorporating mid-century modern in a single piece or a grouping. The design front is seeing a trend in mid-century influenced pieces (as shown above) which offer an affordable alternative, and a current twist, to authentic mid-century furnishings.

The Life and Health section at the UK's Guardian website features "A Stitch in Time", an article looking at the massive jump in sewing machine sales which ponders the reasons and suggests retro and vintage fabrics in creating one-off fashions. They also provide links to some really cool DIY websites such as Craftster, Threadbanger and ReproDepot (amazing collection of vintage reproduction and retro inspired fabrics). Take me there!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Puddles, Puddles Everywhere

Not everywhere, actually. Just on our wall.

We are delighted to announce that the first of many products created by designer Tord Boontje have arrived at our House.


Tord Boontje.

Tord Boontje was born in Enschede, Netherlands in 1968. He studied industrial design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and finished with a Masters from the Royal College of Art in London. He currently works and lives in Bourg-Argental, France. His own mini-biography, as published by Design Museum (Take me there!) is much sweeter and funnier. In order to fully appreciate Tord Boontje one only has to look at his interior design elements. Seeing a picture of one of his wonderous pieces is almost enough to hook you. Being able to physically view and touch a piece, well, its something you have to experience for yourself.

And now you can.

In his own words: “Just like clouds, puddles are very imaginative in making their own shapes, sometimes they like to look like flowers, sometimes like butterflies or birds, or sometimes just like blobs.”

Puddles are decorative surface tiles inspired by nature. Cut from mirror polished stainless steel, they are self adhesive. Each is a unique piece of art. Light in weight and easy to apply, a singular piece subtley enhances any decor. A grouping transforms a space into a dreamscape.

Bird H 10" W 7"
Hibiscus H 17" W 20"
Hummingbird H 10" W 7"
Butterfly H 8" W 10"

In Winnipeg, Puddles is currently only available at ChiChi. From our House to yours.... with pleasure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pretty Little Things





Pretty... pretty...


...and, again, pretty!


A delicate bloom to cap the fragrant contents of the evening’s wine bottle, bringing beauty to bar and table.

Designed by Tahmineh Javanbakht. Only available in Winnipeg at ChiChi. From our House to yours.

Monday, April 21, 2008

1950's Wedding Style

It's interesting to note that, until the 1950's and again from the 60's to the 80's, wedding dresses could be dated by the decade. A dress from the 20's certainly looks like a dress from the 20's, the 40's - the same, let's not even talk about some of the styles that were in vogue after the 50's! Dresses from the 50's were glamorous, elegant, flattering, and timeless. If you could manage to find one in good condition, you'd be as beautiful a bride in the new millennium as your mom or grandma was in the 50's.

A picture is worth a thousand words so let's take a moment to celebrate some of the most exquisite mid-century creations, without further adieu. All of these gowns date back to the 1950's and I've included a brief description of a couple of the most exceptional examples from that time:

This gown was so beautifully designed it deserved to be shown from both the front and the back. The satin gown featured soft tulle overlay and a princess-seamed bodice dripping with 1/2 inch faceted crystals. The skirt has a sculptural double bustle and a staggered turned hemline. The metal zipper is hidden in the back.

1955 Christian Dior features cream tape lace over white floral lace gown with accordian pleated layered tulle ballgown skirt, molded bodice, triple satin shoulder straps, hidden rear zipper & multi hook/eye closures. A mid-century masterpiece!

I found this really fabulous page of "Vintage Brides we Love" that I wanted to share with you all. Take note of the pink confection matinée length gown. Take me there!

If you find yourself in Toronto while searching for the ultimate dress, you should check out Divine Decadence. At times there are several dresses, at others only one, but for accessories and wardrobe for the entire bridal party, it's worth a look! Take me there!

Keep in mind that brides married very young and were built much differently than we are today. That's why there are so many 24-26" waists and not much larger than that available for sale.

Back in the 1950's women wore restrictive body deforming devices like girdles, waist cinchers, body shapers and corsets. Most vintage gowns were designed around these underpinnings, then to a woman's body shape sculpted by these very underpinnings. Yes, the almighty girdle was factored into the designing process. Consider a tiny size 2 bride donning her girdle before getting into her gown... Although vintage wedding gowns were designed with these women from a different era in mind, if you want to source one for yourself, in addition to eBay and Etsy, you could try these links:

DELUXE JUNK, Vancouver's best vintage clothing and accessory resource. Take me there!

THE VINTAGE PEDDLER For everything from the inside out. Take me there!

Vintage Wedding Gowns from GULDEN & BROWN Take me there!

18 Glorious pages of vintage delights from VINTAGE FROCK Take me there!

And don't forget Winnipeg's own RAGPICKERS ANTI FASHION EMPORIUM located at 216 McDermot Ave. They're a great place to begin your search and they're right in our own backyard!

If any of our gentle readers have their own fabulous ChiChi wedding websites they'd like to share with like-minded devotées, send us the links and we will post them for one and all!

There is yet much to discuss, including accessories, 50's theme suggestions, and recipes so stay tuned for the next installment in this series, coming soon!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

If Wishes Were Purses....

I'd look pretty fly!

Not too long ago I wrote of Bakelite King Matthew Burkholz and his heavenly boutique (known as Route 66) on Palm Canyon Drive and of lusting after his amazing collection of Lucite box purses. Sometimes, not always - but sometimes, you put something out there, "out into the ether" as Miss P is fond of saying, and it comes back to you.

Imagine my surprise and delight then when MM (our Vintage Santa) arrived on our doorstep with the most delightful Lucite box purse in hand. I have to add that the bag looks much better on me than it does on him, but its hard for it not to look incredible no matter who is carrying it. I haven't felt such a rush of excitement since a Christmas morning long ago when I last believed in the real Santa.

In spite of my suggesting it be gifted to myself as a belated birthday token (don't ask - it was months ago) MM steadfastly refused and so it is now on consignment at our House. And it is beautiful. Every now and again something truly rare finds its way to us. Every now and again we are able to caress and love it and care for it until it finds its way into a loving new home. In this case it will be on the arm of a discerning woman with impeccible taste and the wherewithal to spoil herself rotten.

Lucite, like many other materials which gained popularity in the Modern 50's, was developed and almost immediately put to good use as a building material during World War II. It wasn't until after the war that Lucite was used in the manufacture of handbags because the material was easy to work with and could be made in a wide array of colors both solid and opaque. The early manufacture of these bags involved master craftsmen working by hand. By the early 1960's the Lucite box purse rage was over. Newer, more modern materials and methods of manufacture made mass production of cheaper and more lightweight bags popular. Today they are incredibly collectible as they were only produced for a brief period of time and they are positively stunning in their design (they were once marketed as "sculpture you can wear"). Much like Vintage jewelry there are fairly significant variations in value. The purses created by big name designers of the time are coveted and fetch a price far more dear than the nameless bags. You will see them range in price from $200 to $600 and up. Some of the most popular and coveted designers are; Ascot, Patricia of Miami, Hardy, Kahn, Llewellyn, Wilardy and Rialto. Designer made bags were typically signed on the metal inside the bag or on a clear label. Many designer bags without their labels are floating around as the labels typically fell or wore off. If you are collecting Lucite box purses for their value, then you may want to avoid 'unsigned' bags, even if it is a well educated guess that it is a creation of a big name designer. If you are collecting for the sheer joy and love of it, then the former is of no consequence.

I haven't yet fully investigated the nooks and crannies of this bag in an attempt to establish its origins. The lovely weather has seen the House busy with many new and return customers and we have been hopping. One morning I will go in early, sit down with with our luscious box bag and a latte and see if it won't reveal some secrets.

Yes. I want it to come home with me. But I want mostly everything we bring in to come home with me. Besides, I have little room in my closet now for another bag, especially after treating myself to one from the Espe line. That, and it is keeping our gorgeous carved Bakelite bangle company until it finds a new home. Maybe they will be adopted together.


PS: We now have Matt's book in the store for you Bakelite junkies to peruse at your leisure when you are next in the House. It tells the stories of a number of avid Bakelite afficianados and features glorious photos of their amazing collections.

Ode to Green

Oh no, I'm not here to get all preachy on you about recycling and reusing and repurposing. Granted, that's part of what we're all about at ChiChi, but we certainly don't have to harp on it every time we blog.

It just so happens that, recently, every time I turn around I'm bumping into something green, which is either purely coincidental or some strange cosmic energy at work. Or, it could simply be that I've been finding myself smitten with the color green this season and that adoration is translating itself into my noticing it more often than I would notice, say, red things.

So - in honor of my new found affinity for the color green - I bring you the following tidbits for your amusement...

Whilst perusing the news today I found an article about a yellow lab puppy which was born with a green coat of fur. As if one green dog isn't newsworthy enough, while searching for a link with a better picture I found yet another recent news article of a different puppy which was born green! Not quite the phenomenon once you read the vet's explanation but I won't spoil it for you.

Take me there!

And to see the second pup... Take me there!

I love to while away hours in bookstores and while doing so recently I noticed, and almost bought....

But then I thought about green food coloring and a seven year old chicklet in my kitchen and passed. Seems, though, according to an older New York Times review of children's cookbooks, that green food coloring is nowhere to be found in the pages of this tome. Take me there!
The article suggests, in fact, that the recipes within the pages are more complicated than most adults are willing to tackle and that, though the recipe names and illustrations are more than kid friendly, the recipes aren't likely to be embraced by a kid lacking the patience and attention span required. Besides, my daughter's culinary skills are much along the line of that which the author suggests are possessed by most young children.... melt ice cream, add sprinkles, add syrup, toss in some sugar, a few grapes and top off with chocolate chips. I've had to choke down more than one overly sweet and not so tasty experimental dessert. I think I will get us a cookbook to use together, but I think I'll take the author's suggestion and pick up a copy of Rozanne Gold's "Kids Cook 1-2-3". That sounds like it would be much more kid, parent and kitchen friendly (even though there are no green eggs to be made).

Those reluctant buds on the trees have begun to unfurl and show themselves in their splendid glory. It seems to have happened overnight and I am ever optimistic that summer-like weather will arrive on our doorstep sometime soon. I hope.

Every single time I go to the paint store, including today, I am drawn to the greens. Whether I have a purple or a striking pink in mind, I immediately gravitate to the greens. There are so many hues of green, many of them delicious and fresh and striking. I meant, today, to pick up some swatches and books with hot colors to look at. And I had a nice selection in hand. But then I stumbled upon a new wood stain product in glorious colors, including, of course, green. I checked and rechecked the bag when I got home and I have the stain products I chose, but somewhere along the way I mislaid the swatches. Oh well, I like the paint store.

These are just a few greens I played with on Behr's website (hmmmm, looks like I'm particularly attracted to "Crisp Green"). I've used their ColorSmart system time and again when redecorating and find there are a number of really useful tools to play with. If you're thinking of tackling a redecorating project.... Take me there!

Greens, a good many of them, work really well with a large number of blues.

Remember the old saying, "Blue and green should never be seen together except in the washing machine"?

Says who?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tattoo You

The new patterns are here! The new patterns are here!

Splendiferous stitching from Sublime awaits! All the newest patterns are now in store.

Since launching in 2001 Sublime Stitching has been growing and receiving great press. Having been featured in dozens of magazines such as Real Simple, Elle, Teen Vogue and Nylon, in newspapers from The Village Voice to the Kansas City Star and on television programs like She's Crafty and the Style Network, banishing bunnies and teddy bears from her world of crafting has done nothing but good things for Jenny Hart's little company that could.

In the last six months there have been a number of cool new patterns introduced as well as new artist series and we've got 'em!

Lisa Petrucci's darling little angel and devil series will appeal to the good girl in you as well as your 'dark' side.

Julie West's edgy little robotic character and designs are reminiscent of Japanese collectible toys.

Mitch O'Connell's reform school girls make bad look so very good.

We've also brought in more Tattoo

And two more patterns by request....

Grab your favourite faded old jean jacket, drop in, pick up a pattern or two and whip yourself up a dramatic little number sure to garner ooh's and ahhh's where ever you go!