When Winnipeg-based queer artist and jewellery designer Hannah Quist was thinking of a name for her hobby turned business, she started with a list of things she loved and eventually landed on Paisley Sun Studio. This personal touch is evident in all her handmade pieces; available in a variety of vibrant hues and quirky shapes, they make up a collection of earrings that’s evocative of a spring garden. Her latest pieces are a combination of candy-coloured resin and a solid sprinkling of glitter; the whimsical accessories were inspired by nature and her travels in Portugal. (From $20, paisleysunstudio.ca)
A Breakthrough Artist’s First Monograph
When he was just 23 years old, Tyler Mitchell made history as the first Black photographer—and one of the youngest ever—to shoot a cover for Vogue, having been hand-picked by the cover star herself, Beyoncé. In his first published monograph, I Can Make You Feel Good (out on May 19), bright palettes and glowing natural light permeate his vision of a Black utopia. With subjects ranging from Havana’s emerging skateboard scene to actors like Amandla Stenberg and Stephan James, the volume is a joyful celebration of hope and offers insight into the creative mind of this rising star.
Thoughtful Home Pieces
Back in 2016, Ryan Spotowski created the table centrepieces for his wedding, and they ended up being the prototypes of the first pieces from his Edmonton-based design studio. Armed with feedback from his guests and skills he honed as a third-generation craftsman, Spotowski started Ryspot Design as a source for home goods fused with innovation and art. He uses a non-traditional combination of concrete, recycled plastics, resin and steel with the aim of breaking down the barriers between the urban environment and our homes. His new collection celebrates imperfection with nestlike concrete mirrors and planters rendered with a soft touch—fingerprints and all—for a childlike playfulness. (From $50, shop.ryspot.design)
Scents of fresh fig, blossoming orange trees and sensual jasmine musk that evoke the natural landscapes and historical heritage of Morocco provide the basis for Ulili, a collection of handcrafted candles, diffusers and soaps. Founder Omar Benjelloun started the company after studying at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery under Marianne Nawrocki, who also creates all the scents for the line. We can’t get enough of Ulili’s candles, which are poured in the brand’s Casablanca workshop and adorned with a playful cast of illustrated characters inspired by the country’s culture. (From $20, shopkalosophie.com)
A Book on Frida Kahlo
It’s never a bad time to celebrate Frida Kahlo— just ask Nadia Bailey and Susanna Harrison, the brains behind Frida A to Z (out on May 5). The meticulously researched book breaks down the Mexican artist’s life, from overcoming childhood obstacles to her friendships with some of the world’s most acclaimed artists to her rise as a distinctive voice of the 20th century. And all of this is accompanied by vivid and charming illustrations of which Kahlo herself would be proud.
A Digital Photography Festival
Discover the next Peter Lindbergh at the 24th annual Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. Originally planned to take over Toronto, the festival has now moved online and will feature profiles on artists and artworks, conversations, video screenings, photobooks and readings. (scotiabankcontactphoto.com)
A Collagen Boosting Lip Palette
As a makeup artist, Gucci Westman relies on the freedom and versatility of lip palettes to customize the perfect colour. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of her namesake clean-beauty line, Westman Atelier, she’s launching Lip Suede. The all-natural formula combines vivid pigments with regenerating skincare ingredients like collagen-boosting biomimetic peptides, cold-pressed cherry oil and marula oil to create four universally flattering shades, all housed in a glossy palm-size compact. Whether you wear each on its own or mix them up, the velvety-matte finish will keep your lips moisturized and comfortable all day. ($114, at Holt Renfrew, holtrenfrew.com)
Something we can all agree on? Wet socks are the worst. Andy Wang was looking for a sneaker that could take him through everything from Vancouver’s steady drizzle to Toronto’s slushy streets. Out of that desire came Vessi—which comes from the Finnish word for “water”—a line of lightweight moisture-wicking knit shoes made with a patented waterproof membrane. Along with his two co-founders, Wang launched the product on Kickstarter in 2018 and raised over $1.2 million. With their minimalistic design and plush soles, you’ll want to wear them rain or shine. ($135, vessifootwear.ca)
A Guide On Pop-Culture’s Most Iconic Hairstyles
We’d be lying if we said we haven’t handed celeb-inspo photos to our hairstylist at least once. Luke Tribe’s Hair Icons (out on May 5) is born from the same spirit. The fun visual guide celebrates 100 of the most iconic hairstyles throughout pop-culture history, including Beyoncé’s “Formation” braids, Cameron Diaz’s unforgettable cowlick in There’s Something About Mary and, of course, “the Rachel.”
A Triangle Inspired Home Line
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you—luxury-French- decor retailer Roche Bobois’ newest collection, Multi-Faceted, is just trying to make you feel that way. The triangle-inspired line, which leans heavily on geometric shapes and hypnotic patterns, includes intriguing vases, vibrant-hued ceramic side tables and a kaleidoscopic wool rug that many people on the ELLE Canada team are currently coveting. (Price upon request, roche-bobois.com)
A Brand New EP
Montreal rapper-singer-songwriter Zach Zoya has slowly been taking over Quebec’s music scene with his unique and versatile style. He has earned the support of some of Montreal’s biggest tastemakers— including producer High Klassified, who has worked with Future and The Weeknd—and performed at some of the province’s most prominent music fests. Now the 21-year-old is coming for the rest of Canada. His first EP with a major record label, Univeral Music Canada, drops this spring.
A High-Tech Suitcase
After recruiting the likes of Simone Rocha and J.W.Anderson for its Moncler Genius series of collabs, luxury-apparel label Moncler has found its newest partner for a limited-edition launch: premium- luggage brand Rimowa. The result? “Reflection,” a suitcase covered in a mirrored surface so shiny you won’t be able to miss it. The high-tech piece also features a programmable LED screen with ticker-style messages, allowing you to bring your own ultra-personal touch to your luggage. ($3,606, rimowa.com)
An Instant Camera in Pastel Hues
Apologies to our Insta feeds, which we will be neglecting thanks to Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 11 instant camera. The latest iteration of the cult classic is available in five new colours (including a few dreamy pastel hues) and is more compact than previous versions, making it super portable. The camera also promises better photos: There’s a new, easy-to-use selfie mode, and the automatic-exposure function optimizes the shutter speed based on ambient lighting so you can capture that special moment day or night. ($90, at Best Buy, bestbuy.ca)
Michelle Obama’s First Documentary
The Netflix release we have all been waiting for is finally here. Take an intimate look into Michelle Obama’s life as she tours with her book, Becoming, and provides us with endless inspiration and life lessons along the way.
A Sold-Out Broadway Production (on Audible)
Heard about the hype surrounding the sold-out Broadway production Sea Wall / A Life but didn’t get a chance to see it IRL? Now is your chance. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge, the play is a dramatic exploration of love and loss focused on two men, both fathers, husbands, and sons, (which had NYC audiences roaring to their feet). Check it out at audible.ca
A Moving Memoir
Sarah Kurchak is autistic. But she’ll never let that stop her from going after what she wants. Her illuminating new memoir, I Overcame My Autism And All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder, tackles everything from parenting, love, sex and obsessions while challenging stereotypes and preconceptions about those living with autism.
A Glossy Coffee Table Book
Celebrate the Bata Shoe Museum’s 25th anniversary with the release of The World at Your Feet: Bata Shoe Museum, the first glossy coffee-table book of the largest collection of international footwear in the world. This new book features over 100 of the most beautiful and fascinating shoes in the Toronto museum and also provides a fascinating insight into each covetable pair.
A Female-Driven Canadian Web Series
Band Ladies, a new Canadian comedy web series, follows five women who are sick of their repetitive lives and find freedom by forming a punk band. After a video of their first performance goes viral, the women are launched headfirst into a music career, which allows them to discover true friendship and find the inner strength they didn’t know they had. Catch it on Highball TV starting May 13th.
This article originally appeared in the June 2020 issue of ELLE Canada. Subscribe here.
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