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Sentaler | Canada’s New Leading Luxury Outerwear

Sentaler

If you live in a city that has sub arctic temperatures between the months of November and April, chances are you take your outerwear very seriously.  I used to believe I had to sacrifice fashion for function to keep warm during the winter, until I was introduced to Canada’s luxury outerwear brand, Sentaler. Over the past few years I have seen Sentaler’s beautiful coats made from Peruvian Alpaca, on women all over the city and started to become intrigued about this little Canadian brand that has started to make a splash internationally.

Sentaler

Sentaler

Sentaler

Fast forward a couple year’s and I had a chance encounter with the beauty and brains behind the brand, Bojana Sentaler, this past summer. Funny enough, our paths did not cross at a fashion event, but rather on a track day at Mosport Racetrack with Cadillac, where I was learning to race cars and Bojana was filming a video feature for the luxury automotive company’s Dare Greatly campaign. Not too long after the event, we connected back in the city at the designer’s minimalist office. Here we chatted all things Sentaler and discovered our joint love for fashion and cars. It’s not often do I meet another young lady who admires cars as much as they do clothes. Or better yet, prefers to drive a manual stick shift over automatic transmission vehicle. Similar to myself, Bojanna finds parallels in vehicle design as she does with clothing, part of why she agreed to collaborate with Cadillac on Dare Greatly. The Dare Greatly campaign  sought out Canadian leaders in their field who dare to drive the world in their field and naturally she made the cut as a hot, emerging designer. Here’s a sneak peek at the designer’s story shot earlier this summer courtesy of Cadillac.

As part of a way to get out of the office and get better acquainted, I took the beautiful Toronto designer for a spin in the new Cadillac ATS V Coupe, the same vehicle we both had on the track back in June. Finding similarities in different areas of design has always intrigued me. It’s interesting that the same level of care Bojana takes creating her designs, is very similar to what Cadillac’s design team does with the vehicle’s interior. The cut and sew treatment of the interior’s leather is an element the team borrowed directly from the fashion industry.

Sentaler

Sentaler

Sentaler

Cadillac ATS V Coupe

SentalerAbove in Sentaler’s long coat with baby alpaca fur collar (limited edition) 

In 2009 Sentaler was born. But not from the fashion educated roots of most designers. Pre Sentaler, Bojana was worlds away in Dubai working on economic investment reports (yep you read that correctly). While living way out in the luxurious desert region, she had an opportunity to meet and chat with Karl Lagerfeld and this conversation left her so inspired that she had decided that she wanted to finally pursue her passion within fashion. After leaving Dubai, Sentaler then headed to South America where she came across the alpaca fibre and spent time in Peru learning all about the alpaca fabrics amazing qualities and how to design with it. “When I launched my first collection six years ago, I loved my product and truly believed in it. I wasn’t considering failure as an option because I was so passionate about what I was doing”.

SentalerSentaler’s Shawl Collar Poncho Wrap 

So why has Sentaler’s outerwear been gaining so much notoriety as of late? Personally, I think consumers have dabbled in quick and fast fashion for such a long time and have so much access to trendy fashion at high street stores but are coming to understand again the importance of a proper investment when it comes to classic and chic outerwear. These coats are far from a seasonal fad and one can last you a lifetime. However, if you ask the likes of “Suits” actress Meghan Markle, “Sex and the City’s” Kim Cattral, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and yours truly, one Sentaler coat is just not enough. I am already plotting on what I am going to acquire next after getting the label’s uber functional hooded wrap coat in grey. Sentaler’s full collection is ultra versatile and there is literally a style that suits any body type and style preference. The thing I love the most is that each piece can also be toned down into a more casual look depending on what you pair with it. On another note, alpaca seems to be trending as of late. On a recent trip to Quebec City I visited an Alpaca farm and learned a bit more about these cute animals that produce such excess soft fur that is now being used for everything from socks, sweaters, gloves and jackets. Like most, I always thought wool was the warmest fabric but surprisingly alpaca is much warmer but lighter in weight, making it an easier fabric to wear during transitional seasons. Bojana uses only baby alpaca for her Sentaler jackets which comes from the first shearing of a young alpaca.  This is the softest and most desired fibre – which makes Sentaler coats so silky and soft to the touch.

SentalerSentaler’s Hooded Wrap Coat

The future is bright for Bojana and I am excited to see what 2016 has in store for this young and super talented woman that I am now lucky to call a friend. Busy filling stock and custom orders for the current season, Sentaler is also keeping herself busy designing her next collection citing that she draws most of her inspiration from her travels, “Inspiration comes from everything around me. And when I step away from my everyday work, my mind is free and my creative thoughts arise.”

SentalerPhotography by Danielle Reynolds

Sentaler’s fabulous collection can be found at Holt Renfrew locations across Canada, the team’s Toronto showroom and online, where she ships internationally – thank God! For more information on Sentaler, to view the entire collection and to purchase online head to Sentaler.com.

Cadillac Reveals Its Premium Luxury CT6 Sedan in NYC

Cadillac CT6 Sedan

For the last year and a half I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with General Motors Canada and their diverse portfolio of brands. Very early on in our relationship, I was drawn to the offerings of the Cadillac brand. If you have been reading my blog for a while you are well aware of my passion for cars which I credit to my father’s influence. Like many other car enthusiasts, I had the common misconception that only Germans knew about performance and could make cars for “drivers” while North American companies focused on making vehicles for “passengers” with fancy bells and whistles. Well, boy was I ever wrong! Something special has been happening with Cadillac over the last year and the brand’s focus has been on finding ways to marry the worlds of performance, technology and luxury design within their fleet of vehicles. I had the privileged of getting behind the wheel of Cadillac’s SRX, ATS, CTS, CTS Sport, XTS (you can check out my road trip experience with it here) last year and it changed my view on North American cars forever.

Cadillac started 2015 off with bang. In January during the Oscars, the brand launched it’s new “Dare Greatly” campaign as part of their strategy to reposition Cadillac as a distinctive alternative to it’s German competitors. Throughout the Academy Awards broadcast, four commercials aired to promote their new CT6 luxury sedan featuring individuals with inspiring stories of how they have taken risks in their careers and included fashion designer Jason Wu and Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak. Aside from the attractive body of the vehicle that made a small cameo appearance towards the end of the first commercial, I personally was intrigued by the message because of the risks I have taken myself to get to where I am today.

I had the privilege of going to New York City at the beginning of April with a handful of Canadian media to witness the world premiere of the CT6 full size sedan and to attend the New York International Auto Show. Cadillac has long been known for it’s extravagant parties and this one was no exception. Guests walked from the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park to the pier, where we caught branded water taxis to Duggal Greenhouse at the Naval Yards in Brooklyn and got serenaded by Grammy winner Raphael Saadiq at the end of the night. Revealing the brand’s most luxurious vehicle to date in New York was fitting as Cadillac plans to relocate its headquarters to the Big Apple from Detroit, which is a move that can help them reach more luxury buyers.  What can you expect to see from the vehicle Cadillac hopes will be the catalyst into the super premium category?

Cadillac CT6 RevealCadillac President Johan de Nysschen unveiling the 2016 Cadillac CT6 full size sedan

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Although the frame is constructed of more than 10 different materials, it is somehow still the world’s lightest and most agile full size luxury performance sedan. Easy on the eyes, the body of the CT6 is super sleek and sophisticated but it’s inside the cabin where all the magic happens. Upon entering the car, it’s hard not to notice the quality materials used, the hand stitched and cut & sewn tailored interior – that closely mimics the tailoring in the fashion industry. I am sure driving this machine or sitting shot gun is where most want to be in the CT6, but I love that Cadillac is redefining the rear seat passenger experience. With best in-class rear leg room, two high-def TV screens, quad zone cooling & heating, not to mention reclining seats…I would be more than happy to be relegated to the backseat.

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Always on the forefront of technology advancements in their vehicles, Cadillac is stepping up their game ensuring that driving this car will not only be enjoyable but safe. The all new Bose Panaray system boasts 34 strategically placed speakers to ensure each passenger experiences concert hall sound quality. Surround view-video recording capabilities that can be used while driving, a 360-degree camera and a night vision cam that can detect animals and humans by heat signature and much more.

Cadillac CT6 RevealPhotos courtesy of Cadillac and General Motors

Click here for more information on what else you can find in the all new CT6 and head to Cadillac.ca for more information on the brand’s full portfolio. Production of this vehicle begins at the end of the year and scheduled to hit roads early in 2016.

Automotive Review: The 2014 Cadillac XTS Platinum Collection

Video shot & edited by Robert Okine (robertokine.com) | Music “It’s New” Produced by SOUL

Thanks to Cadillac Canada I rode in style all summer long in a few vehicles from the brand’s 2014 line to get better acquainted with the design, performance and technology that can be found within it’s current portfolio. After spending significant time in the 2014 CTS and ATS , I was treated to an extended experience with the XTS Platinum Collection, one of the most technologically advanced production cars in the brand’s history. With it’s enhanced space, entertainment features and luxurious interior design inspired by the fashion and home furnishing industries – it came as no surprise that I fell totally in love.

2014 Cadillac XTS

I feel that is it is only right that any vehicle I drive reflects me and my lifestyle. Call me crazy but because of my love for cars, I look at them as an extension of who I am and similar to fashion, cars can sometimes be a way to express yourself without having to say a word. Design aesthetic is of course important, but performance and technology are also key touch points . I want to feel safe in a vehicle – whether that’s having a confident feeling of power when accelerating or over taking traffic on the highway or feeling safe knowing camera based detection systems will help me avoid collisions. And although, I don’t have kiddies, space is still very much a welcome feature both in the cabin and in the trunk for my friends, various changes of clothes for photo shoots, and luggage for press/road trips.

2014 Cadillac XTS

2014 Cadillac XTS

My black on black XTS Platinum Collection turned heads just about everywhere I went because of it’s clean lines and dramatic presence. Not to be outdone by the exterior, the vehicle’s interior is really what blew me away. The brand’s design team didn’t cut any corners when it came to leather and other interior materials. For example, the cut and sew treatment of the leather – is an element the team borrowed from fashion. During the design process, Cadillac studied how the industry chooses leathers for shoes and handbags to design the XTS’s interior in a way that would be an extension of products with which luxury consumers already interact with. In addition to the beautifully wrapped leather seats, wood grain accents contrasting stitching, illuminated sill plates, and ambient interior lighting – every single detail is considered. The extended space in the rear cabin was a hit amongst my friends and family who I carted  around the city and brought along on my luxury road trip adventure to Montreal for my So Sasha x W Hotel Experience. 

2014 Cadillac XTS

2014 Cadillac XTS

Even my rear seat passengers over 6 feet tall sat happily in the backseat with absolutely no complaints about lack of leg room. While having to sit in the backseat of a car is usually a passengers least fave thing to do, the XTS manages to turn this into a treat; with oversized fold-down arm rests that houses additional storage and audio/video remote controls, integrated rear controls for both temperature and radio, rear side window shades, rear entertainment system with dual screens accompanied by two Cadillac Bose noise cancelling headphones. The vehicle offers more interior space than other mid sized luxury cars, particularly in the backseat, where it has four inches more leg room than the Mercedes Benz E Class, BMW 5 Series and approximately two more than the Audi A6.

2014 Cadillac XTS

One of the main reason I love Cadillac vehicles is because of the advanced technology features. The CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system always acts as a welcome distraction for passengers while sitting in traffic. With access to XM Satellite radio and listening to music out of  a Bose Studio Surround Sound – 14 speaker system with two additional personal speakers on the top of each front seat, the XTS creates a superior music listening experience. And if that’s not enough, the powerful amp and AudioPilot noise compensation technology takes it to a completely different level. The 8 inch multi-touch capacitive screen in the “infotainment” system is really easy to use and as I am seldom driving alone, it’s nice to have multiple charging outlets and the capacity to pair up to 10 bluetooth enable devices. CUE also responds to my voice commands, has a 3-D GPS nav system and for when things really hit the fan and I am in need of major help, I can always rely on the On-Star service to help me with directions, recommend restaurants in the area and provide assistance in the event an emergency arises. Low on gas and not familiar with the area? Not a problem — the XTS lists the closet gas stations, provides a list of all the locations in close proximity and directions to each when the vehicle is low on fuel.

2014 Cadillac XTS

Cadillac XTS Platinum Collection

Here’s the skinny…for those of you who are car geeks like myself, unfortunately this model doesn’t pack the heat and speed of the much talked about V model, which has 410 hp, but it still has enough get up and go to not have you bored while driving. Average fuel consumption was to be expected with approximately 9.9-10.3 litres/100km (combined city and highway driving). Larger than any other sedan I think I’ve ever driven measuring in at over 200 inches long, means there is a cargo advantage over other vehicles in it’s category with room for 5 or more suitcases. With this size, it was really beneficial to have features such as lane departure warning, side obstacle sensors, forward collision alert and rear cross traffic alerts, which notified me of any potential danger via driver seat vibrations – all standard in the Platinum Collection. And inspired thinking from the brand team made it possible for the ultrasonic front and rear park assist that helps drivers parallel park the car. With that said, XTS is an ultra chic, comfortable ride and all around good place to spend time whether it be on long road trips or short city driving. The price point for the XTS Premium Collection with all the bells and whistles comes in at $67,655. For additional details on the 2014 XTS click here and to learn more about the brand head over to www.cadillac.ca.

Dine With Cadillac Series – Exclusive Escalade Film Festival Experience

Dine With Cadillac

Cadillac has been near and dear to my heart over the last year or so and I’ve enjoyed many opportunities working closely with the General Motors Canada family. From media activations, press trips, personal road trips, and lifestyle experiences for SoSasha.com – you name it, Cadillac has blended seamlessly into my life. Although my love for the brand’s luxurious portfolio of vehicles comes across on my site and social media channels, we felt it was time to do something different and introduce a small group of influencers (who have never been exposed to the brand before) to the Cadillac team in an intimate setting to share all the new and exciting things coming down the pipeline in 2015.

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

DineWithCadillac

Dine With Cadillac

I teamed up with my friend Garrett Tonge of Gtonge1.com, who I have collaborated with several times before in the past on lifestyle projects, to launch the #DineWithCadillac series. Our inaugural event took place during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival  and was held at The Spoke Club during the Nikki Beach Toronto  Pop-Up. Over a delicious multi-course brunch served in the venue’s private wine cellar, our guests got to interact with the Cadillac Brand Director, Mahmoud Samara and the PR/Media team, who brought us up to speed on the amazing technologies that will be found later this year in the brand’s 2015 line-up.

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

With We R Addicted Magazine Co-Founder Mark Munroe chatting with Cadillac Brand Director Mahmoud Samara

Dine With Cadillac

From l to r; Natalie Nankil – Media Relations Manager for GM Canada, Bloggers Gracie Carroll of Gracie Carroll.com and Garrett Tonge of Gtonge1.com

Dine With Cadillac

From l to r; Hannah Yakobi – Editor In Chief of Fajo Magazine, Masha Marinkovic – GM Public Relations and Blogger Dani Goddard of GirlsofTO.com

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

With my super busy lifestyle and always being on the go, I can never leave home without multiple charging options for all my mobile devices which leads to a clutter of charging cords around the middle console of my car. Later this year Cadillac will be adding wireless charging technology into the 2015 ATS sport sedan and coupe models, followed by the CTS sport and the Escalade SUV. The wireless charging feature will be in the format of a power mat that will be located inside the storage bin behind the faceplate panel of the entertainment center. And if that’s not enough, Cadillac will also be introducing 4G LTE internet connectivity. The built-in connection will allow passengers access to online content via a Wi-Fi hotspot, which will be able to accommodate up to seven devices. This is pretty much a dream scenario for Bloggers, Social Media Influencers, Real Estate agents, Sales Executives or any other individual that needs internet connectivity for the job throughout the day on the road. Also, it’s an amazing feature for families to have for their children and other passengers when traveling on long road trips.

Dine With Cadillac Escalade

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

Pictured directly above – the 2015 Cadillac Escalade Premium Collection

After enjoying post brunch bevies on the rooftop, our group was whisked off in chauffeured Escalades to attend the premiere for two of the most anticipated screenings during the festival, “This is Where I Leave You” featuring an all-star cast including Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Rose Byrne and Adam Driver and “The Equalizer” featuring Denzel Washington and Chloe Grace Moretz, made possible by one of our sponsors, L’Oreal Paris Canada. Being a car enthusiast, it should come as no surprise that our transportation in the 2015 Escalade was the highlight of my afternoon. The Silver Coast Metallic exterior colour combined with the luxe Kona Brown interior turned heads as we drove down King St West with the windows down. Cadillac did a superb job of preserving the Escalade’s iconic design while modernizing the car’s feature exterior elements, giving the SUV a chic update. Not to be outdone by the exterior, the Escalade’s cut and sewn nappa leather seats, second row captain chairs, hand wrapped leather middle console and door panels in addition to unique exotic wood accents literally blew my mind. A scenic ride through the city was the perfect introduction to the vehicle, which has me looking forward to getting behind the wheel of one very soon so I am able to share more info on the performance and technology details with you. I have a feeling it may become my new favourite vehicle out from the brand’s line-up.

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

Photos by Robert Okine, Cadillac Canada, and Instagram (Dani Goddard & Sasha Exeter)

I want to take this opportunity and give a huge thank you to Cadillac Canada in addition to L’Oreal Paris Canada, Rimowa, Glaceau Water/Smart Water, The Spoke Club, Nikki Beach Toronto and the Milka Mili Agency for helping make this event possible – and stay tuned for more lifestyle experiences with Garrett and I, in conjunction with General Motors. For more information on Cadillac and it’s vehicles, head to www.cadillac.ca.

Automotive Review: The 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

2014 Cadillac ATS

Summer driving is always made more pleasant with a set of sweet wheels. Thanks to General Motors, I recently enjoyed a very extended test drive experience with the 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD. The luxury automotive brand’s full sized CTS sedan, built to go head-to-head with imported competition, has increased in size this year and is now comparable to the BMW 5-series. This left room in Cadillac’s portfolio lineup for a compact luxury vehicle to compete in the entry level luxe class with the BMW 3-series and Mercedes 3 Class. A few weeks ago I picked up my ATS in Opulent Blue Metallic, which was equipped with all-wheel drive,a 2.0L turbo engine (boasting 321 hp) and the luxury collection. I literally drove it all over the GTA and as far as Montreal for a weekend jaunt in hopes to test out every single feature. As a legit car enthusiast and lucky enough to sit behind the wheel of some of the most beautiful cars manufactured, I was shocked at how much attention this little vehicle garnered at stoplights, gas stations and valets.

Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

Exterior innovations help to make the vehicle more fuel efficient and uber quiet. Sculpted side mirrors which are firmly positioned to reduce wind noise in addition to an acoustically laminated windshield and side door glass, expertly deflects noise making this one of the quietest cabins I’ve ever driven in. The 18″ wheels, dual exhaust, illuminating door handles, and vertical LED signature lights help to make this sporty body look extra chic. In regards to the interior, I am confident that those who have never driven in a Cadillac before would be blown away by both the features and design. The vehicle was equipped with some of the most advanced safety innovations including the brand’s Driver Awareness Package. Utilizing sensors and strategically placed cameras allows for the driver’s seat to alert of the driver of potential danger via seat vibrations, in addition lane departure alerts, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, front and rear automatic braking and adaptive cruise control, which was really beneficial on the 5 hour drive to Montreal.  I could understand if some found these constant vibrations to be an annoyance while driving, but I found it to be extremely helpful. For those that would much prefer to have their rears vibrate while driving, the functional option can always be easily turned off on the auxiliary panel.

2014-Cadillac-CTS-Dashboard-Done-Small

I was also treated to an upgraded steering (that has a heated option obviously not beneficial for right now but still an amazing feature forWinter) and the much talked about CUE (Cadillac User Experience) interface aka the heart of the interior; controlling navigation, media, climate control and more. The latter combined with BOSE surround sound made listening to my favourite Sirus XM Satellite channels a really enjoyable experience.

Cadillac ATS 2.0 AWD

Outside the St. Germain Hotel in Montreal, Quebec

So here’s the skinny, the manufacturer rates the ATS 2.0T AWD’s fuel efficiency as 6.9L/100km for highway driving and 10.4L/100km with city driving, while my approximate fuel mileage came in around 6.9L/100km and 10.9L/100km respectively. For a premium vehicle, it was nice to discover that premium gasoline wasn’t mandatory but rather only “recommended”. This is a huge deal as majority of other vehicles in the luxury category require premium gasoline usually making fill-ups pretty pricey. The ATS starts at $35,695 but the ticket price for this model with the luxury collection and all other aforementioned packages/upgrades brings the price point at $49,290, which is just a smudge under the $50K sticker price for the BMW 329i xDrive with similar bells and whistles. Surprisingly, overall I preferred the ATS. Although both vehicles are almost identical in size (minus one inch), the Cadillac’s interior feels a bit roomier and it also ticks all the boxes when it comes to speed, luxurious design and functionality.

For more information on the brand’s vehicle lineup head over to Cadillac.ca and for details specs click here. To follow along all my past and present adventures with Cadillac, use the hashtag #RideInStylexCadillac on Twitter and Instagram!

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