Colin & Justin create a catwalk-inspired Christmas

May fashion inspire your festive holiday décor

by Colin McAllister & Justin Ryan

IF GLOBAL PANDEMICS and matters of quarantine have rendered your fashion gene inert, a spot of couture-influenced holiday décor, say Colin and Justin, could prove the perfect FROW vista to festive accessorizing success.

Present day fashionistas (and those in the future) will surely decree 2020 the year even the most mode mad contingent let down their guard and opted for pajamas, sweat pants and t-shirts as breakfast garb, lunch time attire and hey, even evening wear. Accordingly, dressing for one’s (at home) professional output has become—after that first thrust of polished enthusiasm—a somewhat relaxed sport. Yes indeed, gone (for many) are the days of diligent preening ahead of every last vestige of “on air” camera time.

Be honest: do you still dress up for Zoom calls? Allusions aside, we all know what’s going on from your desk top down. Yup, the aforementioned lounge wear and, erm, Garfield slippers. Nowadays, a smudge of lippy, and a loosely fingered chignon seem amply sufficient. Can you relate? In essence, with restaurant hours clipped, and night clubs closed, the need to dress up has waned, but come on: don’t we all crave an opportunity to share and shine?

And so, with Christmas just around the corner, we figured that, if you can’t strut your stuff at the office party, then perhaps it’s time to showcase a roster of festive fashion looks based on the catwalk. Aye, in the comfort of your own home. At the very least, your Christmas tree will be the belle of the ball.


From Prada to Chanel, the timeless appeal of black and white makes for a beguilingly classic style pairing: imagine French cinematic beacon Catherine Deneuve, attired head to toe in YSL, to get the gist. The grand dame effortlessly showcases a brand of sartorial magic, akin, in the contemporary idiom at least, to the bygone era of Hollywood. And so, without further ado, assemble your couture-inspired holiday period hit list with quilted leather baubles, sparkly gold buttons and robust rope chain, and prepare to dress your tree like Coco Chanel on festive steroids.

Alternatively, imagine Valentino draping diaphanous grey scale fabric onto some beautiful muse, perched high in his Italian atelier. To this end, take inspo from the Winter 2020 Dior runway or Alexander McQueen where the look is at once clean, bold and unfussy. If you tailor your Christmas landscape to follow suit, your festive offering will come alive.

First step, of course, is to select the correct tree, one that’s supermodel tall and deserving of its pivotal festive role. A white tree with black adornments (or perhaps vice versa, if you’re feeling daring) would work well. If you have a heritage home, with chic paneled walls and ornate European chesterfields (we can but dream), then all the better. Complete the look by conspiring a perimetre of gifts attired in plain white boxes detailed with black bows and ribbons, or white boxes dressed in opposing tones.

Further adornment
  • Get the Canadian designer look with the seven-foot Knight Ombre Slim Christmas Tree by Brian Gluckstein. The black and silver fashion plate offers a slim design—ideal for smaller spaces—and comes pre-lit with low voltage warm white LEDs.
  • Try clear glass decorations for an icy feel to compliment your monochrome aesthetics. Glass cut ornaments with silver tag by Waterford at Amara.
  • Like lipstick carefully applied across plump, petulant lips (on an otherwise ‘undecorated’ face) a single siren red element will totally stand out. Cue Ornament 2020 by Swarovski. Almost “scarab brooch” in style, the 110-facet crystal snowflake is joyously ruby toned, and hangs daintily from a deep red satin ribbon.
  • Fulfil your classic Vivienne Westwood punk fantasy with studded spiked glass tree ornaments from Homesense. If you favour rocker chic, emo or new wave style (think ‘Perfecto’ biker jackets by Balmain) this prickly gem should be yours.
  • Invite the A-list with decorations modeled after the silhouettes of Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld. From Cody Foster at Holt Renfrew. Just pray your other decorations are good enough for their critiques.

If shearling collars and acres of soft suede leather appeal, you’ll find Sophie Delafontaine’s seventies-inspired collection (for Longchamp Fall 2020) heaven sent. And hey, if it’s good enough for brand ambassador Kendall Jenner…

Teaming strong outdoor influences like bomber jackets and oversized chunky sweaters with smart metallic boots and commodious handbags, this aesthetic is strong, fluid and modern with roots that would feel equally at home in the country as they would the city. Pepper in a little rustic Canadiana (think nature motifs and weather worn wood) to deliver festive style that’s thoroughly eclectic, a celebration of unbridled individuality.

Crate and Barrel, holiday 2020.

This holiday vignette by Crate and Barrel perfectly captures this vibe, arranged as it is with a weathered timber backdrop, scattered casual arrangements and handmade ceramic detailing. Allowing the mood to remain “natural” works well, courtesy of wild berries and branches taking the place of glitter and garlands, while artisanal woven table runners, sparkling clear glass and purest white paper stars complete the look.

Further adornments
  • Bring on the buffalo. There’s nothing quite as rustic as a robust check, so dress your door with a “Christmas Berry Wreath” from Bed, Bath & Beyond to bag the spirit of cowboy chic.
  • Capture the olfactory joys of decorating with fragrant pine branches, fresh clove studded oranges and juicy mandarins, and trap it all in a dreamy, scented candle. “The Foret d’Or Scented Candle” by Goutal Paris, available at Hudson’s Bay is little short of stunning.
  • Deliver a sense of bygone times with the Bee & Willow Home Christmas Tree Terrarium from Bed, Bath & Beyond. This pre-lit beauty is infused with a whiff of Victoriana and resembles a miniature forest, captured under glass, for all time.
  • Embrace the hand-knit and handed-down look with these richly textured cable-knit stockings by Oui at Chapters/Indigo. Generously sized to hold all of Santa’s treats (if you’ve been a good lad or lass) and finished jauntily with a bright red pom.

Interior designers, style commentators, celebrity interviewers and lifestyle gurus COLIN MCALLISTER and JUSTIN RYAN split their time between Toronto, Haliburton and Glasgow. You may know them as hosts of Cabin Pressure (Cottage Life) judges on Game of Homes (W Network and Discovery Family) or experts on Cityline (City TV). Their eponymous decor line C+J Home is available at Homesense and Marshalls. Catch their latest program Great Canadian Cottages on Cottage Life.

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