Sunday, July 9, 2017

Writing by Dianna Drahanchuk and photos by Victoria Clements (Boulevard Magazine)

Victoria Clements of Posh Intertainment has ambitious plans for Victoria, i.e. to promote fashion in the city. Her first Fashion Fridays - Fashion Show Luncheon, held in the Hilton Hotel and Suites penthouse overlooking the Empress Hotel the inner harbour and the BC Parliament Building, was well attended and a super success. 

It was a quick one hour affair with a tasty wholesome lunch and delicious cookies all produced in the hotel kitchen. Five beauties modelled outfits provided by local retailers The Dancing Lily and Tulipe Noire Clothing. These were topped off by Lynda Marie Couture Millinery. Hair was styled by Whitney Olivia and Beautycounter Makeup was applied by makeup artist Tammy Neron.

Victoria collaborated with Stuart Cameron of Concept-Couture and $5 from each ticket was donated to a most worthwhile cause, the Victoria Women’s Transition House. Every guest came away with a Style Stick, a handy quick fix item.

This was indeed a “posh” event and Victoria's plans are to offer more of these fashionable events in partnership with the Hilton and other Victoria businesses related to fashion in the future. Keep your eye on:


Photos and writing by Dianna Drahanchuk

What a treat! Curator of Human History Dr Lorne Hammond showed me around the Royal BC’s Museum (RBCM) current exhibition Family: Bonds and Belonging. It’s a toss-up as to who likes to tell stories more, Lorne Hammond or SMOC’s Honorary Curator Ivan Sayers. 

The center piece of the larger exhibit consists of a circular tiered display of 40 outfits for men, women and children, each an example of people who  have made up the Canadian population.

Some of the children’s clothing includes an 1860’s wool dress and cape that might have been worn by either a boy or a girl. At this time, clothes for young boys and girls were very similar. Other examples include a Nlaka’pamux boy’s clothing collected in the Thompson River region in 1914 and a yellow duck brimmed plastic raincoat purchased in 2004 for an RBCM environmental exhibit. 

Wedding garments tell the story of how a family unit can evolve. On display are the wedding gown worn by a Victoria General Hospital nurse who married a Danish immigrant in 1951, a traditional wedding dress of an immigrant from the Ivory Coast, and suits worn by the first gay couple to be married an hour after the court ruling on human rights on July 8, 2003.

The exhibit also has every day work uniforms on display, including service uniforms of women working in restaurants and hotels to support their families ca. 1938-48, a 1969 Canadian military unification pattern uniform, and a suit a Punjabi immigrant wore to work in BC sawmills in the 1970’s. 

Some of the formal garments include a 19th-century tunic decorated with pearl buttons that belonged to a first nations man from Telegraph Creek, a Cambodian classic dance outfit belonging to an immigrant whose family had fled from the Khmer Rouge, and a cheong-sam worn by a daughter of a Chinese Canadian entrepreneur who owned one of the first automobiles in BC.

Examples of everyday clothing are also evident in the exhibit, seen in a typical house dress from the 1940’s (when women ran the family economy alone during the war), a psychedelic cotton dress sewn in 1966 by a woman pressured by her children to upgrade her wardrobe after her husband died, and young fathers’ urban wear of 2017 as well as an outfit purchased by Iranian teenage immigrants to show what a typical teenager wears today. 

To me one of the more impressive (though not obvious) things was that the mannequins for this exhibit were handmade in-house by the RBCM’s textile conservators Kjerstin and Colleen to fit each outfit. Interspersed throughout the display are posts with words, both positive and negative, relating to family. On a low dais around the centerpiece, each outfit is identified on a plaque with a photo detail and brief description. Alongside these are short descriptions of the chronological evolution of legislation in regards to family over the last 150 years, such as the right to same sex marriages in 2003.

The local community was involved in the creation of this exhibit and contributed by submitting old family photos and videos, a number that I could relate to, others showing a different perspective on what constitutes a family today. If you find yourself in Victoria, this fine exhibit is on until October 31, 2017. You can still contribute by recording audio clips, by leaving notes, through social media or tagging family photos that will be displayed inside the exhibition. See RBCM”s website

 Curator of Human History Dr Lorne Hammond and Me (Dianna Drahanchuk)
On the beautiful park like garden space known as Barclay Heritage Square containing the Roedde House Museum, Ivan Sayers showed more than fifteen historic outfits from 1867-1980. The program was shared in English and French, by Ivan and Patrice Godin. I heard a collective Bonjour and Merci at the beginning and end of the program, as well as more conversations and exclamations throughout the two hours. In this very well attended celebration, more than 100 chairs were taken and attendees also sat on the grass or stood wherever they could find space. This was a special opportunity, truly inspired by the history of clothing/costume, where people reminisced about the history, places where they had lived in Canada, coming to Canada, the war effort, clothing they had made or worn...a very lively, interactive and memorable day for all. Ivan referenced and emphasized the multicultural make-up of Canada, the languages, cultures and diversity that is what we are.

People dressed up for this occasion; there were dresses, shirts, hats, parasols, shoes, mostly red and white and so many flags and symbols like these commemorative pins, featuring the maple leaf.
This white dress, is a copy of the first Attorney General's wife's dress for a day of croquet. Note the bustle pads, petticoats and lots of cover up for modesty and the focus on the flat stomach.

Even the dogs were dressed for Canada's birthday! I love the parasol that women, through the ages, have used as a sun shade, to keep their faces pale and to denote upper class rather than working class status. Seeing a lot of parasols now, too, but more for healthy skin than as a status symbol. Parker made his Courier De Bois uniform, except for the snow shoes. Amazing attention to historical accuracy and detail and a nod to the Hudson Bay's history as well.

Thanks to SMOC President, Dianna Drahanchuk for organizing this memorable day! Thanks to Ivan  for the presentation of Canadian clothing, history and culture and the changing roles of women throughout the years. And to Patrice, for retelling the story in French. To Parker, for representing the next generation of costume creators and enthusiasts. To Kimberly D'Souza who took a million gorgeous photos of the event. To volunteers and attendees who truly got the party started. Hats off!
More on marvelous SMOC events at smoc.ca

Last but not least, big thanks to Luke Tsoukalas who deletes the garbage cans and other photo faux pas in my photos.

Love this V for Victory skirt, made for a Vancouver school 
Home Ec project, late 1930's early 40's. Bonnet style hat for the 
vulnerable woman, to be protected and defended. 
The 'chip hat' was made of recycled wood chips.

1970's hot pants in red and white, shoulder tote bag from Greece, Captain 
Canada boots by Rino, a Vancouver company, now in Burnaby. 
Note that the body is still quite covered up, this time with tights.

Oh Canada - Home made, passed down, or thrifted 
(My Sister's Closet, Vancouver) these red and white beauties are our colours.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Monet Exhibit officially opens June 24th and in keeping with the Secret Garden theme, the Gallery was dressed in a beautiful welcome of red roses. An iconic building, The Vancouver Art Gallery is transformed with each exhibition and especially for its largest fundraising Gala, Friday June 16th. Event partners: The Social Concierge, Celsia Floral, Flower Factory and gif (Granville Island Florist) receive accolades for the variety of flowers and creative designs and locations for them: advertising displays, pathways, table settings, staircases, at every level, there were fantastic arrangements scenting the air and gracing walls and surfaces, both indoors and outside. And people dressed for Monet and for great causes: funding grand exhibitions and school and family programs at the gallery. The dresses were paintings as were the fresh flowers woven into elegant hairstyles, fascinators, and even flower wristlets. My nod to the garden theme was my Dragonfly Necklace by Carolyn Bruce.

Culinary Capers created tasty appetizers for the cocktail reception as well as a dinner by Executive Chef Stewart Boyles, featuring Dungeness Crab, Cornish Game Hen, Frozen Berry Parfait, (candied violets) perfectly situated on exquisite table settings, again with masses of flowers, but none too high to block out Master of Ceremonies, Andrew Chang, CBC and Fred Lee, Guest Auctioneer, or the entertainment: Chor Leoni Men's Choir, The Goh Ballet and the Famous Players Band.

There were many fundraisers: Live Auction (think Trips to Paris Fashion Week, American Music Award, America's Cup Yachting Experience on San Francisco Bay, Tokyo, New York and even a private gallery tour of the Monet Exhibit and Culinary Capers dinner for 12, right in Vancouver.) Balloon surprises $1,500 - 5,000, Raffle with 6 more exciting experiences, Washington D.C., Pebble Beach, CA, Kennedy Space Centre, Lady Gaga Live in Boston, Chicago or NYC and Super Car Driving in Las Vegas. Just a few of the many opportunities to support the year round word of ART that our Vancouver Art Gallery brings to all of us.

Thanks to the huge and very hard working Summer Gala 2017 Event Committee and to the many others: Sponsors, Partners, Staff and Volunteers who made this Gala a fabulous night to remember.
Can't wait for the Opening of the Monet Exhibit, June 24th and for FUSE and other events in our garden: The Vancouver Art Gallery.

Thanks also to Justin Mah, Communications and Greer Attridge, Social Media, for their gracious welcome and suggestions for best views.

The dresses looked just like the flowers! Beautiful!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

On June 7th, I was invited to the grand opening of Massy Books at 2206 Main, in Vancouver! Balloons outside, lots of friends and neighbors streaming in and buying those specialty and rare books that Patricia sources and stocks! The store contains beautiful shelves, filled with carefully curated and organized titles. Love the little wooden stools and just had to visit the hidden room with an antique desk and comfy stuffed chair. Imagine spending your quiet time in here.

The Children's section is right by the sunny front window and has a colorful carpet just made for sitting down for a look at pictures or a read. I found this one, a Bento Recipe book for those little lunches. So the whole opening event was a wonderful opportunity to chat, read, and celebrate Patricia's hard work, community leadership and friendship. We were also treated to catering by Whole Foods. Books, food and friends, what more! Well, there is one more thing: this owl ring is making its way to the store from another store, My Sister's Closet, where we both volunteer. See more Massy Books on Facebook.

Patricia and Me

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

RAW is always an evening of Art in every way, shape and form. It is visual, performance, music and more. It is people dressing up, being made up, dancing, networking and enjoying all there is to see and do. For the past two years, it has been held at the Harbour Event Centre and this seems to have lots of advantages, including a huge stage and multiple display areas. I wrote about RAW in 2015 here.

This time, there were more than 35 artists and lively, visually diverse and exciting evening unfolded.
First, I visited Pamela Jackson, Street Cat Designs, as I love her jewellery, especially those crocheted earrings and in particular, a funky sterling silver black bracelet, which will invite conversation wherever I wear it. Before she got too busy with sales, I got a photo of this fabulous artist, and Marilyn R. Wilson, (Olio by Marilyn) and me, ready for adventure. Marilyn bought a piece of original art by Jacqueline H. Tyracek, Cranial Moon Designs, and This evening was all about meeting and supporting local artists, for sure. I met Joe Sones of Blind Sheep Productions and was impressed by his quality leather work - oh those totes. As I mentioned, people dressed for the occasion. The woman wearing the fanciest black outfit was wearing a sparkling statement necklace by Carolyn Bruce, who would have been there, had she not been in New Zealand.
Although I am a Stones fan, I was entranced by two musicians from Alive N' Kissin. Now what did I say about adventures?

Huge thanks to Monika Blichar of ArtWorldExpo for sending me along on a night to remember. Big bow to all at RAW Natural Born Artists, Vancouver!

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