The Bloor Experience

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Toronto’s Bloor Street has boomed into a cultural hub full of galleries, museums, and other organizations that promote the arts. Thirteen partners have joined forces across a 1.6 km strip (between Bathurst and Bay Streets) to create the  Bloor St. Culture Corridor.  Offering opportunities to experience some of Toronto’s cultural diversity, including French, Jewish, Italian, Japanese and Aboriginal arts and culture, Torontonians and visitors to the City can enjoy can experience art exhibitions to music concerts all year round.

When it was announced by spokesperson, Heather Kelly (also Director of the Royal Conservatory of Music), in the Spring, I was thrilled to find out that this concept finally became official – an approval that was twelve years in the making!

Now, things are moving forward with the launch of the mobile app whic will “provide access to special offers exclusive to app users, and a convenient way to easily see the richness of cultural destinations and events in the Bloor Street area of central Toronto, from The Annex through to Yorkville. The app’s social feed connects users with the latest news and announcements from the Twitter feeds of all of the arts and culture destinations on the Bloor St. Culture Corridor. Users can also browse through options for shopping, eating, and hotels on the corridor”.

For all you cultural enthusiasts, I highly recommend to download this app and start checking out these amazing venues and establishments today!

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The Passionpreneur

These days, it seems as though no one can get by without having the networking bug in them. Connecting with as many people as possible is definitely the driving force behind today’s professional crowd, no matter what industry you work in. Especially when you are your own business owner, it has now become a rule of thumb to never ever pass on the opportunity to bring in another individual into your professional social circle.

Ladies Who Lunch was founded by Maria Kritikos in 2013 to serve as a social, business and philanthropic networking vehicle. A woman who has overcome many life challenges, this organization was created to enhance leadership, ambition and creativity through a network of women seeking to excel both passionately and professionally.

MC: What was your inspiration behind Ladies Who Lunch?

MK: I created Ladies Who Lunch to show women how truly powerful they are, and to help them realize that they can live their full potential in life. There is no need to be held back by limiting your beliefs.

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MC: How did you come up with the name?

MK: It’s kind of a cheeky term; the adage is an old one but I wanted to re-invent the expression and create a new kind of Ladies Who Lunch – powerful, influential, self-reliant, sassy yet classy, and above all, women making a difference in their own right, their own way.

MC: What does it mean for you when you know that you have a community of women trying to reach the fullest potential?

MK: It is a place and space of unlimited possibility and freedom to create whatever it is we dream of. It is exciting, inspiring and it’s what gets me out of bed with a huge smile on my face EVERY SINGLE morning!

MC: Could you share the different business backgrounds of the women who have joined your network?

MK: The women of this community are led by their hearts – we are a community of passionpreneurs, doing what we love and are loving every minute of it.  We are a group that seeks freedom in everyday life, women making a difference. There are coaches, authors, magazine publishers, editors, designers, founders of non-profits, artists, entrepreneurs with a dream to be the creators of their own life and destiny. These women who live purposefully and are not constrained by what society or others think is possible for them.  Every single one of our members is the epitome of fearless and fabulous.

Maria at Vancouver Fashion Week

Maria at Vancouver Fashion Week

MK: We host a series of live events in different cities, but the main benefits are the online community where women can join to stay connected from anywhere in the world.  We have a private member’s area where we interact and  learn from each other.

MC: What do you have planned for LWL in the coming future?

MK: It’s all about going GLOBAL! We are actively expanding the network internationally and are seeking LWL Ambassadors to carry our message to their part of the world. If anyone is interested please email info@LadiesWhoLunchNetwork.com

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Obi-fied…

Thanks to the magic of social media and my obsession for anything with a heel, I came across a designer who caught my attention in a very special way – signing their signature with a treble clef. New York based designer Obi Cymatica discovered his natural talent for design and illustration after moving from Nigeria to New York City at the age of 16. He turned to the creative arts and naturally started sketching shoes that eventually caught the attention of BCBG, Oscar De La Renta, and Jimmy Choo.

So where does this treble clef come into the picture and why did this excite me so much? Last year, the OBI Cymatica shoe collection brand was born and, of course, his sketches all contain the very same treble clef signature that drew me to his work. An idea sparked in my head and I kept my fingers crossed that this idea could turn into a reality.

I got in touch with the ever-so-friendly Obi about putting together two unique sketches that would appeal to a woman with a passion for classical music. Taking it a step further, I thought it would be interesting to portray each sketch as a classical composer embodied into an Obi Cymatica shoe, expressing both a musical style and personality related to the chosen composer.

The “Mozart” Shoe
A man who acted like a child his entire life, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart loved to pull pranks and, in short, have a good time. He had a love for dancing, fashion and was quite vain about his wild hair. Many would say that his signautre colour was red. The Austrian prodigy faced many personal and financial challenges throughout his entire life and unfortunately was only 35 years old when he died from a serious illness.

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The “Beethoven” Shoe
It can be said of Ludwig van Beethoven, especially from the time of his arrival in Vienna, in 1792, that he was a young man of strong personality and at times quite difficult to get along with.  He was also a person of noble ideas and very well respected in the circles in which he was associated with. Seen as a bohemian, the stubborn composer would become the father of the Romantic Era and defied the odds even after he went completely deaf creating some of the most famous pieces of all time.

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Thank you so much to the talented Obi Cymatica for creating these brilliant sketches for MIMA CULTURE!
The latest Fall Winter 2014 collection is available by visiting obicymatica.net

The Ryan Philosophy

Summer may be slowly coming to an end but it’s not over just yet. The sun is still shining through the month of September and, ladies, we are entitled to at least a few more weeks of wearing our favourite sun dresses.

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Ryan Alexander has spent years mastering the architecture of customizing the perfect dress. Socialites, such as Ainsley Kerr, have already taken quite a liking to the Toronto designer’s work whose inspirations come from nature. What caught my attention most about Ryan’s work, being the history buff that I am, was the fact that he turned to Greek mythology for this season’s inspirations. By finding his creative direction through these classic stories and characters, I wanted to learn more about Ryan’s design history.

MC: How did you did you enter into the fashion realm?

RA:  I have always considered myself an artist and have been drawn to the creative arts through various media. The world of fashion has always intrigued me so I started to direct my creativity in this direction which led me to attend the International Academy of Design in Toronto.

MC: What does Toronto or Canadian fashion mean to you?

RA: When I think of Canadian fashion and what it means to me, I can’t help but conjure up stereotypes – fur boots, toques, plaid vests, etc. However, what I have learned from other Canadian fashion designers is that the diversity of styles and designers is spawned through the diversity of the people that make up this country. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of creativity that may not exist otherwise. We are a strong growing community that includes all sorts of cultures and this really contributes to unique talent from coast to coast.

MC: How does the story of Persephone come into play with your SS14 designs?

RA: My SS15 collection explores the rebirth of spring through the eyes of goddess Persephone. Queen of the Underworld, daughter of Zeus and harvest goddess Demeter, Persephone rules the underworld after being abducted by Hades. Her return from the darkness of winter represents the reincarnation of flora, shooting forth in spring and then retreating to the underworld after harvest.

Persephone has had many incarnations over the centuries in various art streams including film and pop culture. I was inspired by her story when designing for this season and focused on finding strength in beauty through both femininity and nature. The seasonal change to spring gives birth to rich botanicals and blooming new growth after a long winter. Persephone is an integral part of this annual transformation.

I think the goddess Persephone is also a bit misunderstood, like the modern women of today. She isn’t just a beautiful goddess floating on a cloud somewhere; she has work to do. As queen of the underworld for six months of the year, Mother Nature is always on duty. The world relies on her. However, these responsibilities don’t prevent her from having some goddess fun and reward when it’s due. You can see Persephone’s influence on my SS15 collection through sculpted column-like silhouettes, contrasted by miles of flowing botanical printed chiffon. My goal was to utilize fabrics that create movement with every step, while justified by a sculpted fit.

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Ryan is currently working on his FW15 Collection.

Check out the entire current collection at ryalexander.com or follow @ryalexanderinc