Friday, September 23, 2016

I have long been fascinated with Katherine Soucie's clothing and accessories, ever since I read about her in Marilyn Wilson's book, "Life Outside The Box". I had been to a book launch and clothing swap and was lucky enough to get my hands on a hand dyed stretchy top, made from her own invention/creation of hosiery textiles. I have a photo of the blouse here.

I love her card quote: "Let Our Textiles Tell Your Story" and am always pleased to tell others about her remarkable achievements, awards, and glorious collections of clothing, accessories and other products. More, here:

My story is all about vintage, thrifting, recycling, upcycling and repurposing. But, I am in awe of those who can design and sew. I especially admire her creative and very unique ways of making style from leftover textile waste, sourcing ethically, and producing eco friendly collections of wearable art. Something Katherine creates for you, will be multilayered, textured and colored. It will fit like a glove, yet will move and reflect a myriad of shades as you walk. It is impressive how she has turned mending techniques, inside out and uses those stitches as further design details.  So her studio is an art gallery of equipment, fabrics, knits, collections on the walls and tables, and people. Did I mention that her open studios are very popular and you meet so many other crafts people - like minds, but, all eyes are on Katherine, an excellent speaker and so passionate about eco and the clothing design world. By the way, I met her friend, Berlin Designer, Agente Costura,from whom I bought a funky gold silk men's tie, diamond patterned, turned into a cute 50's bow hair band, which I wore with my 50's outfit for Ivan Sayers "My 50 Year Love Affair with the Sally Ann", a vintage fashion show and celebration of his 70's birthday. (More at By the way, Agente, was a guest artist, the previous evening with Lisa Simpson and Rob Matharu, who do music to accompany sewing, using the machines, voice and other instruments.

Katherine, your story continues and you bring us in as characters. Thank you for the tour! I want all of your creations! Thanks also for introducing me to Agente. I will be back, bringing everyone who will want to come with me, now.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Presented by Social Concierge, Cosentino Group and Kabuni, in partnership with IDS West, this gorgeous event is one of three that supports VCAD Interior Design students, as well as a community of guests wanting to learn more about fabulous table/room décor, delicious canapes, crafted cocktails and opportunities to meet designers, chefs, mixologists, artists - all involved with creating the most beautiful tables, room décor, lighting, and perfect entertaining. More details at Dinner by Design.

Greeted with a game of Truth or Dare, we played and posted while sampling reds and whites and a variety of custom cocktails. Very tasty, endless trays of canapes, were to be found all around the two floors of this venue. Platters were also circulated throughout the evening.

What intrigued me were the wall coverings, origami like, intricate and cushioning the room. Multilayered colors, collage like, also seemed to envelope the table, with a three dimensional wall of art. No need for windows. It was like being in a jewel box. Lots of black and gold and themes inspired by nature. My favorite was the Alice in Wonderland table landscape (KALU Interiors) a great conversation starter, "Have you read the book, seen the movie, looked at the illustrations..."

A lot of people, a fashion feast, a wall of sound, an infinite range of possibilities for the home, the table, an atmosphere of excitement, lots of oohs and ahhhhs, and many new invitations to dinner parties of your dreams.

Thanks to Cocktail Art and Good Life Vancouver, for the opportunity to enjoy this very entertaining event.

Photos are by Guest Blogger, Dianna Drahanchuk!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

On Friday, September 9th from 6:00-8:00, The Bay invited us to see Karl Lagerfeld's line of clothing and accessories - from Paris to Vancouver. This began as a black and white event, with staff and caterers (Culinary Capers) wearing black and the display area brightly lit, white floor shining and black and white collection, featuring black and white Chanel jackets and white T-shirts, with pops of color, here and there, subtle and chic. The idea was to bring color to the outline of Karl. A huge set of paints and brushes were located right by the poster and guess what? Everyone there seemed delighted to bring the portrait to life! As always, bubbly and canapes made this a celebration of style and creativity. Loved the Karl Lagerfeld, black and white macarons - a perfect treat to welcome the collection to Vancouver. I wore an Elie Tahari white skirt, hand made lilac silk jacket, silver jewelry, and a Japanese cloth bag, all from my favourite thrift store, My Sister's Closet. After seeing Karl's collection, I may consider one of those black and white jackets and a new black bag.
Thanks for yet another fashion delight!

VCC is well known for its vast array of programs and I have always been a fan of its Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Grad Shows and many forays down the red carpet runways of Vancouver Fashion Week. This summer at Carnival Del Sol, VCC presented a whimsical, colorful show here.

I am fortunate to see the preview show, and interview seven new designers at the school. Following that, I will see their fabulous achievements at Vancouver Fashion Week, Wed. Sept 21.

"Let there be fashion" is exactly what I saw on the Fashion Show preview night. First I met Lisa Gellert, teacher, who teaches Illustration1, 2, Portfolio 1, Collections, Design 1, 2 and much more. She will be receiving a Teacher Award at the opening Gala of Vancouver Fashion Week, on Monday. This award is for those who have contributed endlessly to the advancement fashion industry, to the local market and especially to the education and training of new designers. She meets the students when they are at the beginning, an important introduction to VCC and to the very wide world of designing a unique fashion collection. She is excited, she says, to see how much they develop their initial concepts from the first year to the end of the second year, when they graduate. This group, in her words, came in with strong ideas, good computer and photography skills and are adept at hand drawing. The international mix, too, is fascinating with all students speaking at least two languages.

While there is a great website for more information about the students and their work, I chose to meet them and actually see how their clothes worked for me. After all, we all want beautiful outfits that are hand crafted, slow fashion, and a perfect fit, things that are very hard to find in stores. I always have high hopes that I will see runway dazzlers, just when I need them, so here's to being optimistic. I asked what age range these collections were intended for, and first was told, well, maybe 20-30. However I told them that everyone, no matter what age, wants a wardrobe they love. Many of the outfits I saw, I wanted to buy on the spot. My hope is that designers will pay attention to all sizes and ages and give us the fit and glam that the fashion world promises.

It is thanks to Sarah Murray, Program Co-ordinator: Fashion, Recruitment, Industry Relations, VCC, that I have been invited to VCC Fashion Shows and at her invitation that I came to preview the collection, that will grace the runway, next Wednesday. During a very busy prep time, she managed to work around me as I interviewed and tried on the dresses. She even got her picture taken with one of the dresses. And, the students are very ready, with their fabulous portfolios, carefully bagged collections, firm handshakes and so much enthusiasm for their training from VCC, their school. Some told me that they had never sewn or drawn an illustration before they came. But oh, they have mastered it all, now. The world is at their feet and I bow to their expertise and creativity.

Here are the designers!

Polina, from Russia, has what she calls looks for the spoiled teenager. So I see the oversized, wildly colorful and grafitti jackets, shirts and pants, as cool pieces that our visual, social media savvy, message loving kids would like. As they fly by on their skateboards and scooters, I see these brilliant orange, purple and yellow landscapes billowing out behind them, the bigger, the more practical, I think. Polina has faces, lots of faces hidden in the graphics so there is lots to make the eye travel, as Diana Vreeland says. But wait, there is a little jacket for me. All that big design, looking fantastic, big or small. Polina likes adventure and weird, and, I think big statements, too. She wanted to be an artist, and is a graphic designer and, at only 19, can be anything she wants!

Maria, also from Russia, favors a feminine, empowering look, with velvets and jersey, chiffon and stretch for fit and comfort. She has a BA in Languages and speaks Mandarin, Russian and English. She lived in China for 6 years, before hitting Vancouver. She admires VCC for its international reputation, affordability and for what she has learned in just two years.

Sarah, is moving to California, very soon but wants to work her magic in the film industry, there. She is a fan of hand crafted, slow fashion. She also likes thrifting, upcycling, recycling and multiple uses for each piece of clothing. I tried on the white quilted fabric with red dyed buffalo wool (recycled) gown. She sees her collection as a series of art pieces. I love wearable art and could see myself at Art and Fashion events, as well as to the many festivals we have in Vancouver.

Dorcas is from Ghana, West Africa and has been here for 9 years. She is also studying at Langara.(Business Management) Her designs are printed on fabric and she does beadwork as well. Themes of racism, civil rights movements as in Freedom Riders and Selma and skin tones: black and white. Strength, empowerment, ethnicity, ability, pride in culture, all can be seen in her choice of vibrant color, pattern and style. The colors suit Sarah and she is holding Dorcas's beautiful dress.

Megan uses old table cloths as fabric for her designs, which she hand embroiders and fastens with vintage buttons. Some of these she finds at button, button, a treasure of a little store on Homer Street, downtown Vancouver. She chooses only fine, eco friendly fabrics and one of her sources is Our Social Fabric, Vancouver. One of the buttons she showed me is made of recycled plastic in Africa.This is a wonderful example of recycling and upcycling projects that women are creating their own businesses from. Megan wants her collection to be practical, wearable and functional for work and leisure. I loved her hand embroidered jump suit for its color, construction and perfect fit pour moi.

Ekta is from England and is Indian. Her embroidery is her own design and she has made patterns for it. It is called paper mache embroidery and is a stand out in her RAJPUTANA Collection. She designs couture gowns and says that she learned everything, here at VCC! Vibrant colors, very unique styles and truly stunning, elegant and taking charge of any room. While her work reflects Indian history and culture, it also very reflective of our multicultural Vancouver. It seems that everyone here brings that extra something special with them and mixes it up to make it a new combination and variation. I can hear music when I look at Ekta's dresses.

Cynthia is inspired by Chinese folk tales and stories her grandfather and father told her about what happened to them during the war in China. Her grandfather escaped into a forest and was surrounded by wolves. When you see her designs, you see the stories and tales she so vividly remembers. She is inspired by nature and is a romantic. She has always loved Art and was involved in painting and other Art events at David Thompson, a local high school, here. At the end of a very long evening, Cynthia was so enthusiastic about her experience at VCC. Her hand stitching and construction skills are beyond what I have seen before. If I were still teaching, I would wear her fabulous clothes because kids love great design, as well as stories.

Kayla's theme (not pictured) is really different. She is looking at imperfections in skin, scars, burns, wrinkles, as a contrast to the constant images of perfection that we are bombarded with. And so, her work is layered, textured and a raising of awareness about the body and how it might be as opposed to an unattainable standard sized flawless mannequin that we see in magazines and on screen. She likes ready to wear and would also like to work in Product Development.

Congratulations Designers and Staff. Thank you for a captivating evening! Ever onward and looking forward to the red carpet!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What a long weekend! A beautiful wedding at the Toronto Hunt Club and then a staycation at the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto! Would definitely recommend it in the summer. Beautiful views, fantastic pool and excellent service. Thanks for a great stay!

Wearing a dress from Anthropologie which I wore for a wedding

Beautiful pool

Sunsets from above

Always a lot going on at City Hall!

Monday, September 12, 2016

The weather is still hot in Toronto during the day, but the evenings are cooling down and the sun is setting sooner. Not ready for summer to be over!

Back to blazers, jeans and warmer tops for the Fall. I also tried out the latest sports jacket trend, thanks to Treasure Seeker Colleen (see 4th photo). It even has an A on it!

How is your wardrobe changing for Fall?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Pacific National Exhibition is on a huge site on the east side of Vancouver. It has an ice rink, a horse racing track, a garden park and much more. Keeping a historic fair like this, going, is a daunting task. Exhibits must be current and events must appeal to all ages. Playland's big rides, like the Ferris Wheel and the Roller Coaster are landmarks that can be seen year round, while more rides are added for PNE Days. Those enticing smells of fried onions, bbq, mini donuts and popcorn, never fail to attract crowds. I love the variety of all ethnic foods and am always pleased to see the blue and white Greek Flag calling me for Souvlaki. I even found a Greek-Japanese restaurant in Tokyo and am delighted to eat both foods at the same table. So lots to sample, surrounded by the excitement that a fair like this adds to the last sunny days of August.

Celebrating Canada, with red and white flags and costumes, were performers in a parade and backyard activity scenario. Hit the Deck, began with a parade right inside the fair and you could join in at any time. Young, playful active vibe and yet another hats off to our Canadian Athletes. Over 200 different performances, showing Big vast array of talent in our multicultural community.

There was a very well attended band performance by Dal Richard's band, in his memory and celebrating his 75 years of bringing in the crowds at the PNE. Loved the shady seating and the misting machines, looking after the seniors, especially.

My favorite exhibit, though was Alien Worlds and Androids. Fabulous visuals, sound effects and interactive ops as well. There was a line up for this one and people of all ages snapped selfies and reacted as excitedly as they do at the movies or Apple Store.

Lovely way to see something old become new again. And here's hoping I win the prize home.

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