White Elephant

Indie fashion gets simple and cultured

The Canadian boutique: White Elephant is a remarkable place to shop clothes and accessories which feel very unique and indie in outlook. The shop was founded in 2008 in Hamilton, Ontario, and then a second store opened in the same city just over three years ago.

Featuring a range of items from numerous local labels, such as Amanda Moss and Birds of North America, the clothes at White Elephant stand out for its simplicity in design and artistic focus. This is in stark contrast to the type of the accessories the boutique sells: the jewelry pieces are largely glamorous (items to covet include the Aquarius earrings and a pretty necklace with a stunning leafy design), whilst the handbags are very practical-looking beauties.

There is a good presence of global labels at the boutique as well, particularly for the jewelry but the shop is really ideal if you love the idea of including some Canadian clothes into your wardrobe too, along with finds from other markets. Some good fashion finds: a jade-colored cropped top with buttons at the front, a colorful hand painted bodysuit, and a lovely floral printed long dress.

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Reformation

The label that cares for the environment in a breathtaking fashion

Reformation is perhaps one of the most covetable labels in Los Angeles thanks to celebrities such as Rihanna. The brand really stands out for its unique approach to fashion: the items are sustainable but actually very pretty. The clothes on sale are entirely reworked vintage pieces and yet, the label does not look like it could add some diversity to its designs because the breadth available will easily blow you away.

Ideally suited for women with thrifty minds and in love with fashion, Reformation was founded in 2009. Recently, the label even welcomed its very tech savvy store in San Francisco that flaunts technology which actually lets shoppers know when a dressing room will be available for them, leaving them to do something more worthwhile with their time, like maybe browse even more fashion items in store.

What makes Reformation‘s clothes very attractive is that they all have a rather dreamy nature, and it is not just for the wedding collection. Casual pieces or even items meant to wear during upscale garden parties, such as the Lindsay Dress and Cordova Dress respectively, really make fashion look like it belongs in an entirely contemporary fairy tale.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson as Belle is a vision of loveliness, that cannot be marveled over enough. True, Emma’s edition of Belle is so different from the one in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991) – imagine: Emma’s Belle wears boots instead of refined shoes, dons a worn outfit, paired with a crinkled blouse in the outsides, and is even a resourceful woman, who’s also a maker and a teacher, but the there is no denying Belle’s magic, and part of that reason is how brilliantly Emma portrayed the character onscreen.

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The role actually demanded a musical side of Emma to be revealed onscreen and that also for the very first time, which seems more challenging than Emma’s background in music will let on. Watson had not only spent her childhood singing songs from the 1991 Disney classic, she had also previously learnt singing (along with acting and dancing) at the UK-based part-time theatre arts school, Stagecoach Theatre Arts, in Oxford. Probably for that, Emma could do away with spending limited time separately learning the ropes of the music for the live action remake of the fairy tale, as well. Emma thinks the songs in the film are dreamlike; she’s also done five songs for the soundtrack to Beauty and the Beast.

One other fact that makes Emma’s Belle in Beauty and the Beast truly remarkable is how very different it is to one utterly ridiculous image of Belle, which has spread itself around for a long time now – that Belle must be in love with an abusive man (the Beast), as if she’s suffering from Stockholm syndrome, where a person’s character morphs into something really similar to that of the (abusive) captor and feelings of passion get borne.

Reasons why this theory has been around for such a long time is that Belle often displays anger towards the Beast and even has rows with him. But Emma (impressively) feels that that train of thought is incorrect because Belle is also an independent woman, who actually has her individual disposition and only changes her mind about Beast and develops a caring attitude towards him, when Beast manages to showcase both civility and goodwill.

It’s really such a shocking idea bouncing off a character like Belle, who Emma also perceives as sweet and a feminist of sorts. Emma’s portrayal of Belle actually reveals a woman who is ardently looking for an adventure – in her own unique way, Emma really did do absolute justice to the classic heroine of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy tale.

Shania Twain

Shania Twain’s comeback album Now, which was released just last year was a great turn of events musically: after an absence from singing for so many years, Twain came back a changed woman. Coming back to the spotlight like that sounds like the scariest experience in the world. But that wasn’t so for Twain: with Now, she was actually eager to please her fans and surprisingly even listen in on their favorites from the album.

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Shania had actually previously announced that she would bid farewell to music for forever – after her Las Vegas residency, which lasted from late 2012 and up until late 2014, a farewell tour was even announced. So, what Now also brought in was practically the throwing up all of that up in the air and thankfully hit all the lovers of her music (including me) with her big, big surprise return with an album after so many years.

Shania is into her early fifties now and her latest album is really a step away from almost all of her previous musical work, apart from her self-titled debut album. For Shania, working on the album felt similar to what the working environment was like for the Canadian music artist, during the earliest days of her musical journey: writing materials for her songs, with complete independence; bravely, Shania actually did all the writing by herself and she states that the experience felt brilliant. To actually have Shania go back to crafting an entirely new music album like that after no longer being in a marriage, where a working relationship was also present with constant inputs from the man she was married to back then, into Shania’s work, in a collab environment of sorts, was just fabulous.

Coming out of personal struggles is most certainly no piece of cake and Twain’s divorce isn’t the only major hurdle she has to cross before Now became such a huge hit. Shania had also suffered from Lyme disease for a little while because a tick unfortunately bit her, whilst she was on tour: to help herself heal, Shania had to practice something like doing a vocal edition of pilates and it’s something she has to carry on with for the rest of her life; Shania’s voice has even altered post getting the disease but she still sounds just as remarkable musically as before, which is really the most ideal state of things given the roller-coaster ride the past couple of years had turned out to be for Twain.

Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot has had the best year, last year, movies-wise: she starred in the lead in one of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters ever Wonder Woman. But her fairytale life as a Hollywood star was almost over before it even properly began: Gal nearly quit as an actress because countless auditions and callbacks had resulted in no role for her. The environment was also deeply troubling for Gal because of the strain that the constant travelling back-and-forth from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles, with no productive results in sight, was taking on her marriage.

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Actually, Gal is no stranger to challenges at all because her journey to become Wonder Woman began in the most unlikely of ways: Gadot used to be one of Israel’s biggest models, until she had to exchange her glamorous life for a military service job at the Israel Defense Force – it’s a compulsory practice in her country. During those two years, Gal had to trade her personal freedom for the learning of self-control and kindness – interesting! It probably made sense, in all likelihood, to her nation to build characters in that way.

Soon after that, the Israeli actress was chosen to audition by an LA casting agency for Quantum Of Solace. Although, Gal lost out on that role to Olga Kurylenko, she eventually earned the role of Gisele Yashar in the fourth installment from The Fast and the Furious franchise: Fast & Furious. Gal then went on to star in two further films of The Fast and the Furious franchise: Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, reprising her role as Gisele; her military training, which was gathering rust after her time spent in service was over, must have come in handy for the three films because she chose to do all of the stunts in those films herself.

It was yet another audition for Gal which actually landed her the role of a lifetime as Wonder Woman – the iconic female superhero, who fights bad guys and is a playgirl of sorts. Gal is really nothing like Wonder Woman in the flesh: she’s married to a businessman from her nation and even has a daughter with him. Her marriage also provided her with the opportunity to change the bedsheets of a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv, which the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich reportedly bought out from her new family setting in 2015.

Gal had actually met her husband at a party on yoga, chakras and the likes, back in her nation in the mid-2000s; he’s surprisingly a decade older than her and with only two years into dating, Gal got married to him. It’s really brilliant everything worked out magically for Gal, in the end, because there’s no wondering just how different everything would be, and not only for her but also for Wonder Woman, if that role of a superhero hadn’t actually come her way.

Britney Spears

Britney Spears is one of those music artists, whose work I always look forward to listening to because of her very varied range of musical preferences, from pop to electropop. Her latest album, Glory, which was released in 2016, featured collaborations with a small range of stars, such as Chantal Kreviazuk, BloodPop, Mattman & Robin, and the English record producer Burns, but it delivered a good enough impact – the album charted high at Billboard, as well as on the local charts of several countries across the globe, from Italy to South Korea.

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Britney took a very long time to make a musical return spending over two years worth of time working on Glory. Although, the result is more half-baked than beautifully brilliant like her first few albums, it was still atypical ‘Britney Spears’ – and that means dance-worthy songs that you still remember long after the dust has settled around the global sensation that is the young pop diva; my favorite song from Glory is undoubtedly ‘Slumber Party’, which also has Tinashe as a featured artist – in my book, it’s definitely a memorable-enough song.

The sensation that is Britney Spears has so sadly changed over the years and this is majorly because of her personal struggles as a young music artist: broken marriages, numerous brief relationships and the struggle with her children seems to have really changed the star and never really let her return to the glamorous avatar of a teen idol that Britney had cultivated up until her mid-twenties. It’s the most infuriating of circumstances: that a music artist of Britney’s stature could actually experience something that has her made so different from the expectations off her early successes.

Still, Britney manages to bring a lot of her entertaining character to the fore as a celeb, from constantly soaking in a party environment during her Las Vegas performance days to her pausing with romances and opt to enjoy the single life for some time, and that is the most marvelous thing about Britney Spears. In a world of showbiz, that cultivates annoying stars who feel receiving bad publicity is still a good idea because at least it provides that much-desired ‘15 minutes of fame’, Britney actually entertains in true-blue fashion.

Kriti Sanon

Kriti Sanon has had a very productive last year, having starred in two important films: Raabta and Bareilly Ki Barfi. Personally, my favorite part of her body of work, so far, is her performance in Bareilly Ki Barfi, where she plays an average young woman called Bitti, who is from Bareilly.

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What makes Sanon’s character more endearing than the circumstances of her life, like a prospective loveless marriage that Bitti doesn’t like the idea of, is the kind of person she is. Apart from being headstrong, Bitti seems really carefree too: she’s also a dancer, who likes to copy dancing methods from dance videos and reenact them herself.

In Bareilly Ki Barfi, Kriti worked with Ayushmann Khurrana for the first time and for the second time with Rajkumar Rao. Sanon’s working pattern with the two actors involved plenty of rehearsals and conversations over how to best perform in all of their scenes together; it sounds quite theatrical, which isn’t much of a surprise given Khurrana and Rao’s previous work in theater.

But where Kriti and her acting process is concerned, Sanon always prioritizes the script and her role in it, prior to choosing a film to work in because of the relationship that an actor shares with her audience; Kriti wants that relationship to bear fruit – she is that kind of an actor who wants the audience to enjoy her performance. Influencing the audience’s perception in a positive angle is naturally not a joke, as Raabta proved which bombed at the box office but her second film last year, Bareilly Ki Barfi, certainly delivered what Kriti had desired – appreciation for her work as an actor.

Kriti also has a rather unique way to look at her finished film projects. After a film project is complete for her, Kriti often feels that she could have applied a different approach to her scenes but observing her act makes me think otherwise; Kriti’s work is often entertaining and because of that it feels unreduced.

Raabta’s failure had deflated her emotions somewhat but with Bareilly Ki Barfi, Sanon seems to have made a lasting impact: post the film’s release, Sanon was very busy taking a look at the reviews of the film and felt elated at the response – the film had received both good reviews and also success at the box office. After spending a pretty long time starring in a rather average range of films, it was most definitely a deserving success for Sanon.