Monday, May 22, 2017

This is my third blog about Art World Expo, founded and produced by Monika Blichar. This has always been a fantastic event that provides a platform for artists and a magnificent array of Art in all of its many forms, including Performance Art and Music. I attended my first one in 2013 here and in 2015, here

It is different each time, with different themes, performers and lots of new artists and designers. This year, the theme was the seven wonders of the world. Naturally I went as my own wonder: a wearer of local Artist/Designers, jacket/coat by Chloe Angus, local First Nation Designer, necklace by Carolyn Bruce and multicolored suede leather shoes by John Fluevog. Diskordance held a fantastic show at the central staircase at what we know as Science World. It seemed to me that everyone was wearing Carolyn Bruce Steampunk jewellery and accessories, even Carolyn. She says anyone with 'attitude' can wear her work, so that means all of us, right!

Rich Abarquez (Rich Connections) co-hosted and was wearing, what else?, an amazing bow tie by Carolyn Bruce. A great dancer, model, writer, teacher and emcee, I am sure Rich met every single attendee and introduced us all, too.

Masks by First Nation Artist, Randy Frank of Comox, called out for bids at the Silent Auction to raise money for the Make and Break Arts Foundation whose main goal is "Creating a foundation for arts to thrive in mainstream culture". You can find more information at here. The Silent Auction was a massive collection of Art, Jewellery, Vacations, Food and Beauty Baskets and more.

The midnight finale of the body painting contest is a great wrap up to a very colorful event for a great cause. Awards are given each year and rightly so! Painting on skin is much more difficult than on a flat surface and if not permanent, it is still a work of wearable art and a lasting memory.

Kudos to Monika Blichar and team for keeping ART at the front of the line. Look forward to Art World Expo in 2018.

Photos by Dianna and Colleen

Monika Blichar wearing Carolyn Bruce

All in Chloe Angus Designs

Marilyn R. Wilson and Dianna Drahanchuk
So many Vancouverites dress up for Monika's AWE (Art World Expo) and here is author and Vancouver Fashion Week Ambassador, Marilyn R. Wilson, "Cariboo" and Dianna D. who inspires me with her fashion bravado and always helps with photos. 

Carolyn Bruce and her designs!

Carolyn Bruce and Randi Winter

Rich Abarquez

Rich Abarquez wearing Carolyn Bruce

Rez Zed (Photographer of Zed Studio 7) and me wearing Carolyn Bruce

What a fabulous way to start a weekend and to salute Vancouver Design Week! Where else but in an alley, but one so bright with pink, yellow, white and green balloons, murals, messages from us - our thoughts about Design, written fast and taped right up, and my favorite, a whimsical hopscotch game printed on the laneway, perfect for trying out again. This was a vibrant crowd, enthusiastic and excited, despite the wind and rain. Dressed up, texting and taking photos and loving the Beer and Food Truck treats! Thanks, Vancouver Design Week, more please!

I loved the transformation of the alley at West Hastings and Granville. Such a view of iconic buildings and a look at vibrant blue sky, in contrast with the grey and white of new and old buildings and the pink balloons and painted roadway. To celebrate color and variety, I wore a jacket by local First Nation Designer, Chloe Angus, orange and blue shoes by John Fluevog and a necklace by Caroline Bruce. Local style, you know.

Dianna and I 

Fabulous treats from Roaming Dragon!
Photo by Dianna Drahanchuk

Photo by Dianna Drahanchuk

Thursday, May 11, 2017

On Sunday, May 7th, Victoria Clements, Dianna Drahanchuk and I went with Carolyn Bruce to meet models and get them ready to show off Carolyn's fabulous designs for The Little Black Dress Gala, May 26th at the majestic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Sarah, PR/Social Media, efficiently connected everyone. A dynamic team member, she calmed nerves and made everyone feel special. The thoughtfully organized day was led by Alpha B. Kirabira, Founder and Christine Michelle, Co-Producer, who made sure designers, models, media, and volunteers were supported, sustained (delicious refreshments) and assisted in all possible ways to prepare for the best fashion, art and performance, all for youth at risk. It seemed impossible that each outfit, tried on for the first time, fit and sparkled. The shoes matched the dresses, the zippers slid up smoothly, the fascinators captivated, the masks both hid and revealed, all magic by design. Watch for embellished jackets in all of the colors of Spring. The tallest heels, bejeweled booties, Roman and Greek sandals and soles, red, deepest black and silver and gold, leading the way.

The tools were all there: tape measures, scissors, pins, ... but glue, no, everything was so ready. Tears, screams, swearing, none to be heard. Crashes, bashes, cameras dropping, batteries dying, no, none of that, either. It was smooth, it was fast and it was the hardest work ever. But, everything and everyone is Gala ready. See you on the red carpet! Full list of designers available here.

PS. Can't give any secrets away before the 26th so here are a few glimpses of the fabrics and feathers.

Christine Michelle, Co-Producer and Alpha B. Kirabira, Founder

Kseniia Lieontieva
Model Coordinator and Fashion Show Producer

Alpha and Christine leading the day

Sarah, PR/Social Media, Little Black Dress also coordinated the fittings

Nicole Rose Designs

Dianna and I will be attending along with Carolyn and Victoria!

Carolyn and Victoria!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Last Sunday, April 30th, I went to hear Ivan Sayers talk about Lethal Fashion through history. He presented at Hycroft to a packed house. Be sure to purchase your tickets SMOC events, well in advance, online, and get there early to ensure the best seats. Ivan will be celebrating 150 years of fashion this July at Roedde House, in the West End, a not to be missed event in a fabulous location.
See more at (Go to Gallery and click on photos)

Ivan began his talk by referencing a Beaver Felt Hat (WW1) which was made with a process using mercury. While this process improved improved production time, it had negative effects for works and wearers. Other beaver hats were made of velvet or silk, so this one is rare.

Right in front of the hat were a selection of shoes, surely impediments to any kind of striding or running, keeping us literally on our toes and needing assistance to do anything. Some of these are from Claus Jahnke's collection and date from 1900-1910. There are black and golds, with 5" heels, a brown pair of Christian Dior, green snakeskin (oh poor snake), brown leathers from the 40's and a cherry pink pair from Viva, a famous British shoe designer. Eventually, one of the models walked in a pair of heel less heels, again, perilous even for a runway stroll, much less on cobblestones.

We saw 'indulgent fashion' from 1740's, the more room you took up, the more important you were. All designed to impress. Illusion of very small waistline through the use of huge paniers, some as wide as 6 feet across, and, many corsets, tight tucks and other methods of torture. In the 1750's, these dresses were cut down and restyled, not unlike today's upcycling, recycling, and repurposing. And the hair, I mean wigs. Made of sheep hair, they were powdered with grease and flour, which invited pests of all sorts. (ew) Because, they took so much time to style, wigs were worn overnight and you supported your huge creation by resting your neck on a wooden block. Funny, I seem to remember sleeping on soup can rollers. (My brother wore his hockey helmet to bed, to keep his hair flat) Continuing the trend of beauty by impairment.

Victorian fashion featured a round shouldered look with such tight sleeves that if you moved your arms away from your sides, the seams ripped. So standing impassively with hands held in place, was popular. Skirts were supported by as many as 14 petticoats. And the fabrics, well, poisonous dyes, lead and arsenic, were commonly used to make and shape clothing, all of which was extremely flammable. Open fireplaces and confined spaces, plus the inability to move easily or quickly, could all prove fatal.

Foundation garments, (girls in waist training early, some as young as a year and a half), long scarves, hat pins, huge hats (no peripheral vision) long, dresses, wide skirts, hobble skirts, and then there were the examples of bad taste: overly decorated and frivolous, making women look like dolls or children.
We sat, spellbound, but not immobile. Ivan Sayers invites you to get up, look and participate. We all get dressed up but no paniers, heel less shoes, or huge hats.

The fashion victim cycle continues: above is a 50's dress, a gorgeous shade of blue (dye content?) with that nipped in waist and voluminous skirt. The monkey fur is also dyed to match the dress, of course. In addition to being a reflection of art, history, politics, and culture, clothing is a necessity. The ECO Fashion movement is a step in a better, safer direction. Lethal Fashion was such a timely show, perfect for Fashion Revolution Week. See more at

There is always a treasure to be found at My Sister's Closet, Seymour and Helmcken, Vancouver. Every day, new finds go out into the Designer sections and there are lots of men who come in looking for suits, shirts, jackets and accessories. Kane Herald, renowned Zumba/Fitness Instructor, Brand Ambassador Green Embassy and more, dancer, community fundraiser, savvy dresser and shopper, found these gems and showed them off. A custom made, pleated tux shirt, an Abercrombie and Fitch,
a colorful cotton topped with a summer straw hat, a Untuckit Shirt, (a GC favorite online shirtmaker)
a cable knit from Holt Renfrew and leather boots and briefcase. A Prada suit was sold just before Kane dropped by. Oh well, there's always tomorrow. Wonderful shopping for a critical need: support for battered women and their families. Fantastic customers who share their commitment, purchases and friendship! So many bargains, two five dollar racks, carefully and curated collections for women and men, events and zillions of volunteer opportunities. Thanks again, Kane, for helping us highlight a few special bargains!

Image via My Sister's Closet

Image via My Sister's Closet
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