Updated: Feb 28
Our favorites series continues, from indie chocolate to cats to oversized vintage coats, by Gabrielle Vaillancourt.
1. SOMA CHOCOLATE
It’s cold. It is very, very cold. Will the temperature continue to drop and/or will the sun continue to go to bed earlier every day? Absolutely. Seeing as I’m from the East Coast, when I moved to Toronto I thought that this city’s rendition of Canadian winter would be a walk in the park. And it is— at least, a walk in the park with black ice and frostbite. With SAD season in full swing, and senior-year stress omnipresent, if it were not for the absolute god-send that is SOMA chocolate, I’d be neck-deep in frozen tears by now. This chocolate house of heaven’s greatest feature is their rich and lovely house-made “drinking” chocolate. You can order it as just a liquid chocolate shot if you’re feeling dangerous— or you can add milk and sip on it to stay warm for a bit longer. It comes in two options: classic dark or spicy Mayan. After my first cup, there was no going back to all that powdered HC bullshit. For our NYC friends, check out Marie Belle and La Maison Du Chocolate for a comparable treat.
2. ANOUVA HOU
With that, let’s get into the important stuff— the art! As much as I’m constantly on the hunt for a good cup of hot whatever, I am also always searching for new artists whose work keeps me inspired on all those grey, bleak wintry afternoons. I had the fortune to get in touch with Anova Hou through my work at another zine, and man, was I glad. This seventeen-year-old photographer’s dreamy portraits and editorial work transcends the conscience. Her work has been featured in Vogue Italia, and she currently contributes to Adolescent Content and Lithium magazine. Check out her portfolio here, and her Instagram here.
3. SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT
While we’re on the subject of super cool female artists, it would absolutely wrong to leave out my favourite (fictional) one— Ms. Nola Darling, the “sex-positive polyamourous pansexual” Brooklyn artist that doesn’t believe in labels— nor does she believe in the idolized projections that the men in her life place upon her. The 2017 remake of Spike Lee’s 1986 film enjoyed a fantastic first season, one that thrived in utilizing the original’s content in a modern environment. Although the second season left viewers (for the most part) underwhelmed and disappointed, I didn’t not enjoy watching Ms. Darling navigate her art career more than her love life, despite the absolutely paper-thin models of present-day social issues. Although the show could have dived much deeper into its content, and offered more opportunity for dialogue and development on the social commentary that it served on a gleaming plate, it is worth the watch to absorb, compare, and draw your own conclusions.
4. ANGELA DEANE
One totally-not-fictional artist that I have been rather obsessed with as of recent is Angela Deane. Her ghost series, in which she paints the most adorable sheet ghosts you’ve ever seen over nostalgia-filled photographs, strikes a chord in me. Maybe it’s because I have a thing for ghosts, but it’s more likely because these simple paintings layer an entirely new context and cause for contemplation onto something so straight-forward. A simple painting hollows a memory just like that and leaves you wondering what the artist intended to depict. This sort of cutesy ambiguity provides a playful base for interpretation— it invites the consumer to draw their own conclusions. And, if ghosts aren’t your thing, she also does aliens! You can see her work here.
5. SMUDGE LORD
On the subject of creatures— and because this wouldn’t be a truly Gen-Z list without it— and for a quick dose of comedic relief, I offer you this: the salad cat’s Instagram. I discovered this holy grail last week and it gave me a good 30 minutes of solid (and utterly valid) procrastination time. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the entire Instagram cat community with my whole heart, but I can and will pick favourites, and Mr. Smudge Lord is the #1 in my heart. Please finish your homework before you get too deep. Enjoy!
6. MARTIN MYAKA
I am not typically one for street style— which haunts me every day, as seemingly every 16-to-21-year-old man in the Greater Toronto Area wants to be Drake. But there is one Instagram model/stylist whose account I can’t get enough of: Martin Myaka, the New York-based model signed with Red Model Management, who pulls together outfits that breach the gap between street and lo-fi, high fashion, and the $5 box at the back of the thrift store. Even if all the clothes are designer, he works them to appear accessible, so that way anybody could copy the looks by browsing a vintage shop or at Urban Outfitters. His outfits are original— not the copy-and-paste Yeezy sneaks and OVO sweatshirt that you'll be sure to see walking downtown for just a few minutes. He treats his clothing like art, juxtaposing and layering to his heart’s content. Men’s fashion, as an industry, is certainly lacking depth and variation, and depth— and variation are exactly what Myaka brings to the table.
7. DRAMATICALLY OVERSIZED VINTAGE COATS
While I myself most certainly fall far short of being a fashion guru, I’ve found my style oasis on a rack at Black Market Vintage. The start of the Fall semester had me feeling rather bum-y, as waking up early to commute— and having, like, four jobs and no time to care about how you leave the house— will do that to a person. But layering a beautiful Renaissance-green crushed velvet coat over my baggy scumbag skater look has saved what little pride I have left in my appearance. If you find the right colour, even the most dramatic of coats, capes, and sweaters will perfectly balance the dinginess of Midterm season slacks. Another favourite in my closet is the long leather trench, an elegant and ironic Matrix-esque twist that I like to layer on top of monochrome black jeans and crop tops for a bumpin’ art student by day/secret service spy by night look. Maybe it’s all in my head and I just look plain old ridiculous, but I’m a believer that if you wear anything with confidence, you won’t be questioned. Most of the coats and jackets I own were purchased at vintage shops in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin, but I’ve seen some pretty funky ones in the premium vintage section of Black Market, too, for my fellow Torontonians. My coats are pictured below on Sabrina Wennekers.