Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Museum of Vancouver recently had a Design weekend, featuring more than thirty designers from a variety of disciplines, a Fashion Symposium and a Fashion Avant-Garde: Now and Then Fashion Show, organized by Kat Sark.  Goals of the Museum include connecting people with each other and connecting Vancouver to the world.  These were such dynamic events that helped achieve these goals and many others.

On Friday night, more than thirty local designers showcased what they do and why they design, here.
So much energy, talent and skills and all presented interactively.  The space was alive with music, conversation, photos and people actually playing the games, trying out the drums, opening the wooden panier/briefcases, trying on the jewelry, unfolding the canoe, following the easy instructions for repairing things, instead of tossing them into the landfill, practising techniques for increasing community engagement, and infinitely more.

This is the second time, Why I Design has been featured at the MOV  and I hope it will become a regular event, possibly even featured every couple of months.  We need to acknowledge and support our local talent. I didn't manage to visit each station, but a few more I can highly recommend are:

Jean Chisolm and Janine Merkel - Hometown Project - These two have put together a set of tools and processes for involving people, especially teens and older, in appreciating what their communities have to offer and celebrating these resources.  Their projects are in Prince George and Medicine Hat, currently.

David Schreiber, Founder, Uncle Skunkle Toys -, featured a wooden toy with drawers from which pieces were taken out, sorted - a highly interactive game that had everyone playing.  It was a cabinet that would look great in any living room.  Simple to complex pieces for all ages, forever, classic, challenging, creative, toys.  I want!
Suzi Webster, Designer, - "...wearables that investigate intersections between object and performance, fashion and computing, the body and its context..."  So I saw a fabulous white shirt with pink lights that pulsed to heartbeats - cool and captivating.

More, always more, so I look forward to the next, Why I Design, event at MOV.  They are very different and remind us to see our museums and galleries as places to connect and celebrate, rather than to look passively at unchanging collections.

Muraco Wolfe - Jewelry designer and metal-smith

Karen Byskov and Jayde Chang
(Jessica Beketa and Shea O'Neil, not shown)
Repair matters -
Four young women who set up a repair is important
resource to stress the importance of reducing waste.

Lamps and jewelry made of glass - iconic and recycling
and upcycling

Benjamin McLaughlin - Design Jamin - 
Interactive, musical furniture - African designs

Kim Cooper, Founder, Kale Creative
From her series Journey 1.0, this is a briefcase, panier
to take professionals from work to home, via bike.
Blushing Boutique is that special little jewel of a store, where you are always welcomed, sometimes with pearls, and where you will find that forever classic for dress up or everyday wear.  Showing at Vancouver Fashion Week, always, Shelley knows how to design and display a collection that all of us look great in. The colors and fit are exactly what you are looking for.  She also carries locally crafted accessories - think bags, scarves, and jewellery. Her special events bring us all together in celebration of friendship and looking fabulous!  Here's looking at all of us!

Greetings in Pearls!

Model Leita Liepins 

Model Jacqueline Ryan

 A very rainy November 12th evening, was brightened considerably by an invitation from Gallery Owner Susanna Strem of Chali-Rosso Gallery, 549 Howe, Vancouver, to see delicate and dazzling Frewille line of necklaces, bracelets and rings inspired by the colors and designs of Monet and Matisse. This was live art, gracefully moving throughout a beautiful space, containing not only Monet and Matisse but also many other masters, new and old as well as contemporary artists. Picasso, Dali, Chagall, Miro, are stunning and I especially liked "Jazzopolis" one of the new works from the series "Pop-up Guitars" by fine artist Karen Hollowell. 

This gallery, formerly located on South Granville, has an ever expanding collection and moved to this new location to accommodate it.  A range of services includes: Art Rental, Authentication, Art Consignment and Brokering.  As well, the gallery promotes special guest lectures and events like this one that brings art and artists into a new and different context.  Discussion and celebration are much encouraged!

I spent a lot of time with Oree Gianacopoulos and for a comprehensive history and tour of the complete collection. Visit for more information.

Roxanne Nikki has contributed a great deal to My Sister's Closet, a thrift boutique whose profits go to Battered Women's, to donate from her recent huge sale at Robson Square. I visited her there and watched as she worked so well with her models and customers, at the same time. 

Roxanne's first degree is in Anthropology and her fine eye for detail and history is evident in the way she names each of her pieces and references many of them to favorite people and places. Her second degree is in Fashion Design and all of that confidence shows in those wildly spectacular especially colored eco friendly faux furs, reminiscent of the 60's and 70's bright lights and big cities. I saw landscapes in many of her textures and patterns, too. Really loved a menswear orange coat and would have bought it if it were in my size. But I also loved the blacks, the chic look and fine hand sewn details on the dresses and jackets.  Fabrics and fit, both magic! Did I buy? How could I resist?

Leather, sleek and figure flattering, Italian wool, warm and dramatic, and one more secret, a gift, of course. You can find Roxanne at, Twitter @RoxanneNikki and Instagram roxanne-nikki. The GOALLOUT Sale continues until the end of the month and you can shop online at   The 25th anniversary of Roxanne Nikki, is coming right up so watch for exciting details in 2016.

Marilyn R. Wilson has written more about Roxanne, here.

Thanks, Roxanne and staff for sharing this sale collection with me. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

In October, I took a trip to one of my favorite cities, Boston! I normally spend most of my time in the city, but this time had the opportunity to see the beautiful Cape Cod region. We took a lighthouse tour from Hyannis, saw the famous Kennedy Compound and visited the legendary Plymouth. I would highly recommend taking a weekend to see this part of Boston. It was absolutely magical!

Lighthouse Touring
Wearing Joe Fresh cords and sweater
Jacket from Value Village
Booties from Spring
Scarf from India 
Sunnies from Tribal Rhythm Vintage

Viewing the famous Kennedy Compound in Hyannis

Visiting the historical JFK Museum in Hyannis


Park in Braintree, Massachusetts

Colors are always spectacular in Boston in October

Having fun!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

This is a GALA not to be missed!  It will be on November 25th at the Terminal City Club, Vancouver. This is a great way to further support programs and services for battered women and their families.  This is also a grand opportunity to hear Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Environment and Culture Activist and Author, and to see a fashion show that will demonstrate diversity and breaking stereo-types. Curated by Melanie Kobayashi, Stylist and Blogger, and featuring clothing and accessories donated to My Sister's Closet (Seymour and Helmcken) this is not only a look at recycling, upcycling, refashioning, but also the power to speak and inspire change.  The GALA is an entire evening, organized by a huge community of supporters of BWSS/My Sister's Closet.  We encourage you to join us in celebration and empowerment! For more information visit My Sister's Closet.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Photos and writing by Dianna Drahanchuk

Tracy Richardson is passionate about what she teaches - "how to create personal harmony where nothing stands out except you". She has had impressive experience working with television (like CBC and CTV), corporations, celebrities, politicians including those in our recent election, and other diverse clients. With great enthusiasm, Tracy shared her styling knowledge with an intimate group of 17 customers, friends, and volunteers at the thrift boutique and social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services, My Sister’s Closet.

Tracy’s animated presentation included advice on most suitable necklines, colours, prints, hair styles, makeup, and accessories based on the combined attributes of face shape, eyes, lips, hair, and body. For example, face shape determines which neckline to wear: a round neckline is more flattering to an oval or round face. Generally, if a body is curvy, patterns and accessories should also have curved lines. Further, body size dictates pattern and accessory size. According to Tracy, the wrong pattern can make a person look much older than she is.

With emphasis Tracy says WEAR LESS BLACK! She cited anecdotes where partners are more attracted to colour than to black. She showed the audience how various colour palettes either bring the eye to the face, preferably, or just to the colour. She claims that the right colours will attract more of what you want and there is a good selection to choose from as each palette she presents contains 30 colours.

At the end of the workshop, 3 lucky people won 2 to 3 hour personal consultations at My Sister’s Closet with Tracy. Other guests were offered a 1-hour free consultation if they bought something from the store. By the time we left, we knew a lot more that when we came but, we still wanted more. Samantha Kearney, organizer of the event and supervisor of My Sister’s Closet is keen to have her back. We can also look forward to Tracy’s course at Langara College, blog, and radio show which are currently under development.

For more information about Tracy, visit her website Tracy Richardson.

Also be sure to check out the Battered Women’s Support Services, My Sister’s Closet website for upcoming events!

Demonstrating a better neckline and colour.

Colour palette try-ons

Saturday, November 7, 2015

At Vancouver Fashion Week, this season, Dianna put her name in the Designers' Draw and won a piece from Allison Smith of Allison Wonderland. We decided to find out more about her and the wonderful work she does. A Kwantlen Polytechnic University Grad, (Richmond) Allison has been designing since 1998. Her work space/office is in Gastown and is a very organized riot of color, textiles, thread, and racks of clothing. Instantly, I wanted to touch everything, open every book, look out of the windows and try everything on. Having a two year old daughter and surviving runway show productions, make her used to surprises and chatty people, and she was so gracious during our visit and very passionate about her designs and her clientel. Thanks Allison, for your gift of sunshine on a dreary, rainy day!

Allison gets her inspiration from her friends, women she knows, and her daughter, Violet. She notices many changes at Vancouver Fashion Week: It's much bigger, more designers from so many countries and audiences dressing up and being part of the show.  Allison's collections are not only found here, though, she is also selling in Toronto, and when I next visit The Distillery District, there, I will visit the store, Coal Miner's Daughter, to take some snaps and send them back.

When she is creating a piece, she asks, "Would I wear that?" I think she would look fab in anything, but I noticed that she has a great eye for proportion as well as how pieces can be worn in many ways, so petites can find lots of options, too.  She is inspired by Rachael Comey, Dries Van Noten and Stella McCartney just to begin with.  Around her table for brunch would be Kate Moss, Bianca Jagger, Iris, Tavi Gevinson, Buffy Sainte-Marie and more.  On the menu would be: Champagne and lots of ideas and combinations of personality and talent!

Her next collection, Fall 2016 will be out at the end of January. We're really hoping to see Allison at My Sister's Closet (BWSS) at Seymour and Helmcken so that she can try on some of the marvelous donated 'finds' there. By the way, Allison, you will see Dianna and I wearing your gorgeous jacket to some of the fashion events, around town

Thanks again, Allison Smith!  For more information:

Allison Smith in her busy Vancouver work space
Love her, 'Lights of the city' jacket

Allison in the mirror - 'lights' jacket back and front

I found orange

Dianna in dramatic black and white

Dianna in the black and white piece: jacket, top, shirt dress, s
he won as a designer prize from Allison at Vancouver Fashion Week

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

This was the first showcase from Vancouver Emerging Designers, and I look forward to many more!
Fourteen very individual looks animated the Roundhouse Community Centre's great room runway.  Vancouver's street style and life style were highlighted. The attendees dressed for this special occasion! Vancouver has style and lots of it!

Influences I saw: art, spirituality, environment, urban life, economics, ethnicity, travel, all reflected in casual to couture. Lots of black and white, gray, winter palettes but with multi textures, embroidery, royal gold and silver, and extras like hoods and cuffs, coat and dress/pant combinations, (beautiful linings)...such layering of color, texture, form and function. Sophistication and creativity that will always increase! I was awed by all of it, but especially loved Giselle Forgets' spectacular upcycled, recycled and re-imagined style. Modelling was at its best with confidence, swagger and panache!
Throughout the show, shoes were extreme, high, strappy for the women but worn without any runway falls, thankfully.  And whose idea was it, to have those bare feet, dancer pointed, so graceful and demonstrating, so well, the balance and strength of the human body!

Registration was friendly and organized, although with such a crowd, it took more time than expected. Seating was great - easy viewing of the runway and many ops to meet and greet. Loved that there were products for sale, although, would have loved a rack of those runway looks to buy.
This event was well moderated with big screen titles for each collection. The music was particularly well chosen, very engaging and models seemed to walk to its beat. Dynamic and captivating!
Special Guest Speaker Jason Matlo, a well known Canadian Designer, spoke enthusiastically about the huge amount of talent, here in Vancouver, and the importance of supporting emerging, local talent! Evan Ducharme, also a renowned local Canadian Designer and teacher, was in the front row, working, watching and supporting new beginnings. He will be right there for all of those fabulous next steps!

KEL DUMANA AND AJANI DHARMAPALA - a huge thank you for VEDS! This is a much needed place for emerging designers.  There is so much design talent in our city and we need to see it all. Interview, please.  AND ENCORE!

 VEDS (Vancouver Emerging Designers' Show)
Photos by Colleen and Dianna

Audience Style = Jason Siu and Travon Hart

Fashion Forward Photographer

Canadian Designer Evan Ducharme, watching emerging excellence!

Dana et Moi

Keiko, Rafael, Vivienne

Jason Matlo, Canadian Designer, Special Guest Speaker




Sherry Cascayan

Lisa Kao

Frederick Fung

Frederick Fung

Frederick Fung

Ajani and Kel

Anthony in black and white from Paris

 Hold and Carry Cianda Bourrell

Cecilia Rosell

Cecilia Rosell

Nauni Johal

Giselle Forget Designer, Luba Belova Model

Model Elena Grigorieva

Iryna Getman and Gigi Forget


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