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!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Writing and photos by Colleen Tsoukalas

I want to begin the description of the Youth Engagement Gala, with photos of the kids because this is truly for them and about them. I met students from Templeton, Kitsilano and Magee, although there were many other schools, elementary and secondary, in Metro Vancouver, represented. Four Magee student photographers helped capture the runway looks and much more, throughout the morning. When Alpha asked for volunteers to share their public speaking skills, they did, coming up with on the spot jokes suitable for all ages. A 17 year old, Sahara, emceed the event, with Alpha and Christine. Sahara spoke about going from the protected world of home schooling to a big high school for grade 8. She felt so alone but getting involved at school, helped her to find her community. A talented vocalist and song writer, Naomi, performed at the Youth Gala as well as at the Women's Lunch. Three students, Nadia, from Burnaby Mountain Secondary, and Cindy and Mateya from Templeton Secondary, Vancouver, were awarded scholarships of $500 each to further their studies and spoke eloquently about their goals. The band, Her Brothers, are a dynamic young band of men who think a lot about their sister and send the heartfelt message that  all women should be treated with just that kind of love and respect. Karen Kobel, from Kahlena Movement Sutdio, danced a powerful solo. The Marlowe Winsor Dance Company danced on stage and down the runway. How often does a dancer look down and smile at the audience? In this case, often. The fashion show (co that followed, was a great display of where interest and training in design, performance and music might take you. This is a platform for emerging designers and established designers to show their work, free of charge. Imagine! The Designers are: Bikini Empire, Ghren, Couture Therapy, Connally McDougall, Kslam Clothing, Giovanna Ricci, Pillar Heights, Kim Legler, Julie Blaney, Miechie, Garth Asham, Yiling, Shyan Couture, AK Home and Kalau Interiors Fabric Partnership, House of Bahareh, Carolyn Bruce, Susan Harley, Chalett,  and Dasha Volokhova.

Alpha B. Kirabira, Founder/CEO/Producer of Help Change My City Alliance, and Christine Michelle, Assistant Producer/President spend a great deal of their time meeting with youth in lower mainland schools, and many other places, as they say, "wherever they are in the community". They provide mentorship and support to help young people to realize their value as positive contributors to and shapers of a flourishing, vibrant world. How this event and its impact have grown since it began in 2015 here.

The Gala events now take an entire day and evening. In the morning, is the Youth Engagement Gala, at noon, The Women's Luncheon and at night, The Little Black Dress Gala, unfolds with A VIP Dinner, Silent Auction, Photo Ops, and finally the music and dance performances and the fashion show. And, the fashion show happens, a magnificent display of creativity and craftsmanship, at all three events.

The Hotel Fairmont Vancouver was all ready for so many Little Black Dress volunteers, students, parents, teachers, photographers, performers, and all of the equipment and questions that accompanied them. Such enthusiastic greetings and helpful directions! So early in the morning, there was Marketa Newbery, Marketing and Sales, Little Black Dress Gala, already in her pearls, dressed up and setting the stage for a grand celebration of youth, so deserving of all the support we can give.
We want them to share Christine's journey: "You grown into places, you never thought you'd be." We want them to know that they also have a very important place to be, next Spring! We look forward to seeing them shine and being part of the next Little Black Dress Gala. We know that they will be part of the movement Help Change My City.

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