RELIGION ON THE RUNWAY
Clarins Holiday Must-Haves Joe Fresh
pulpit and the pew.” Even the pope, voted TIME magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year, is on board, spreading his message to more than 4.5 million Twitter followers.
But while these virtual tools are neat, people finally seem to be attuned to the idea that in- person connections are missing in their lives. I know I am. It bothers me that I don’t know any of my neighbours and that my barista, the only local I see regularly, still gets my name wrong. I like chatting with Facebook friends, but they won’t come over and feed my cat when I’m on vacation or bring me soup when I’m sick. “I don’t think the Internet can take the place of communities that can build the resilience that we need in times of change and chaos,” says Vosper.
Keegan started Full Circle after a series of bizarre happenings, including seeing a street light explode and witnessing a rose-quartz crystal spontaneously jump off an altar. My mystic experience, although less dramatic, also ignited a spiritual curiosity I didn’t even know I had. Now, like so many, I’m craving a place to think and talk about what it all means. Ultimately, I think lots of us are trying not only to be better but to be better. “It comes down to this question: How am I going to live?” says Vosper. “You feed yourself every time you reflect on how to exist in relationships with your family, your neighbours and even strangers.” Now that’s something I can believe in. ■ In the past, we’ve seen religion used in fashion as a provocative way of pushing boundaries. But these days, the sacred sensibilities that are appearing on runways modestly echo what trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort sees as a new desire for “ordinary spirituality.” Both Derek Lam and Prabal Gurung took inspiration from monks’ habits— think ascetic-inspired deep crimson, robes and voluminous shapes.
After all, even Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld—who has described himself as a “fashion missionary”—has preached about the fashion sensibilities of the pope. (In case you were wondering, the Chanel creative director has christened Pope Pius XII with the title “most chic.”)
In fact, Thom Browne’s fall/winter 2014 collection was displayed inside a custom-built church in a Chelsea gallery, complete with altar boys, a choir and wooden pews from which spectators could bear witness. The candle-and-incense-filled space was a theatrical background for Browne’s stiff, structured silhouettes—a noticeably-toned-down collection. Just think of it as religious normcore.
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gave to Kim Kardashian: a what-was-he-thinking Birkin bag featuring a portrait of nude women (and a green monster!) hand-painted by famed artist George Condo. Social Cognition published the results of an experiment conducted by University of British Columbia psychologist Elizabeth Dunn and co-authors that tested how men and women react to receiving a questionable gift from their partners. They found that when guys received an undesirable gift from their girlfriend (like a certificate to a discount department store instead of their favourite bookstore), it made them feel “less similar” to their girlfriend and they reported that the future of the relationship was more uncertain. Surprisingly, women reported the exact opposite after opening a bad gift. The explanation, according to the researchers? Women try to downplay negative public signals about the quality of their relationship by taking on a more h
68%upbeat attitude. (“At least he got me a gift….”)
While we all want to find a present our partner will love, we also need to pick something appropriate for the stage that our relationship is at. A recent Match.com survey found that most Canadians think that you should only get someone a holiday gift if you’ve been dating for over a month and that you should spend between $50 and $75. Once you’ve been serious for at least six months, expect to spend $75 or more.
“If you haven’t been together long, focus on your new partner’s hobbies and the fun things you’ve shared,” says shopping expert Lisa Tant, who is also vice-president of exclusive services for Holt Renfrew. “Create an experience, like a night out at the movies or a certificate to a wine bar.” For a long-time love, Tant suggests that partners swap lists of hints, like reminders of favourite sweets or go-to designers (Louboutin, perhaps?) and also include sizes. “My partner loves it when I help him, and then everyone is happy,” she says. FOR YOUR BEST FRIENDS… When you have shared clothes, secrets and too many episodes of Girls, the giftgiving bar is set pretty high. Up your game by going for a gift that they’ll use every day—like a classic schoolboy blazer—instead of a special-occasions-only item. In a 2014 paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research, experimenters selected pairs of friends and asked one to gift the other with either a high-status or a more practical present. The gift-giver usually preferred to give the fancier choice, while the receiver was usually happier to get the sensible option. What’s more, the recipient thought the practical gift indicated that the giver cared more about her.
Still, Tant notes, gifts are meant to be indulgent. “Especially if the recipient rarely treats herself,” she says. She advises choosing something luxurious that you know the person will use: If your best friend loves sporting a red lip but sticks to a drugstore brand, get her a classic Chanel tube. FOR YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY… A good gift can help ease tensions when families (and spiked eggnog) get together. A 2014 study in the Journal of Consumer Research concluded that when we shop for multiple recipients, we focus on getting each person a unique gift instead of getting them what they’d like most. According to the study, different gifts may seem more thoughtful to us, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll be more appreciated. For example, your cousin may not FOR YOUR WORK COLLEAGUES… Like it or not, most of us spend more time with our co-workers than with our partners (unless, of course, you’ve hooked up with someone at work—no judgment). Spherion, a staffing company, surveyed over 900 employees on their gift-giving habits. Fifty-two percent of people planned to give gifts at work, whether to their co-workers (36 percent), boss (27 percent) or staff (9 percent). When giving to co-workers, 58 percent of respondents said they had never spent more than $25 on a gift. Before you buy something for the higher-ups, note that the majority of people felt that presents were given in order to “suck up.” Fifteen percent of men (and 6 percent of women) even confessed to spending more on a boss’ present to outshine co-workers.
Tant’s approach is to give small but thoughtful gifts to co-workers and managers. “I try to find out their favourite sweet or savoury treat and then add a heartfelt note. Giving a large or expensive gift is inappropriate and makes everyone feel uncomfortable,” she says.