Chinese Work Ethic Sunny Fong

Men's fashion carnage etcetera in all its naked glory…

Category: Toronto

Revamping Club Monaco


Canadian men’s style can be difficult to define especially with the increased access to quality design from around the world. More companies are now shipping to Canada and competing with our beloved Canadian labels and local retailers. Maybe Canadian men’s style doesn’t have to be defined by Canadian labels anymore. Purchased by Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco is aiming to give the men of Toronto something to rave about. Aaron Levine and Michael Williams (from A Continuous Lean) have been given the task of revamping a brand that sort of plummeted into the depths of retail hell for a while. Honestly, I stopped shopping there when the sizes went up and the prices reflected the amount of extra fabric they needed to make clothes for fat Americans. God knows, I can only have so much oatmeal in my closet. But then all of a sudden, I noticed some new pieces in the windows and was surprised to find that “XS” was back on the racks.

Now Club Monaco is tackling the booming menswear market in a slightly more strategic way. Heritage branding and some third-party labels (Tanner Goods, Clark’s, Aether and more) will hopefully compete well with the “failing” J. Crew store here in Toronto. Who goes to Yorkdale regularly anyway? Suburbanites with money, not downtown hipsters which J. Crew so wants to target. And with the increased pricing and lack of menswear at J. Crew, I think Club Monaco is going to do just fine. The very first Men’s Shop in the world has opened up in Yorkville and I am excited to pop in to see the new digs at Bloor and Avenue. So yay for Canada (sort of).


Ironically, one of the most interesting new additions to the Men’s Shop is the limited edition Made In USA line of handmade ready-to-wear pieces including ties, trousers and suiting.

I’m on a retail boycott right now but it doesn’t hurt to look.

Club Monaco Men’s Shop
157 Bloor Street West
Toronto
(416) 591-8837

Exclusive

Decided to pop into an exclusive unadvertised cocktail bar in a dark alleyway.

Not only was it kinda crazy, it really was a members only place with strict rules. The drinks were way overpriced so I was expecting some spectacular concoctions.
I guess I’m just too spoiled by my trips to the Flatiron Lounge in NYC. Those $15 drinks are worth every penny.

It’s nice to see Toronto try though. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jonathan+Olivia

I was walking down Ossington recently and decided to check out the place that was being renovated a while back. I thought it was going to a Sephora or some shit restaurant I can’t afford but to my delight, Jonathan + Olivia has moved into this uber-hipster neighbourhood.

Some notable stuff that I will be sifting through:

Comme des Garcons Wallet


Rag & Bone


APC


Wings and Horns

Maybe with the 40% sale happening, I’ll be able to afford some frocks and socks.
I think I might pop by this weekend. Located at 49 Ossington, between Dundas and Queen West.

David LaChapelle’s Rape of Africa at CONTACT

I’ll reserve my comments until I actually see it in person next week.

175 Things That Kinda Suck About Toronto – #45

45. PUBLIC ART
Flipping through my copy of Design Lines Toronto, I found this little piece of public art on the back page:

This is literally two blocks away south from my place. And that’s my doctor’s office/pharmacy next door.

I’m all for public interventions particularly with text. And I actually quite enjoy his work around New York and Toronto but for some reason because I live here, this rubs me in the wrong way. Maybe because I happily welcome gentrification to the area. I like pruned trees and mulch. Lesbian mothers with their $500 carriages and dogs that cost more than a motorcycle. I want more affluent people in the area. Don’t we all?

We recently vetoed the proposed Wal-mart but I’m going to be honest, I wouldn’t have cared if they had opened one down near the film studio district. I mean, there’s already a giant Canadian Tire plaza, who cares if they want to open a Wal-mart? I have to drive out to Scarborough to get discount home stuff anyway so you’re at least saving us the car trip. I welcome big boxes as long as they stay relatively outside of the artsy fartsy strips of shopping. Having a Wal-mart a little farther away is great because everyone can shamefully go there without being noticed by the neighbours. Meanwhile, you’re all there looking for sweatpants and avoiding eye contact while picking out bath mats.

It’s not like they’re putting an H&M right next to Lahore Tikka House (though I wouldn’t mind that either).
I’m just so sick of hearing about the apparent gentrification of Toronto from the hippies that aren’t even fucking from here! But I digress.

Specter’s work is a great example of successful public art. It offends, upsets, pushes people’s buttons (including my own) and titillates.
The point is that there isn’t enough of this type of work being funded. Art is supposed to make you think. Can you name a memorable piece of legal public art installed recently in Toronto that does that? Yeah, me neither.

175 Things That Kinda Suck About Toronto – #40 – 44

40. THE NEW GPS SYSTEM AT SPADINA STATION
Great. Now I can see exactly how long I have to wait for the 510. The thing is placed behind the lineup so when you turn around to look, you can’t really see it because people are standing all over the place. It would be nice if it was placed where the electronic marquee is. Ya know, where everyone faces.

This photo above was taken on the day of the installation. After this day, the streetcars just went back to their normal inconsistency.
Last weekend, I decided to try the 510 instead of my usual route and when I checked the GPS, all the streetcars were below Dundas going southbound and the system said “25 minutes, 27 minutes, 30 minutes, 30 minutes and 30 minutes.” I walked instead and saw the 5 streetcars in a row going northbound.
I’ve come to the conclusion that they installed the GPS there to piss people off.

41. PIZZA

When was the last time you had a good, simple, no frills slice of pizza in Toronto?
Yeah, I can’t remember. Unless I order from the Pizza Nova near Pape, the Domino’s at Parliament or the Mamma’s Pizza on Danforth.
The fact that Pizza Pizza has a corporate head office on Jarvis shows that we don’t have enough good pizza joints in the city. The proof is in the pudding…er, pizza.
Is that a young Darryl Hammond on the right?

42. BRIDLEPATH SPEEDBUMPS
I like that the wealthiest people in the city also have the most annoyingly useless speedbumps in the city. Not only do these speedbumps kill your shocks but they’re not particularly obvious so everyone just drives really fast over them to get out of the Bridlepath. And what sucks is that every few weeks you think “ya know what, I’m gonna try an alternative route today…” and you inevitably end up in the Bridlepath getting whiplash and cursing people for having pool sheds that are bigger than the Metro YMCA.

43. SNOWPLOWING
Because I have major back issues and a corner lot, shoveling each year is either a great winter past-time or the worst thing for me. The worst thing is when the City of Toronto snowplows come a day after the snowfall and plow over my work. Sometimes they see me shoveling and they just come and push all the snow onto my sidewalk. Meanwhile, I’m breaking my back trying not to get a fine or a passive aggressive note from my lesbian neighbours. Because of my plowing woes, I always stop to watch plow guys for a few minutes just to see what their deal is.

I saw this one City worker guy just pushing snow around, just killing time for $34.61 an hour. This past winter, I watched a plow guy wait for me on my corner to finish. Then the minute I stepped into my door, he plowed a pile onto my sidewalk. Didn’t plow anything else. Just my sidewalk and drove off. I wanted to murder him. It took me another 30 minutes to dig the area out.
I also noticed that they tend to wait a long time after a snowfall to plow anything or they plow when it’s not necessary anymore.
I didn’t mind when Mel Lastman brought in the army. At least they cleaned the city up instead of these overpaid government fucks.

44. BRUCE WEBER HATES US



I met Bruce Weber (famous photographer for Vanity Fair, Vogue, Abercrombie & Fitch, Versace etc…) while schmoozing at a Toronto Film Festival event. He was standing next to me in a hallway and we started chatting. I asked him “so I’ve seen you show in New York and your book is great. Any chance you might show here in the future? Maybe AGO or even Stephen Bulger?”

Bruce: “No.”

175 Things That Kinda Suck About Toronto – #36 – 40

36. YONGE AND EGLINTON
Happy couples. Office buildings. Corporate schleps running to What A Bagel! and Kitchen Stuff Plus on their lunch break. A poorly laid out mall. I guess the bars are okay… Oh wait, that’s Yonge and St. Clair.
Everything is more pricey up there for some reason too including rents. Walking to get to a store between Eglinton and Lawrence is hell on earth both in the winter and summer.
There’s something about the area that sucks the soul out of everyone.
Even the nickname sucks:”Yonge and Eg.” The only reason for this nickname is because people can’t be bothered to say the whole name. Whooooooo!!!
Yonge and Eg is like celebrities who wear nicer clothes than the normal city rube population but no matter what, they never quite reach that “classy” level they’re attempting to achieve.

37. HALLOWEEN ON CHURCH STREET
That biatch from the Star is wrong, yo. Maybe 6 or 7 years ago, it was a a great time with your friends. 80% of people were dressed up, 50% of people were REALLY dressed up. The most amazingly creative costumes one could find on Halloween night. Not a “sexy cat” or “devil girl” in sight. I remember a group of transsexual flight attendants and a handsome pilot literally stopping traffic to cross the street. Drivers honked, hooted and hollered. I used to get goosed walking down Church Street in my costume. It was always a hoot! Now, the street is closed off, flooded with a mix of costumed revelers and people who come down to watch us like we’re fish in an aquarium. It’s too crowded, dull and annoying to walk through. Frankly, boring straight people who want to see a freak show should stay home and pass out candy.

38. COUNTDOWN TRAFFIC SIGNALS
Has anyone noticed that some of them count down to zero and then stay green for another 5 -10 seconds (I’ve timed them)? So motorists slow down to a rolling stop, notice that it’s still green and gun it through the intersection. It looks so dangerous.

39. THE REACTION TO ROBIN KAY
Yes, the head of the Fashion Design Council of Canada got really drunk (and gets really drunk every year) and makes a slew of drunk speeches to Canada’s “fashion elite.” We have a fashion elite? Please. Robin Kay gets dumped on for staggering and saying such shocking statements such as “‘Fabulous,’is the only F-word they let me use.” Well, pin a rose on your nose! Cover your children’s ears! Fashion Week in Toronto is a bland, underwhelming and vicious cycle of marketing execs and Audi employees in abnormally pointy shoes (I’m referring to the men!). We take no risks, we don’t invite real artists to represent the shows and the after parties are all very corporate affairs where the lack of diversity in the crowd reminds us of why most Canadian fashion talent eventually move to either Europe or New York.

Robin Kay isn’t even edgy or wacky enough to garner this kind of negative press. I have to get insanely drunk just to get through some of the events.
If Robin Kay actually did a line on the podium at Holt Renfrew launch or maybe threw in a few young upstarts into the designer mix, our Fashion Week might be somewhat tolerable on an excitement standpoint. I mean, she stumbled and stuttered on the Mango runway. MANGO for fuck’s sake! Why is Mango, a large retailer, even doing a show? You don’t see Express at New York Fashion Week. Fashion elite? That’s just funny.
A real fashion elite moment: Calvin Klein’s cameo on 30 Rock.

40. TASTE OF DANFORTH
For some reason, we thought it would be fun to go check out the festival in the evening to see if we oculd score some cheap eats. It was cramped, badly laid out, filled with the wrong kind of people and the restaurant offerings were mediocre. We had to eventually take the back streets to get the hell out of there. I kept getting hit in the face and being pushed around in the crowd. 80% of the time, I was pressed up against a group of rude teenagers. It took us almost an hour to navigate through the strip to get back home. It was basically a nosh pit. *foooooooooooog horrrrrrrrrrrrrrn*

Food-wise, it usually kinda goes something like this:
“Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look, cold sushi that has been sitting in the sun all day. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look souvlaki. Oh look, the subway.”

A Leslieville Stroll

To all you fuckers who argue with me about where I live, I only tell you that I live in Leslieville because it’s just easy to say that. Or I say Greenwood but most people say “Greenwood? Where is that?”

I actually live in an area that most people here call Upper Leslieville since Leslie Street is literally about 2 blocks away. I’m in a residential dead zone where we’re just on the outside of India Bazaar, Leslieville and Riverdale.

It was a such nice day today, I took a break from painting and decided to visit some of the local stores down on Queen Street East, where there is no denying that its’ Leslieville even though some of the stores are outside of the accepted boundaries. I walked down Greenwood and ventured a little bit east on Queen, near the streetcar depot. Between The Film Buff and this awesome antique store is Inspired Cooks where I fondled the many many many kitchen doodads that were completely superfluous but oh-so pretty. If anyone is looking for an alternative to William Sonoma, this is the place to go. Though IQ Living is having a great sale right now.

February really is the time to buy furniture and home decor. The spring and summer merchandise is coming in so there are so many clearances happening.
I stopped into Eye Spy to check out the goods. A few items I loved:

This would be great for a coke party, eh? Everyone can hide their bloody noses.

This is totally impractical, looks uncomfortable and would get yellow or something from everyone’s dirty butts. I want it.

Wow, $1000? This velvety, leaf-etched Hudson chair better paint my house.

Stopped into Ethel and got humped by Greg’s beagle. Highlight of the day.

Stopped into Guff too. Good luck getting anything at this store. Items get snatched up really fast so you have to keep up with their blog on a weekly basis.

But the best purchase of the day was this 11”x14” silk screen print by Binth called King of Hearts. Edition 15/250. The lines are exquisite. I’m really happy with it.

But after I brought it home, I realized that it’s essentially a print of me wearing a sombrero, slaying the feeble hearts of my many many many male cohorts.
Art imitating life. *blows fingernails*

TTC streetcar GPS system is finally here!

Since I’m going to be too busy painting today and then heading to Toronto Fashion Week tonight, I’ll leave you with the new real-time GPS tracking system for the TTC’s streetcars.

Just make sure not to drink and drive a bus tonight, my loyal C.W.E. readers! Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day safely.

This GPS system is either going to be really helpful or piss me off. You can even click “ROUTES” and choose individual lines. I guess I foresee this as being very useful for when I want to be online as much as possible before running out the door. Yay!
There seems to be some bugs in the program (right now, all the lines disappeared and I only see one) so be patient. Knowing the TTC, we should have this up and running by 2013.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone. I’m wearing my “Irish For a Day” pin and will hopefully be getting enjoying a Guinness (or 5) with my fellow glassy-eyed black Irishmen.

God bless the mighty mighty… fertile… masculine… nubile… white man.

*cat sound*

Fashion Week review coming tomorrow!!!

175 Things That Kinda Suck About Toronto – #31 – 35

31. CHERRY STREET T&T
What a load of crap. I’ve been burned twice there with mis-marked specials and the announcements aren’t as clear as the other locations. Get Zhang some enunciation lessons, Mr. Manager!
The items are more expensive than a lot of other stores but I’ll admit, it’s a bazillion times cleaner than anything in Chinatown. The produce isn’t great but still cheaper than Longo’s.

Sometimes it’s worth the trek to Markham for their awesome T&T (plus there are better restaurants up there) or the amazingly inexpensive but luxurious Garden Basket.
And here’s a tip to white people: don’t gotta drive all the way to Cherry Street to get that ramen or iced coffee you like. Chances are you can get it and anything else in East Chinatown for cheaper.

32. GUN CRIME
Violent crime is on the decline but for some reason, gun crime seems to be moving outwards from its usual crime-ridden areas. Now there’s shootings in Leslieville? And Queen East? 3 people were innocently shot at the Guvernment just the other night. Seriously, is the city going to do something about getting these dealers and maybe lay off the ganja raids a little?

33. ST. CLAIR WEST
Not only is there a lack of good restaurants and shops (The Rushton, Open Window, the BBQ chicken at Loblaw’s, that pho place near the church is pretty good) but I recently found out that Dutch Dreams doesn’t actually make their own ice-cream. It’s factory-made and not the authentic stuff that it claims to be. Can anyone verify this? I don’t eat ice-cream but this is appalling! Actually, I could give two shits as I don’t eat ice-cream so really, the worst thing about St. Clair West right now is that the construction for the designated streetcar lane has been going on since I started working in the area (5 years and counting). And when I get off work to go to the gym, the replacement shuttle buses get me to the Yonge Line waaaaaaaaaaaay faster than the streetcars. If they streetcars are running for a temporary period, I am always late for Muscleworks.

34. LILLIAN H. SMITH LIBRARY
I don’t work there anymore and I can now say what I’ve always wanted to say: what a horrible horrible horrible branch. The Chinese video section smells. There’s a child predator that the staff let roam around. The elevators are slow. The collections isn’t all that. The staff are incredibly rude and obnoxious. The clientele are loud, needy and violent. And they treat most of their Pages like shit. Those beautiful sculptures out front are a ruse to get you to use this piece of shit library. They should turn it into a Whole Foods or something. Kudos to the Page who wrote that scathing article on LHS in Now Magazine a few years back.

35. KILLER MANHOLES
Not a plug for a gay site so get your mind out of the gutter. *fooooooog hoooooorn*
HAhahahhahHAHHAhahahahhHAHAhahahahaahaahHAHAHahhahahha.. Whooooo! Okay, sorry…
Those mini metal sewer covers on the city’s sidewalks were discovered to be little landmines, electrocuting and killing several dogs this winter. I, will, however give kudos to the city for reacting immediately to the situation instead of the usual red tape. I saw hydro workers out the next day in East York checking each cover.

More to come…

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