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The best (and worst) in fashion and design from 2009 Add to ...

Yes, an Hermès yacht would be nice, but the real design story of '09 was the proliferation of pop-up stores offering high-style furnishings at recession-friendly rates. One of the liveliest was Toronto-based Thout's red-walled pop-up. Who knew club chairs made of hollowed-out construction-grade spruce could be so swank?

Studio Job for Viktor & Rolf

It isn't easy to upstage Viktor & Rolf, but the runway design that Dutch-based Studio Job created for V&R's SS10 show in October came mighty close. Featuring a giant rotating globe on one side of the stage and a massive speaker-pedestal for singer Roisin Murphy on the other, SJ's flight of minimalist fancy was one of several memorable catwalk designs. Another was the farm-chic set employed by Chanel.

Miele's chocolate washer/dryer

Appliances have come in a rainbow of colours (aqua, tangerine) over the past few years, but Miele's new washer and dryer set in a rich shade of chocolate took the, um, cake. It would almost be a shame to hide them away in the laundry room.

The Simpsons stamps

It was no "D'oh!" moment when the U.S. mail service unveiled its Simpsons series of postage stamps, a colourful and wildly popular homage to TV's favourite animated family. We're waiting for Canada's equally vibrant salute to Casey and Finnegan.

Microsoft's arc mouse

Is it possible that something so sinuous and sexy could also be so functional? With its ergonomically advanced, appropriately named Arc mouse, Microsoft once again demonstrated that it really has no equals when it comes to desktop design.


Oasis of the seas

When did cruise ships go from being ultra elegant black-hulled palaces to resembling over-iced wedding cakes? Yes, the newly launched MS Oasis of the Seas offers the latest in high seas amenities, but it's also one of the most conspicuous symbols of our overly garish times.

The Olympic torch

Designed to evoke the "undulating beauty of the snowy Canadian landscape," the 2010 Olympic torch has also been compared by many to "a big fat spliff." Wait, maybe it is the perfect symbol for the B.C. Games.

Buggy design

Bearing images of spiders, beetles and other creepy crawlies, Vermont designer Laura Zindel's ceramic bowls and platters do have an odd entomological charm. But do you really want to eat out of vessels swarming with bugs? Warn guests before serving.

Swarovski overload

The Austrian crystal company has become the good-time girl of the style world, lending its sparkly favours to any designer who winks at it. If some of the lighting sporting its gewgaws were on the wacky side, we absolutely draw the line at crystal-studded headphones and vacuum cleaners. One word, Swarovski: Discriminate.

Ignoble excess

Sure, Dubai's rise to gaudy extremes took place well before last year, but all those manmade islands and restaurant fish tanks struck a particularly off-key note in recessionary '09. By the end of it, even the sheikhs had had enough.

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