Ziggy Lives

Have you caught it yet? The fever. It’s infectious. With one note, one glimpse, one listen.

David Bowie fever first broke four decades ago and it’s still spreading and affecting people around the world. His music has stayed relevant throughout the disco, rock, pop, and electronic eras, and this year he released his first new album in 10 years proving his music can still go viral.

But it’s not just the music that draws people in, it’s him. His energy, sexuality, fashion, intelligence, eccentricities arouse and magnetize. Nobody is safe. All are susceptible.

This is why we love David Bowie…

1. His painted face in Labyrinth was more desired than Jennifer Connelly’s makeup amongst women of the 80s everywhere. And despite his creepy character, the sex appeal oozes out of him.

WATCH

2. Bowie’s Space Oddity number made it outside earth when Chris Hatfield covered it from the International Space Station. Ziggy Stardust would be proud.

WATCH

3. He reads. Volumes and volumes of books. Start checking off page turners from his top 100 list.

READ

4. Bowie’s the subject of an exhibit that originated in London’s Victoria and Albert museum and has now made its way to Toronto’s AGO. His costumes, art work, instruments, and music are all on display for hungry fans. 

GO

5. He’s a trained mime and he turned down a knighthood from the Queen. Need we say more?

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

On Two Wheels

Just because fall has arrived, doesn’t mean it’s time to lock up your bicycles. In fact, the crunchy, crispy sound of leaves under wheels is just as enchanting as when heard underfoot.

When you stay at OPUS Hotel, take a spin on one of our complimentary bikes. There’s something freeing and fanciful about the fall wind slipping its fingers through your hair when winding along the seawall.

Find more cycling inspiration at Cycle EXIF.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Images from left to right, top to bottom: Kenevans at Pony Bikes in Melbourne via Cycle EXIF; Annie Leibovitz featuring Cate Blanchett for Vogue 2004; Kinfolk via Cycle EXIF; Steven Meisel for Vogue 1999; Steven Meisel for Vogue 1998; Sman Wooden Cruiser via Cycle EXIF; Steven Meisel for Vogue 2009.

 

Ghosts from Paris

Long before Helmut Newton shocked eyes with his salacious images of women in various states of undress and compromise, Brassaï, a Hungarian photographer, captured the inner workings of Paris in the 1920s and 30s. Often seductive, sometimes raw, frequently haunting. He used photography “in order to capture the beauty of streets and gardens in the rain and fog, and to capture Paris by night.”

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Toronto Eats

When traveling to a city as big as Toronto, food choices are overwhelming. Restaurants live on every street. The sound of cocktails being shaken vibrates out doors. And fogged up windows are damp with dinner conversation. If you’re only visiting a city for a short amount of time, a taste bud tingling feast isn’t something to gamble with. You can’t take chances by walking into just any restaurant with a grumbling stomach.

Here are our picks for dining in Toronto…

The Black Hoof

928 Dundas Street West

Their speciality is meat… Tongue on Brioche, Bone Marrow, and Pork Belly and Cappuccio are just a trio of items listed on the short menu. And they make their own rules… closed Tuesday and Wednesday, no credit cards.

Bar Isabel

797 College Street

Under heavily seductive red lights, Bar Isabel could be located in a small Spanish town. The din of College Street and the lights of Toronto are forgotten with each minute spent inside the intimate enclave.

Hudson Kitchen

800 Dundas Street West

Gaining notoriety for being the only restaurant to host both Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (separately, of course) during TIFF, Hudson Kitchen has made it their mission to reinvent food by making each dish an adventure.

Czehoski

678 Queen Street West

Serving the kind of meals that warm every inch of your body, Czehoski is the perfect place to hide on a winter’s night with friends or solo.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Images (left to right, top to bottom): Bar Isabel (via Toronto Life), Czehoski (via Blog TO), Hudson Kitchen, The Black Hoof (via Up Magazine).

Fashion Soundtracks

The biannual quartet of fashion weeks has almost come to an end. New York, London and Milan catwalks have shown their Spring/Summer treats in lead up to the Paris finale, which closes on October 2nd. While all eyes will be on the clothes as they stream through our screens, ears present at the shows were privy to the sounds that each designer paired with their collection.

Here are some of our favourites…

Burberry Prorsum
Budapest by George Ezra

LISTEN HERE

3.1 Phillip Lim
Barracuda by Heart

LISTEN HERE

Diane von Furstenberg 
Lose Yourself to Dance by Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams

LISTEN HERE

House of Holland

Werkin Girls by Angel Haze

LISTEN HERE

Thom Browne
It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork

LISTEN HERE

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Images (left to right, top to bottom): Burberry Prorsum, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Diane von Furstenberg, House of Holland, Thom Browne

A Celebration of Cinema Hits Toronto

A festival that sees hundreds of red carpets unrolled every September on Canadian soil has now come to a close. The Toronto International Film Festival, an event that shows more than 300 films, is one of the most lauded film festivals in the world – possibly even rivaling the Cannes Film Festival.

This year showed such strong cinematic stories as Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Third Person, Can a Song Save Your Life?, August: Osage County, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Enemy, and Dallas Buyers Club. A selection of films that are sure to be listed at awards shows in the coming months.

While films are the main draw and purpose of the grand celebration, the 11 days are also swirling with fashion, food, and parties. From Soho House to the roof of the Thompson Toronto to the Variety Studio at Holt Renfrew, storytellers were everywhere… dancing, drinking, schmoozing, and celebrating their films.

The highlights…

  • Harvey Weinstein bought Can a Song Save Your Life? at the film’s post-premiere gala making it the most expensive party at $20 million.
  • Jason Reitman once again brought his live reading series to TIFF this year with Boogie Nights. Jesse Eisenberg played the part of Dirk Diggler. Prosthetic not in attendance.
  • Michael Fassbender dances. And dances and dances. Find him on the d-floor.
  • To raise funds for Artists for Peace and Justice, Maria Bello dived into Michael Budman’s pool fully clothed for $20,000 at the charity’s yearly lunch.
  • Some talent do TIFF in multiples… Daniel Radcliffe (Horns, The F Word, Kill Your Darlings), James Franco (Third Person, Child of God, The Director, Palo Alto), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County), and Olivia Wilde (Rush, Third Person) dominated the festival with their portfolio of films.

TIFF may be over now, but preparation for next year’s fête is already underway.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Images from left to right, top to bottom: Adam Levine and Keira Knightley at Patria (via Toronto Life), Carice van Houten and Benedict Cumberbatch at Soho House (via Toronto Life), Mario Bello at Artists for Peace and Justice (via Fashion Magazine), cast of August: Osage County at Soho House (via Getty Images)

International Cocktails

There’s more to a cocktail than vodka, gin, rum, and tequila. There are complex tastes and textures, sensations and savourings that accompany a libation. Flavours as intricate and pleasing as a gourmet meal. We compiled a selection of cocktails from around the world that will put hair on chests, curl tongues, and make your skin feel like nails are being dragged down your flesh.

Cocktails from top to bottom, left to right:

Smoke on the Water at Bar Centro, SLS Hotel, Los Angeles
Blackberries, Scotch, Islay mist and flames,

Image source

The Juliet & Romeo at The Violet Hour, Chicago
Gin, mint, cucumber, lime, bitters, and a drop of rose water.

Image source

The Versailles Experience at Eau de Vie, Sydney, Australia
Tanqueray Gin, Absinthe, pear, lemon, apple, mint

Image source

White Negroni at Gin Palace, New York
Perry’s Tot Gin, blanco vermouth, Salers apertif

Image source

Serendipity at Bar Hemingway, Ritz Paris
Calvados pays d’Auge le Compte, mint, sugar, apple juice, champagne.

No image.

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

What to wear on your face this fall

As night blankets our days sooner and weather blows a chill on us, we not only adjust our clothes, but also our faces. Makeup this coming fall and winter is rich with berries and smoke. Blackberries, cranberries, raspberries. Lips will be painted with deep hues that whisper notes of sophistication. Eyes will be smoky with black charcoal, reminding us that punk is here to stay. Eyebrows are meant to be natural, bushy and bold - neglect your tweezers. And if you’re feeling truly bold, get futuristic with your eye designs.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Images (left to right, top to bottom): Dolce & Gabbana, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, Anna Sui, Michael Kors, Rochas, Rodarte

Sustainable Style

Vancouver is rampant with designers of covetable fashions. But our eyes are drawn to those who create with the planet’s best interests in mind. Enter Nicole Bridger.

Her sustainable, ethical clothing line is modern, chic, and defies all assumptions people may have held about eco-friendly clothing in the past.

The Nicole Bridger Fall 2013 collection has us all dreamy-eyed. Visit her boutique at 2151 West 4th Avenue or shop online at nicolebridger.com.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider


Hotels in Hollywood

Film has played an influential role on the scenarios we envision playing out in hotels. There are scenes that have made us teary eyed, lustful and desirous, pensive, or absolutely petrified. Here are some of our favourite clips filmed from the walls of a hotel.

The Tourist

The steamy dream sequence in the Danieli Hotel in Venice between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s characters ends far too soon…

Dirty Dancing

The first time this movie flashes before a girl’s starry eyes, she dreams of a summer at Kellerman’s.

Lost in Translation

Lonely woman meets lonely man and an unlikely friendship forges out of a chance meeting in a hotel bar.

The Shining

The tinkering music, the maniacal smile on Jack Nicholson’s face, and the eerily calm demeanor of Lloyd the bartender make this a pivotal scene in one of the creepiest films ever made.

28 Hotel Rooms

A salacious affair develops behind 28 doors over several years.

Thelma & Louise

This is the moment women everywhere fell for Brad Pitt as his character demonstrates to Thelma how to carry out an armed robbery.

Ghostbusters

And who can forget this memorable ball of slime who left audiences in the 80’s hoping for a ghostly encounter and an excuse to call Ghostbusters.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider