Halifax: Purse puppy

If you don’t like the weather in Halifax, they say, wait half an hour. Same goes for fashion finds, it seems. After a fruitless shopping trip to one of my fave boutiques left me feeling boxy and deflated, my sluggish steps took me smack into my next splurge, right there on the sidewalk.

Set up beneath the neon glow of Argyle Street’s funkier block, local silkscreen artist Michelle SaintOnge (5781 Charles St., Studio 3, 902-405-3662, michellesaintonge.com) had created a retro bubble of polka dots, puckered lips and precious pups for a photo shoot for her latest project. And within the walls of the photographer’s lights and umbrellas, under a ’50s-era model’s tisk-tisk pointer finger, and below her chihuahua’s tiny backside, sat my must-have item: a big slouchy bag depicting the very same scene.

Straying from SaintOnge’s usual wall art, the new collection is made up of vintage-vibe girl-and-dog illustrations printed on handbags, a happy accident that resulted from a successful stab at getting noticed at a tradeshow. The bold prints come from her portrait paintings of pets—a subject matter in tune with this artist’s past (she earned a degree in animal behaviour psychology before studying textile design)—and saturate the bags with rich hues and simple lines. Equipped with sweetly feminine linings and nautical knots and grommets, the fits-all handbags are as adorable as they are practical.

Atlantic Fashion Week (atlanticfashionweek.com), which hits Halifax on October 29, will launch SaintOnge’s new bags, and the artist will be taking orders online. My little splurge will just have to wait.

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