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Nova Scotia Talent Meets First Lady Style

June 21, 2010

Ally: When we first started this blog, we very upfront (and it was surely very obvious) that we had no formal training in the fashion industry. We were, and are, two friends living in Halifax who adore good clothes, fabulous shoes and accessories that complete any outfit.

It’s fair to say that there are some days where we seriously have no idea what we are talking about. Don’t get me wrong, we have pounded the pavement at the school of fashion hard knocks purchasing ill-advised UGGS (okay, me), purple and green crocs (both of us) and dyed our hair unflattering shades of “auburn” (both of us, again).  We just don’t have any actual experience, so to speak. We don’t claim to be experts in the industry, but we do claim to be ridiculously proud to be surrounded by the amazing amount of design talent in Nova Scotia. This talent provides tons of fodder for our site, which is a good thing because otherwise readers might have to hear about my crush on Billy Bush every single day (ok, more so than they do now).

Which is why we were really excited to hear about Nova Scotia Business Inc.’s (NSBI) fashionable bags full of Nova Scotian goodness that were made with the nine ladies (eight wives and one Chancellor of Germany) who will be attending the G8 in mind.  It’s a great idea and an incredible opportunity to promote the local fashion and artisan community. So when NSBI asked us to take a look at their exciting new campaign,, and the products made by Nova Scotia artisans, we thought it was a good fit with the mandate of our blog (I can hear L-A now, “We have a mandate?”) and we were pleased to oblige.  The campaign looks to be the start of something exciting: a site created with the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council (NSDCC) and the Craft Alliance to promote the amazing fashion talent in the province? Yes, please!

When they started putting together the promotion, NSBI went in search of local designers by reaching out to the Craft Alliance to gauge interest. Once they had a list of interested artisans, the Craft Alliance, NSDCC and NSBI reviewed the list and chose the selected participants based on the merits of the campaign. I was really excited to see that LouLou Bell was included on that list. Full disclosure, Lyndsay (the designer of LouLou Bell) is a former colleague and a friend of mine.  With that said, I am not gushing about her bags because I love her as a person. I’m not friends with untalented people. Just ask Lindsay Lohan. I had to cut her off after Herbie Fully Loaded. (Kidding, LiLo! Call me!) I’ve purchased a few Lou Lou Bell bags in the past; they make perfect presents for use as a makeup bag or compact tote. Here’s a beautiful image of the collection she worked on for the swag bags (she’s identified which bag is going to which lady):

My favourite? Has to be the compact tote she has created with  Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in mind. Check it out:

(Photos of LouLou Bell bags courtesy of Darren Hubley, Digitalbuild Photography)

I can sort of picture Carla and I going out for bellinis, quietly judging others around us, and sharing lipgloss that she has snuggly packed in her LouLou Bell original. I might invite L-A as long as she doesn’t dominate the conversation AS PER USUAL (kidding. Seriously. If you’ve seen any our of video interviews you know I shove her out of the way to french kiss with the camera).

The other favourite item in the swag bags has to be the gorgeous chain necklaces. I hadn’t heard of designer Donna Hiebert prior to seeing the NSBI swag bags (this might be mortifying news for some readers, but I’m learning here). I checked out her site and her designs are mind-blowing. I feel as though they would pass my extremely important  WWSW Test!


And nautical rope style jewellery will be perfect for kicking back in a Muskoka chair on the shores of the fake lake.

The swag bags also include whimsical glass and bead earrings and broaches from Glass Harp Gallery as well as very cute handbags from twin sisters hailing from Cape Breton, Michelle Delisle and Monique Newcombe (hence the name of the handbag line, Michique…cute, non? Sort of like Bennifer, but more fashionable). You should check out their new clutch collection available to order on their website.

Clean, crisp, modern design. My birthday is June 26. Just saying.

The full contents of each swag bag can be found at, where you can vote for your favourites. Do us a favour and let us know what you picked? Mine would for sure be Carla’s swag. She can do no wrong. She’s like the Nicole Richie of political wives for me. She’s down with the Bo-Ho.

I hope that NSBI is successful in getting the attention of the G8 women turned to the incredible talent we have on the east coast (yes, beyond Montreal). It hurts my heart that Carla (I’m obsessed) may never own a Veronica MacIsaac original. Can you even bear that thought? We could all be missing one of the greatest designer/muse relationships of all time. It could be Kruger and Lagerfield-esque! Can you not picture Carla on date night with her sort-of-hot-in-a-angry-little-man-way-husband wearing this?:

(Photo courtesy of photographer Brent McCombs and Veronica MacIsaac. Oh, and fyi? This is the first time the new promo shots for Veronica’s FW2010 collection have been used. That’s right, you saw it here first. Also, we’re interviewing Veronica next week at the Haligonia studios. Her roommate, makeup artist extraordinaire (and fellow lover of the word “epic”), Victoria Bouchard will also be joining us and may or may not wax my eyebrows on air. Stay tuned for that. We can’t wait! )

And what about this outfit for Laureen Harper for her next function with BFF John Baird?

L-A: We won’t be waxing my eyebrows at Haligonia – but that’s because I really haven’t any to speak of. But we’re not here to talk about eyebrows. We’re talking about two of my favourite things: first ladies and handmade Nova Scotian fashion.  I spend a lot of time with Love, Me Boutique and the Halifax Crafters because I truly believe in the crafty talent we have going on in this province.  Which is why I was so excited when NSBI first contacted us. I’ll take any chance I can get to talk local talent and local fashion.

One of my favourite pieces from the collections is the coffee bean necklace that is found in the collection inspired by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel:

Maybe it’s my undying devotion to coffee talking, but I think it’s damn cute. It’d be like wearing your coffee loving heart on your sleeve. Mind you, the chain is a bit long for Merkel’s pantsuit jackets, but I bet she could rock that sucker if she ditched the jacket. Speaking of which, Dear Angela: just because you are a lady world leader doesn’t mean you need to wear pantsuits all the time. I’d take you seriously in something other than a pantsuit. (Same goes to you Hillary Clinton).

And that photo of the Chancellor with the Obamas brings us to Our Muse (of sorts), the First Lady who brought this blog to life: Michelle!

We love Michelle Obama (except maybe her ever-present kitten heels), so I love the idea of her wearing some Nova Scotia designs.  She mixes high and low fashion like nobody’s business. Seriously. She wears dresses by Jason Wu and Thakoon, but she also wears J. Crew on state visits (get this – so many people wanted the adorable coats worn by the Obama girls that the world broke the J.Crew website during the inauguration).  I like this about her. I like that she makes a point to wear American designers. So I think she’d appreciate the talent in Nova Scotia and that she’d totally work her LouLou Bell bag into an outfit.

I’d also love to see Michelle sporting a fantastic scarf or shawl by one of our provinces super talented textile artists, Rilla Marshall:

The newest first lady on the block, Samantha Cameron is going to give Michelle and Carla a run for their stylish money.  I’m liking this lady’s style. She’s making pregnant look almost as good as Guest Blogger Jo does. Like Michelle, she does the mix of high and low that I really love. She goes from wearing Converse All-Stars one day to tailored and classy the next (maybe both in the same day?!).  I think she’d dig the Donna Hiebert bangle in the Samantha collection:

And in case she reads this and would like something to wear the next time she’s hanging out at an Official Event in Scotland, or an Official Event anywhere for that matter, I’m going to suggest something by Veronica MacIsaac (yes, we love Veronica’s designs):

I think she’d also dig the designs by Nova Scotia’s own Deux Fm. Or just about any of our talented designers or artisans.  The hardest part about writing about Nova Scotia talent is having to choose only one or two to focus on. If we mentioned them all, we’d be writing for days. (Although, I’m still trying to decide who would rock Orphanage Clothing harder: Samantha or Carla? What do you think? Depending on the piece, I think either one could do it with serious style).

So get out there an support that Nova Scotian talent. Buy local. And promote local by checking  out and telling your friends about it. Campaigns like these help artists across the province promote their craft in an international forum.

Ally: P.S. Michelle? You know how you heart Beyoncé, yes?

Well, Beyonce wears Moda by Ozlem:

My hands-down favourite jewellery designer, Ozlem, is living and working in Nova Scotia. We’re here to help.


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