It’s all in the family and all about fun and quirky fashion at Le Caniche Noir. The Montreal born online boutique that has been buzzing on peoples’ newsfeeds is all about “not taking yourself too seriously” but exploring the “elegance, independence and intelligence” of the modern woman.

coraltoplaceWhen I met with Dilara Dzafic, the birth mother to the brand, I knew right away that I could relate to her style. I absolutely loved her outfit. The Eastern European/Middle Eastern Poodle was rocking this moderately 80s inspired Power Look with a twist: a beautiful white ruffled cropped sleeve top that was paired with flared trousers I have always wished I had enough guts to pull off, and those mid 90s, slightly pointy toed, classic black heels that looked just like the kind Corporate Barbie would wear. Dilara’s butter blonde hair was chopped and cropped into a modern pixie cut and she sported gorgeous, black cat eye glasses. She exuded non threatening, natural glamour. “Fashion is my escape! I’ve been doing it forever.”

Bicontinental Dilara, who has a background in marketing, commutes between Germany and Montreal, and has worked for brands such as L’Oreal and Nivea, launched the business in 2007 after completing her MBA… and it was an instant hit!

“We would have photoshoots to market the clothes, and they would sell out before we could even post them on the site!” chuckled the site’s marketing manager and brother, Dzaner. Thankfully, the Dzafics don’t have to worry about that anymore, as they have a warehouse in Montreal and everything on their site is ready to order. Dilara designs the “first draft” of many of the pieces, others are bought in straight from Europe.

Though Le Caniche Noir is proud to be a Canadian brand and is situated in Montreal (plus offers same day deliveries, no customs shipping within Canada, and free returns), their apparel doesn’t only cater to a North American consumer audience. With influences that trace back to the founders’ roots, their sales skyrocket in other continents and their international style is apparent with concepts that wouldn’t necessarily be overly marketed in North America.

“European style is sleek and simple, but very powerful,” dishes Dilara, “the point of our clothes is to empower women, especially those behind the work force. There are a lot of powerful women out there who want to look classy and feminine but fun business casual attire is more difficult to find.”

At the end of the day, Le Caniche Noir’s ultimate objective is to inspire the lady behind the desk to think outside the box when dressing for success. They want their ladies to look good, feel good and be original!

blackpearldressTheir website is super comprehensive and helpful, dividing their apparel into sub categories that relate to the browser’s mood. Femme Fatale, Weekend Glamour, Dare to Bare and Gypsy Queen are only a few to mention.

Notable pieces in their collection that I personally covet are this beautiful red cross back romper, a silken middle eastern inspired tube maxi dress, this backless, black mini dress with a pearl studded design at the shoulders (for that edgy 21st century look) and a piece that was named as the season’s best seller (and was generously gifted to me by the designer) this absolutely stunning, flawless coral button down blouse with a lace back.

In my opinion, these pieces sum up the theme Le Caniche Noir tries to convey in their clothing. They are versatile and classic pieces with a twist, that can work for any occasion.

Le Caniche Noir is definitely different than anything else out there. The Dzafics are all about adding the extra “oomph” and personality to their pieces. As Dilara puts it, “the average girl could wear a long black dress and keep it simple. Our girls would wear that long black dress with a big red hat!”

They’re also harmlessly kooky, yet tasteful: “We love to have fun, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We were bored at work once, so we made a sex tape.” I tore my sides in laughter as she immediately pulled out a masking tape that had the word “Sex” scrawled across it in red marker.

The quirky Dzafic quality is illustrated all over the brand, with their entertaining photoshoots that could initially raise an eyebrow, but would bring a smile to even the most prudent person’s lips at any time. Concepts that are so cheesy yet so charming, like Fashion Addicts, or Fashion Crimes, turned into photoshoots to promote their product. “We’re even having a Christmas party… on September 21st! Since Fall is like, Fashion Christmas,” Dilara said with a cheeky smile.

Why Le Caniche Noir? I think this boutique sets a positive example to women today. Even the concept behind naming the brand is inspiring. I originally thought it was named after Dilara’s adorable black poodle, Kiki (who is also the mascot of the brand), but there is a lot more to it than that.

“To us, Le Caniche Noir translates to a fashionable black sheep,” explained Dilara, “a woman who gets a little extra attention in a good way. The poodle, like our consumers, is elegant, and they are the second smartest canine breed. We aim for our clothes to cater to a strong, smart, elegant, and independent female audience.”

Caniche NoirWhat’s next for Le Caniche Noir? They don’t plan on marketing men’s clothes, but “we’re thinking of making doggy clothes! Ones that would match some of the outfits we sell!” Isn’t that just the cutest thing you’ve ever heard?

They also daydream about opening up an actual flesh n’ blood boutique, but maybe somewhere in Europe. “Actually, we want to open up four different boutiques that cater to different moods: Office Look, Party Girl, Hangover Chic and Look at Me. This would probably be done in Europe, but the idea expresses how eclectic the brand really is, and how it encourages it’s buyers to shop for their mood!”

Become a Caniche Noir girl and visit or, call them at their adorable phone number 1-855-7-POODLE (I just love it, I don’t even know why!!)

skater dressI am going to kick this off by saying I’ve been a bad girl. A Nasty Gal, some might say.

See, for a while now, I have been getting notifications on my Facebook news feed regarding new items of clothing this online store, Nasty Gal, has produced. When this gorgeous midnight blue, floral Kimono caught my eye, I decided to actually visit their website and explore what they have to offer.

Nasty Gal is an eclectic online store that has something for everyone (but mostly for those lucky women who have experienced the joys of being a size two, or curvier ladies who aren’t afraid to pull off the cut-out look). But what I’ve noticed about Nasty Gal, is that everything they have on their menu are the hippest, trendiest pieces you would see the likes of Rihanna (gag me) sporting.

First of all, let me just say that I’ve noticed that black is back. The web store is infused with little black dresses, black maxi dresses, black cut out dresses, and black skater dresses. It looks great, classic, and sexy, but I think it’s safe to say that black will be making a huge splash in our autumn wardrobes.

Kimono!!Now, KIMONOS. I’m just going to take the opportunity to announce to my friends and family who doubted me two years ago that I told you so. Kimonos have made a comeback and my investment from 2011 was not a mistake, so eat my dust, Mom. Kimonos are fabulous and Nasty Gal has them beautifully fluttering around their website. I am strongly considering being unreasonable and purchasing one.

They do have one trend littering their pages that concerns me, however and no, it isn’t overalls. I sincerely hope that we’ve gotten that one out of our systems.

Has anyone heard of this “peplum” business? Well, if you don’t know, the peplum detail is extra material that flairs out at the waist of a dress, jacket, skirt, for added accentuation, I suppose.

Judy JetsonIt is supposed to give the wearer an hourglass feel, though I personally think it makes everyone look like they just stepped out of The Jetsons. I think the detail can be cute on a dress, a skirt, maybe even a top that flares out peplum style, if you’re into that, but pants? Come on.

Honestly, I could be negatively judging the peplum pants because I’ll never forget the whole “skirt attached to pants” phase that was huge in 2002 and can’t help but wonder if we’re trying to bring it back in a more futuristic way. But for all I know, people will start rocking the pants with killer chunky heeled booties, a tight cross-back bustier top, and high blonde ponytails. Hey, Judy!

Nasty Gal looks like a fun place to shop from home. It’s web design is eye catching black and white with pink detail, making you feel like an adult kid in an adult candy store. Personally, the colour scheme makes me crave shoes.

black peplum dressTo be honest, it’s quite pricy, and since I haven’t actually experienced wearing any of their apparel or (knowingly) witnessed any of it face to face, I don’t know if their prices are worth it. I did pretend shop there, however, and noticed that they don’t charge taxes.. which is weird, possibly illegal, and I could be completely incorrect about it.

Maybe they’ll just end up pulling an Ikea: wait till the last possible minute, then BAM! $100 extra has been added to your subtotal. Their shipping costs are decent, though.

Their collection is definitely something pretty to look at. If you feel like window shopping on the net, if you’re stuck at home on a rainy day, if you’re looking for some outfit inspiration. Would you buy anything? You’d probably want to, but it depends on your own personal budget and money spending ethics.

That being said, both my budget and money spending ethics are pretty low, so I’m off to purchase that Kimono and solve the “no tax” mystery. You can do the same at




kayleigh peddie
Designer Kayleigh Peddie

It was a gorgeous summer evening in the Mile End, and I was sharing an iced tea and some girl talk with local designer, Kayleigh Peddie, who’s been branding herself and her collection since 2010. Peddie, a graduate of Lasalle College’s class of 2009, was wearing a gauzy black crop top baby T, paired with her handmade high waisted red and black leopard spotted leggings, and a kerchief  neatly tied against her maple wood coloured hair a la Lucille Ball.

Like her collection, her look exclaims fun, flirty, and individualistic, with a nostalgic feel towards the classic cuts and silhouettes of the mid 20th century. I almost immediately interrogated her choice and courage to wear leggings as pants- a look that not many people can pull off, though she did so beautifully.

“I vowed to never wear leggings as pants,” she assured me with a modest chuckle, “I wore them around the house all the time because I was like ‘this is the comfiest thing ever’  but I’m like, leggings are not pants! I finally wore mine out of the house like, two weeks ago an I was like ‘never ever taking them off, they’re so comfy!”

Needless to say, the comfy report and overall aesthetic of the leggings convinced me to confirm my plans to invest in her velvet floral leggings from her 2011 collection.

peddie 1But not everybody is petite like Peddie. Can the rest of us pull off the taboo “leggings as pants” look? Peddie thinks so: “I think the high waist helps out a lot, it kind of gives it a little more than low cut with a muffin top hanging out.” Sold. Add to cart.

Though some may initially see her collection as daring and directed towards a specific body type, Peddie claims with confidence that her clothes are made with everyone’s body type in mind. This is especially apparent in her swimsuit and lingerie lines, and on her Facebook page where she consistently posts pictures of her friends and customers wearing her pieces. These models range from petite to curvy, and they all look great in Peddie Couture.

As we discussed her swimsuit lines, I couldn’t  help but mention to Kayleigh that her pieces remind me of modern, funky, and sexier versions of Wilma Flinstone and Peggy Bundy. She beamed at my comparisons and exclaimed : “The Flintstones and the Jetsons are like my favourite things ever!” And with her use of old time cuts, it is easy to see that she appreciates shapes from the 1950’s and 1960’s, with wild prints leopard prints that are modern, yet have the brightness and flashiness that would be seen in the 80s. “The cuts are more classic, because they’re  much more modest with the higher necklines. But I think people are more willing to wear that these days, it’s not all about triangle bikinis anymore.”

lingerie peddieThe bikini tops can also be recycled as tops for every day outfits (for example, with a long skirt or flowy trousers, high waisted shorts (whatever your little hearts desire) but the experiment has the designer’s stamp of approval. “I’ve worn that top as like a shirt, and I don’t feel half naked. I like doing things more modest like that where people can wear them and be comfy, but still feel great”

Her lingerie as swimwear line was also discussed. The 2012 collection consists of several pieces varying in colours and prints that resemble 1950s undergarments. At first glance, I found this line a little daring. But then at second glance, I feel quite tempted to rock it. When I asked Kayleigh how she feels about the concept she says, “it can be done there’s lots of really great swimwear out there that’s lingerie inspired.. as long as it’s done right and in a tasteful way”. Well I’m sold. I’ll have one in pink, please!

As for her actual lingerie lines, like her, they are fun and flirty looking with splashes of modesty and a vintage sexiness all intertwined. Materials like mesh and velvet are frequently used, which is not unusual, but definitely rare in the world of lingerie. Peddie’s designs are completely original, but her favourite lines that specialize in lingerie are from Australia; Hopeless Lingerie and Lonely Hearts. “It looks like stuff you’ve never seen before, but it’s really classy!” Well, I could definitely say the same for Peddie’s lingerie collection. Personal favourite of mine: the black velvet bandeau bra and matching high waisted panties. Perfect undergarments for a harsh Canadian winter, with “super strong material that never fades”.

smiley sweater peddieAnother notable piece is the Kayleigh Peddie smiley faces bandeau bra and panty set. When I asked if this print is considered her signature, since it is also available as an oversized sweater, a mesh high neck bra and panty set, and (only as seen on her Facebook Page) a crop top, but she laughed and denied it. It is just one of the prints she enjoys using “I can’t not use all those colours! With swimwear and lingerie, people are willing to wear prints they wouldn’t wear everyday and look a little cheekier.”

All of Peddie’s pieces are made to order, and completely handmade by the seamstress herself. She is a one woman operation, and a great talent who bared a strong (yet unintentional) resemblance to Betsy Johnson- though on a personal note, I find her apparel to be way cuter. It is playful, yet mature, exciting and daring, but doesn’t look like it’s on crack. She doesn’t have plans to add accessories to her collection, but she has plans to expand her empire by eventually making her own fabrics, and “actual lingerie”.

Visit Peddie’s site, and spend a couple of hours looking through her stuff. You can also “like” her on Facebook.

There are size options listed, but she prefers to have people send her their actual measurements to avoid confusion: “I feel better sending somebody something that I know is going to fit them because they didn’t just guess their size.”

As for prices? They definitely range, but the quality and attention paid to the craft is worth it. “Nothing is out of reach, some people might people think it’s a little pricey, but it’s all handmade, it’s good quality, and it’s me.”