Saturday, November 18, 2017

Writing by Colleen Tsoukalas
Photos by Circle Craft

From Wednesday to Friday, I hosted one Fashion Show per day, produced by four very accomplished students from the Fashion Merchandising Program at Vancouver Community College and Director, Sarah Murray, Program Co-ordinator. On Saturday and Sunday, I hosted two fashion shows. During this time, I was fortunate to meet and interview clothing and accessories designers extraordinaire. This fantastic week long event, Circle Craft Market, "proudly showcases the work of 315 Canadian Artists". Find more at the website here

The Fashion Shows featured four themes: Apres Skate, Winter Cozy, Crystal Wonderland and Holiday Party and the same gorgeous models, Briellen, Crystal, Kyra and Aerin, styled by Instructor, Dominique Hanke, graced the stage and then awed the audience by walking the aisles for a closer look. Make Up Artists, Gayle Coburn, Kelly Bui, and Hair Stylists, Jessica Lee and Renata Molinar created classic, vintage and modern looks for the models. (I want everything for my holiday events!)

Fashion Show Co-ordinators: Charlo Cedro, Kruti Patel, Olga Yevshenyna, Yasmin Tang and Volunteers, Nico Gruzling, and Nancy Drummond-Hay, you were organized, calm, efficient and the show wouldn't have gone on without you! Kudos!

Circle Craft Producers: Andrea Sanders, Paul Yard and Rossane Clamp, big thanks to you!

Designers who wowed everyone with their on stage interviews:

Joanne Hodges - Enchanted Designs - One of a kind, vintage, upcycled, recycled furs
Linda Rajotte - Silver Ocean Designs - Handmade silver, copper pieces reflecting west coast scenery and oceans
Heather Reinhardt - Mumble Tease - T-Shirts/Graphics
Izabella Sauer - Alarte Silks - at Granville Island
Kjaer Neletia Pedersen - KOME - Wraps, jackets, capes, designs for everyone
Joni Olsen - Salish Fusion Knitwear - family business, Salish traditional and modern designs
Wendy Van Riesen - Dahlia Drive -hand dyed, unique designs, collaborations with Reg Davidson,too
Ande Axelrod - Treats Designs - handmade jewellery from the rainforest
Lexi Soukoreff - Daub and Design - leggings and more
Joanna Lovett - Joanna Lovett Sterling - locket stories, silver with a secret
Heidi - Heidi The Artist - Whistler based paintings to fabric - the story of where you are on your clothing and accessories.

Thanks for a fantastic Circle Craft week, everyone!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

David Chen introduced this show as a fantastic example of Fashion as Art. It was also a magnificent showcase of the vast talents of Designers, Musicians, Magicians, Dancers, and more. Eight VCAD student designers dazzled with color and creativity. Tatiana Mezentseva's floral motifs were eye-catching and the gorgeous flower prints, embroidery, cross stitch and Ukranian symbols in Tetyana Golotta's collection were vibrant and captivating. Jason Yu's magic tricks were quick, flawlessly performed, stunning, bringing the audience very close to the edge of the stage for a closer look. Loved K-O.ME Clothing featured capes of swirling colors and plaids, the perfect fit and wearable art for all. So much, with designers showing multiple looks, all to great music and models dancing, moving with energy and enthusiasm, displaying the clothing as true Art. I loved the cultural diversity in this show; there were traditional looks from the Philippines, China, Korea, Japan and more. Kimono by Fumiko was exceptional and transported me back to Tokyo Fashion Week, one of the most extraordinary Fashion Weeks, ever! David Chen and Keiko Boxall, I bow. Thank you for an evening of beautifully organized and well orchestrated enchantment. Efficient, friendly registration, helpful volunteers, perfect seating, and the best talent around! Looking forward to the next, big show.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lucky to get a heads up on this fabulous fashion evening! Mary Wallace Poole, gave us lots of time to get tickets (discounts for our group of 3) and off we went to the Heritage Hall on Main, to a grand setting for a wonderful event, including shopping, a fashion show, of Fall/Holiday/Resort Wear, delicious food and refreshments and door prizes! I won an Elaspa facial from Magnolia Regeneration Skin and Body Clinic and look forward to that, for sure!

What I love about Marianne's line is the color and layering of pieces. Each can be worn in a variety of ways, flattering to all figures. So many outfits and modelled with grace and lots of love. The shoes were also great, being elegant but infinitely wearable. Eye-catching accessories added sparkle and another dimension to the fabrics. Your entire wardrobe in one place. Very little ironing required! Here are a few of my favorites, but see much more at Art To Wear by Marianne Greaves on Facebook. Up and coming events are posted. Be delighted!

It was a great idea for SMOC to pair Adrien Vanviersen, StoryBoard Artist,(X2, X3, Game of Thrones) film maker and Superman expert, and Ivan Sayers, Fashion Historian and collector, to talk about and show the evolution of the superhero and his contemporaries and the costumes and clothing of each time period. People were eager to share their love of Superman, the movies, the comics, past and present. Many of the women liked Wonder Woman and Lois Lane because they were strong, capable, achievers. Lynn put the whole outfit together, right down to that belt buckle and those bracelets. Kathryn P. Hammerton, VCC Fashion Design Student and Illustrator, loved Wonder Woman for being a woman and for having her own tv series. Janet made her own costume from a Simplicity pattern and found the fabric in NYC. She likes that Super Woman was always on the side of right. Rhonda's mom was a textile artist and both she and Rhonda have made a lot of costumes, just as Superman's mom made his. And speaking of costumes, it is Ivan's super human collecting abilities that bring us clothing that each Superman, family, friends and cast would have worn during each incarnation.

Simon, is a Superman and comic book fan. (Classic Comics, right) He likes the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of Superman's character. David likes The Flash - a fast guy, for sure.
Beckie likes the Marvel Wonder Woman movies. Photographer, Billy, admires Batman  for his independent spirit, for the ability to get things done on his own, and for his use of technology to get out of sticky situations. Dianna likes the costumes of the women supporting Superman. The first photo is of an outfit that Ivan says, early Superman's mom would have worn in the kitchen, while making his dinners or sewing his costumes. So many people had a twinkle in their eye and a lot of stories about their favourite Super Heroes. The door prize was, fittingly, a pair of Pez candy holders, Superman and Wonder Woman, of course.

Find out much more about Superman by watching The Origin of the Secret Identity in the Golden Age, a free fan comic at and  So much you didn't know about Superman. So much grand illustration and story boarding.

And here's what they said:
Superman: "Easy, Miss, I've got you."
Lois Lane: "You, you've got me? Who's got you?"

Friday, November 3, 2017

It was a big party and all of us dressed for Shelley Klassen. She got to see her own fashion history and we all piled through the door, to the back of the store, right in the middle of the sewing room, where all the magic happens. All coats tossed on the racks, a lovely mess of color and off we went to shop the jewellery and then those beautiful, Bronsino leather belts by Denise Wilson, and Shelley's latest collection and those fabulous sales, sit on the couch, too many at once and laughing and watching the models get ready. Out to the store, who does those divine windows? Photos on the fashion wall, who will win top prizes for best SK outfit? The 3 top winners won gift certificates for even more great fashions at Blushing Boutique. Look at all those door prizes from such generous supporters. And the models, imagine. Yes, you. With such a range of styles, there is something special for everyone, so get dressed and walk that walk. This is a gem of a place, right in the middle of the city - 579 Richards is where you want to be, whether it is for a quiet shopping experience or a wonderful event. Get there, get on the list, fashion history in the making!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The evening begins with easy and friendly registration and a walk up the grand staircase of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Once at the top of the stairs, guests meet up with friends, many of whom have supported Little Black Dress since its inception in 2015 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Here is the very beginning. Now, there is a Youth Engagement Gala, a Women's Lunch and the grand finale: the evening Gala with this agenda.

Pacific Ballroom: Rugcutter Jazz Band, refreshments, meet and greet and photo ops
Then the doors to the BC Ballroom open and the red carpet and brightly lit stage are the focus for:
Young People's Opera Society of B.C.
Karen Kobel, Solo Dancer, Kahlena Movement Studio
Dance CO. by Marlowe Winsor - From the stage, right down the runway
Divinity DJS

And the Fashion Show! Featuring 19 local designers, this is an opportunity for emerging designers, especially, to showcase their fashions at no cost. For well established designers, this is another example of how they share their expertise and support of emerging talent.

The creative minds behind those dynamic runway looks are: Bikini Empire, Ghren, Couture Therapy, Connally McDougall Designs, Kslam Clothing, Giovanna Ricci Designs, Pillar Heights, Kim Legler, Julie Blaney, Miechie, Garth Asham Designs, Yiling, Shyan Couture, AK Home And Kalau Interiors Fabric Partnership, House of Bahareh, Carolyn Bruce Designs, Susan Harley, Chalett, Dasha Volokhova.

A small sample of photos gives just a glimpse of the scope of the many collections. Color, informal and formal styles, pattern, texture, layers, street to ball gown, from work wear to steampunk, you must come for the next one, this Spring, to see a runway that is never empty. Loved how each designer and a model came out to meet the audience and to take bows!

Alpha and Christine, your team has expanded and continues to inspire others to join in the movement to  "Help Change My City". At Risk Youth and Single Moms greatly benefit from your work. So inspiring to see how many  young people are taking on leadership in all of the Little Black Dress events for this special day, as well as in their schools and communities. There is invitation and opportunity for all, here. All dressed up, achieving and celebrating!

Another initiative of the Help Change My City Alliance (HCMC) is to invite women, especially single moms, who need a beautiful, safe place to be celebrated, to meet new friends and people who appreciate and celebrate their strength and resilience. The gorgeous rooftop restaurant of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was the setting and we were treated to a delicious salad, chicken dinner and fabulous dessert. Linen table cloths, sparkling cutlery, pristine white with elegant centerpieces and wonderful company, made this truly a celebration. Alpha, Christine, Marketa, Sarah and others reinforced such a heartfelt welcome. Thoughtful, attentive staff. Our compliments to the Chef, too.

Some of the women said they felt intimidated at first, but most of us had not been there before and what's more, even though we all wore black, (easy and looks great) not everything was high cost. Some of my look was courtesy of BWSS My Sister's Closet, a jewel of a thrift boutique at Seymour and Helmcken.

Naomi, age 17 from Sullivan Heights Secondary, Surrey, where she is in her final year, sang and entertained us. She recently went on the walk for reconciliation and is organizing her club at her school to learn more about First Nations communities. She wants to bring in First Nations Designers and Artists to Sullivan Heights. Amazing talent and such a positive role model for her fellow students.

One of the women at my table, Dayo, came to this luncheon because "someone remembered her", invited her and was there to welcome her. She says for her, as a newcomer, it is so important to be acknowledged, invited, welcomed and for people to say, hello. It was lovely to have her company at  the evening Gala.

The attendees were thanked for taking care of their homes and families and for believing that there is something better to come. They were thanked for teaching their children powerful things. They were invited to bring others for the next event, this Spring.

Everyone had the opportunity to have professional photos and to choose a huge variety of free make up and perfume samples.

We toasted each other and the next chance to make this event even bigger!

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