“I thought I was going to be a fact-checker at Harper’s Bazaar; I was like, I know someone at Harper’s, they’ll let me fact check!” 

Said the girl whose blog skyrocketed to mega- mega-fame just a few months shy of her graduation from journalism school. Oh, and she was 21 when that happened. No, really.

Leandra Medine, a.k.a. The Man Repeller – perhaps you’ve heard of her – was in Toronto yesterday to help celebrate the launch of Holt Renfrew’s blog, Holts Muse. Their blog will cover fashion both on the runways and in the streets, shopping and beauty tips and a roundup of things that inspire and excite HR, both inside and out of the store. So who better to help launch this daily briefing on all matters super sartorial than the sartorial superstar-of-the-moment herself?

Medine’s blog, which extols the kind of fashion adored by women but hated by the average straight male (turbans, harem pants, jumpsuits, shoulder pads), has had ridiculous success in the year or so since its inception. Written and talked about by everyone and their gay best friend, even The New York Times, The Man Repeller is a fresh and exciting update of the kind of average fashion blog that everyone and their gay best friend seems to have these days.

Besides being there to grace us with her fashion royalty presence, Medine came to Holts to pick out some items from the store that she felt best captures what Man Repelling is all about. Displayed on large, colourful letters spelling HOLTS, her choices were based on themes oft talked about on her blog; lots of accessories, ankle booties, layers of animal print, popsicle-coloured pants and oversize clutches. As she explains in this video, it’s not about dressing to please a man, it’s about dressing to please yourself, to make yourself happy. “And if it repels a man, he’s most likely not the man for you.” Fuckin’ ya, girl.

Hundreds of people showed up to meet the style savant, including Toronto fashion media, Canadian designer Jeremy Laing, a girl in a lacy cat mask and a ton of fashion-loving ladies. We tried to covertly take photos of her, salivated over her outfit, ate some meatballs, unleashed our inner Repellers in front of Holt’s cameras and cursed ourselves for not coming up with Medine’s idea first. “You need to be nichey-niche” was her advice when we finally got a chance to speak to her about her success. Well, we’ve actually been thinking about starting a blog about mushroom brushes, so fingers crossed.

The evening was an awesome way to celebrate Holt Renfrew’s move into the digital realm. We love the blog for the way it lets us glimpse beyond the infamous windows and into the world of the fashion elite and we’ll be checking it on the reg for inspiration from the style experts working within the hallowed walls. Our favourite feature thus far is What’s In Your Bag? which takes a peek inside the shopping bags (Holt’s ones, natch) of their most stylish customers. But, getting the chance to meet The Man Repeller herself was total icing on the magenta cake.

As if we weren’t jealous enough of this super-successful blogger, when asked if she gets sent all of the clothes she wears in her posts, she said, “Ya! My doormen have this running joke that, while I may repel men, I certainly don’t repel UPS!” We hate her. But we love her. Her final words to us were, “Maybe you should start a blog!” Hmm. Maybe we will.

~ Lindsay Tapscott

Photos courtesy of Holts Muse