Wednesday, June 22, 2016

VANTI Designs is a line of beautiful, botanically inspired scarves by Marina Mary Georgiadis. I met her at a workshop she was giving at Van Dusen Gardens here.

Now, when I travel, I take these light, versatile pieces with me. They can be worn as tops and belts as well as in a multitude of knots and folds, over or under anything. I like to wear them long or with one knot as they seem to fall in just the most flattering, light catching ways. At the Plaza hotel, outside at the fountain, this grey, violet, purple scarf caught they eye of visitors who all ran over to take a photo.

Inside the plaza, at the grand entrance, in front of a huge display of flowers, people looked only at the scarf. I couldn't resist decorating Saks Fifth Avenue, just a bit. Two saleswomen, who came over to touch the soft silk, asked if it was one of theirs. No, I said, "Only in Canada!"

Thank you VANTI Designs and Marina for providing many conversations on the streets and in the stores of New York City. I think you should be there!

More about VANTI Designs here!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Seems like yesterday that I met Viktor Luna, a Project Runway All Star Designer, at Palm Springs (El Paseo) Fashion Week. Even then, I coveted his iconic leather jackets. I've kept in touch on Facebook and when I visited NYC recently, I asked if we could meet and catch up. Despite his crazy, busy schedule, Viktor invited me over to see some of his favorite creations and yes, I got to try them on. I love the range of colors, materials, unusual zippers, glittering studs and grommets and of course, the overall statement of each piece and the fit. Coats, detailed, with work of art linings...warm yes, heavy, no. And dresses, all the glam and drama you could wish for. Think Black and Gold Events in Vancouver - think NYC runway. I met gorgeous, little, Mickey, Viktor's fashionable dog, too. Fashionable, because, yes, he has his own line of coats and accessories. Mickey is the best dressed dog I saw while I was there.

Time with Viktor was a fashionista's dream. Got to see the work area, projects in progress and plans for next steps. Racks of special clothes you'd never see anywhere else. After lunch, he answered a few more questions:

Any surprises in your career?
He is surprised that he can never stop designing. He is always reaching for the peak.

Biggest dream?
To continue what he is doing, sustainably and with increasing collaborations. I think he creates what he imagines; his dreams are the wearable Art we see in his collections.

Influence of Culture/Ethnicity on his work?
Is subtle but very much in evidence. Originally from Mexico, religious motifs -Spanish influence - hearts, embroidery, silhoettes, Flamenco, Spanish ribbons, Spanish Art, and experience of living in other countries.

The opportunity to see Viktor Luna, was a great incentive to get me on the NYC subway, on my own, for the first time. I wore Carolyn Bruce's silver robot ring on the trip because I think a collaboration between Viktor and Carolyn would be the most futuristic, fantastic runway show, ever. Viktor was wearing the ring, when I left. I am hoping to get invited back to NYC, to brave that subway again and to see those jackets and those rings on the stage. I can hear the applause!

Find out more about Viktor Luna here.

Original post about the Project Runway All Stars at Palm Springs FW here

Image source

A few of our favourite looks from his F/W '16 Collection


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Photos and post by Dianna Drahanchuk

What a beautiful sunny day at the Guu Garden patio, perfect for the TomoeArts summer fundraiser on Sunday June 5, 2016. To start, guests were able to bid on a wide assortment of Japanese style items offered on silent auction and enjoy the plentiful and tasty Japanese inspired bites.

Eddy Takayanagi, President of TomoeArts, ably emceed the delightful entertainment. Catherine Yamamoto opened the program with the peaceful “Hakusen” or “White Fan”  - a Japanese classical dance often performed on special occasions. Later Lan Tung played the erhu in concert with Itamar Erez on acoustic guitar blending their sounds to middle eastern rhythms. Later, TomoeArts board member Koji Ito treated us to some Shigin, or chanted/sung Japanese poetry.

The lovely Colleen Lanki, Artistic & Managing Director, nihon buyoh instructor and driving force behind this event and others during the year around town, is very passionate about the company's mandate to incorporate Japanese traditional arts in interdisciplinary and multicultural ways. She is excited about their next “mash-up” project, a world premiere of a chamber opera featuring guest Noh theatre performers. Look for it in 2017 on their website:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thanks to Vernard Lg Goud for the invitation and wonderful social media details about this fabulous Photography and Shopping Event in support of Beauty Night Society. Held at Leone's iconic store in the Sinclair Centre, this was a chance to mix and mingle, enjoy refreshments, appies and chocolates, see Emma Dunlavey's gorgeous photographs, buy beautiful designer clothing at specially discounted prices and fabulous jewellery and raise money to provide styling, beauty treats and photo shoots for women living in the down town east side. The Beauty Night Society, founded in 2000 by Caroline MacGillivray, has provided more than 50,000 makeovers and other support to build self esteem and help change lives.

This event was superbly organized and well attended. Beautiful setting, fabulous art, excellent sales staff, many creative minds meeting up for a great cause. Inspired by the amount of work that went into organizing this evening. Awed by everyone who dressed for a cause.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I had to add this new read to my Good Reads and write a brief review. It was that good!
Cold Girl: A BC Blues crime novel by R.M. Greenaway

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Couldn't put this one down and read it over a 3 day period this May. Reminded me very much of my time up North and visits to Hazelton. A great B.C. setting with all the complexities that the entertainment business can bring. Also a look at the highway of tears and what can happen when the road is long and the transportation ops, few. "...she was on foot and her destination was the highway... or the long gravel road that led away from the fairground to west, dark and empty, the perfect pace for the man to catch up, reach out and take hold." It is man against nature, very much alive and dark. It is personalities, politics, the hunt, the hunter and the hunted, women and men, achievement and lack of it, dreams and realities (And lots, lots more) This is a first novel, awarded even before it was published. Way to go Rachel Greenaway. Look forward to the next one and the continuing adventures of Dion.

Love the cover of this book! Often, a title will appeal and then I will imagine my own first photo. But this one really draws you in and takes you down that lonesome highway. The blue tones are cold tones and the word, cold, brings to mind, cold as in dead, cold as in psychopathic, cold dread, cold shock, cold as in unemotional, overly focussed, cold as in left out of friendships or close relationships, the coldness of weapons, the cold of vast winter forests and snow. This design is by Laura Boyle and the cover image is by @Ollyy/

And here is Dion, city detective, recovering from a head injury, dreading snow and wilderness and on his first small town assignment, trying to track a killer but losing his way."He turned to head back to where he thought the distant main lights should be, thinking about wolves and now his own heart banged harder because he couldn't see his own tracks in this dim, wavering light beam."
Well, who hasn't been out there with flashlight batteries on low? Who, as an adult, gets lost? Rachel adds further suspense: "He'd heard the predatory noises, the secretive shifting, the low breathing, the salivating, the circling."

So many things conspire against Dion: Nature, small town politics, police politics, injury, guilt, faulty memory, panic, reputation (not too bright? inattentive? death of a work partner) and his own 'outside of the box' approach to finding answers. He is looking for consistent patterns, regularity, predictability and supports, like a quality watch, that will keep him on time and will always work. He is looking for an anchor, which turns out to be his own insight and persistence, even though even these fail him at times. His struggle is a compelling one; he is flawed but gets the job done. I want him to recover and develop connections but he may continue to keep searching, as do other well known and loved crime fighters. "And now he felt so tiny and alone, here in the vastness of the night."

There are other police, men and women, all realistic, large as life people that you want to see more of.
There is that constant tension created by different leadership styles, ambition, fear of failing oneself or 'the force', all going on while trying to solve at least three mysteries: the disappearance of two artists/musicians as well as the murders on the highway of tears. So many possibilities about who the guilty might be: cases are built and you think you know and then, others are presented. This is complexity and depth at its best. A visual tree of the characters might be helpful, although I think necessary only for a TV Series or movie, as a potential cast.

I read a review of COLD GIRL and it was also highly recommended by writer, Deryn Collier, so I decided to meet Rachel, when she attended a Noir Crime Writers' read and share meeting, in Vancouver. It was fabulous to be read to at The Shebeen, 210 Carrall Street, Gastown. We met in a hidden back room of this whiskey house. So just imagine, whiskey, great writers, no loud music or sports television, and the chance to talk with Rachel my high school students used to say, "You mean she is alive and not dead like so many we have to read!" They would be captivated by the author and her book, I am sure.

My Questions, Her Answers:

CT Any surprises in writing this book?
RC Yes, private life is now more public. Many chances to meet other writers and readers. I have done book launches and now look forward to sharing my writing. Other people do really want to know more.

CT How did your main character come to you? Especially Dion and David Leith?
RG They are based on people you might meet and imagine more, some you might see in the movies or maybe loosely from your other work. (She is a court reporter)

CT How did you choose writing or how did writing choose you?
RG I have always written, since I was little. She writes for work, as well. She started writing Crime, at age 30 so wanted young characters. She is at a certain stage in her writing as they are in their careers. She likes small towns and writes from her own experience with them.

CT What are major influences on you to move your writing forward?
RG Rachel says: "Writing from rejection can be compelling." So you get those letters but you keep going. Seems like they are almost a form of encouragement? Good feedback keeps her going. Louise Penny is an inspiration, too.

CT What are some of your favorite crime novels?
RG Allan Emerson: Death of a Bride and Groom, Louise Penny, Ruth Rendel, Gail Bowen, Deryn Collier, Holley Rubinsky - so many writers in her circle and out there.

Rachel is an avid listener and I think, a great analyst. Don't know how she manages to work at a very exacting job as well as writing such a fine read. She is passionate about her writing and credits everyone around her with being strong supports for her achievement. I look forward to more from Rachel Greenaway!

Photo by Dianna Drahanchuk

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Written by Dianna Drahanchuk

The last words in Alison Freer’s book are that “she doesn’t believe in any ‘rules’ for fashion and neither should you”. My thoughts exactly.

In this easy to read book, Alison starts by stressing the importance of fit to make your clothes look and feel amazing. Next she outlines ideas on how to create a signature style without paying attention to 10 fashion rules like “don’t wear white after labour day” and “don’t wear boots in summer” with solid reasons why the rules can be broken.

Image source

After 15 years of shopping every day to dress actors and other celebrities for the movies, stage, commercials and the red carpet, Alison knows how to be prepared for any clothing malfunction. She shares her toolkit and gives examples of how simple tools like a safety pin can be used to fix such problems as static cling (pin one on the bottom of the clothing item) and how to relieve scratchy seams with moleskin.

Since there are no rules, Alison claims that “dressing for success is dead”, but keeping your clothes in top condition is a must. To organize your wardrobe, she advocates hanging everything up, and includes illustrations on how to hang sweaters, so that pieces will be ready to go in a flash. Additionally, she observes that if you don’t hang it, you won’t see it and you won’t wear it.

I loved the first thing she notes in her chapter on underthings and that is to “throw your shapewear in the trash”. She suggests alternatives and goes on to discuss topics such as panty line and bra fit.

Alison prefers to machine or hand launder clothing, even most pieces labeled to dry clean only. She offers pointers on maintaining, cleaning and bringing footwear “back from the dead”. My favourite trick, that I will probably never use, is one for curing stinky leather that she learned while travelling with a rock band: spray the insides of the offending items with cheap vodka. A stain glossary with instructions on how to get rid of most stains is found at the back of the book.

Her advice for shopping vintage and thrift is to start by knowing your measurements and to go with a tape measure so you don’t have to try on so many pieces. There is a précis of 20th century century style to help identify the decade pieces originated from or were influenced by.

She devotes a chapter to menswear with pointers on how to measure for clothing, how to wear pants, shirts, ties and formal wear. Ironically, after claiming that there are no rules, she stipulates one rule for men on how to wear blazers (spoiler alert - never do up the bottom button).

This is an easy to follow “every person’s” guide to dressing comfortably and well. Brava Alison!

Image source

Photos and post by Dianna Drahanchuk

On Sunday April 24th Ivan Sayers set out to prove that Vancouver’s poor reputation for unfashionable dress was just plain wrong. All the clothing on the mannequins and live models were worn, and some also made, in Vancouver.

Ivan started by showing the once again sold out event 1880’s dresses with the “horse’s bum”, all the rage in Europe at that time. With good humour he explained how world events often helped shape the style of women’s clothing through the decades. The progression ranged from “S” to “X”, to straight up and down, to natural, with emphasis or deemphasis on different parts of the body, from a mature image before WWI because men in power were older, to after WWI to a more youthful look when soldiers became the focus. Throughout, Ivan’s wit captivated the audience, entertaining while educating. I am pleased to share the following images and notes. Check SMOC’s website and Facebook page.

Foreground 1886-88 dress rescued from the attic of a house slated for demolition, 
back emphasized with “S” shaped silhouette; background dress after 1893 
depression requiring styles more simplified and naturally shaped using less fabric. 

Hollow tree in Stanley Park, 1890’s “X” shaped silhouette, 
emphasis on sleeves (photo from World Archives)

Oldest known dress in collection with Vancouver label “Drysdale" 
dating from the early 1907-08 belonged to a newspaper reporter (left)

Illustration from 1902 Woodward’s mail order catalogue, pouter pigeon 
breast, corset shape, Art Nouveau influence wrapper housecoat (right)

Example of wrapper dress

Rana Vahabzadeh, event organizer, focuses on detail of a dress from the 1906’s - belonged to Vancouver family Spankie

After WWI the figure disappears, economics of the time dictated simplicity - a going away suit worn in 1921 with "Perfect Ladies Tailors" label (left)
1930’s Art Deco, dress styled simply to support artwork (right)

1940’s bias cut with waist as the focus with label Madame Rungè Vancouver (left)
1946 wedding outfit was short and simple due to fabric restrictions held over from WWII (right)

From 1948-54 the full skirt with cinched waist became the emphasis (left)
Early 1950’s cheongsam, style adapted from clothing worn by young Chinese scholars (right)

1958 circle skirt with stylized landscapes of Vancouver for the provincial centenary

Detail showing Hotel Vancouver and Stanley Park

1970’s saw a revival of the 30’s and 40’s style

This dress used to be worn in the 1980’s by “My Pet Juliette”, a well known Vancouver television singer 
© 2012. Design by Main-Blogger - Blogger Template and Blogging Stuff