Sunday, January 15, 2017

I don't get back to Vancouver often, but when I do, the first thing I do is visit My Sister's Closet! Many of my wardrobe staples come from this fabulous and community focused boutique and so I always jump at the chance to pick up some great pieces and support the community as well.  All proceeds help to fund violence prevention and intervention services which support over 10,000 women every year. 

My Sister's Closet is run by volunteers and they are always so helpful and welcoming. They were eager to have me try pieces on, and try pieces on I did! I left with some fabulous new booties, a beautiful skirt and brooch! Thanks to the fabulous Colleen for taking me on the one and only day I visited Vancouver! 

Outside the boutique!
This coat was also purchased by Colleen from My Sister's Closet last year

 With Colleen!

In my fabulous new skirt! So many choices!

With our purchases near Robson street!

Can't wait to wear my new items! 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ines Ortner gave an outstanding analysis of the Punk scene from 1976 - 1990 in Germany, but also here and elsewhere in the world. Her slide show, detailed her own rebellious expression as well as her friends, and their influencers, Punk Rockers, Sid Vicious, the Slits and other rebels like Madonna, in her crosses and cone bra. Ines also discussed the work of fashion designer Jean Paul Gautier. Punk trickled up to the fashion business through the likes of Gautier, Madonna and Nina Hagen. Locally, there is Bif Naked, singer, motivational speaker and always a fabulous dresser. Since Ines is also a musician, she was naturally into the scene, the louder, the better. Theatre and music continue to be her passions. A costume designer, she has both the experience the knowledge of where to source for the best prices and best of all, how to make it all happen.

She compared the 70's, 80's and 90's political times with today: unemployment, high drop out rates, atomic end storage, the spectre of war, computers and artificiality, the feeling of no future, and the need for protest and something new and different.

Ines made her own clothing from what she could find: bottle caps, pull tabs, and bits of metal became jewellery and accessories, zippers, buttons, all upcycled, recycled and repurposed. Knits, lace, crochet, could be made of anything. Lots of safety pins, rips, denim. and leather were all favorites for wild self expression: the punk voice. Loved the images of her past and her fashion collection display.
She finished with references to the 90's look of ragged beauty. Clothing as an expression of rebellion will always be fascinating. Ines' own collection is going to be on display in Hamburg (permanent collection of the Arts an Crafts Museum). We saw it here first, at SMOC! WOW!

In partnership with Ines' presentation, was Carolyn Bruce, a Steampunk Jewellery and Accessories (and much more) designer. Her display of her creations was magnificent; the skulls, spike heeled boots, armor, rings, leather bags, wine stoppers, all glitter and glam, complemented Ines' designs, perfectly. More about Carolyn Bruce here.

Ines Designs

Dianna Drahanchuk, President of SMOC introduces the two events: 
Ines Ortner and Carolyn Bruce

Ines Ortner, Costume Designer, Musician, Guest speaker: Punk

Ines Designs

Carolyn Bruce, Steampunk Jewellery/Accessories Designer

Carolyn Bruce, Steampunk Jewellery/Accessories Designer

 A Vivienne Westwood Tome, donated by My Sister's Closet

Ines Designs

We all stood to celebrate the outstanding achievements of this Blanche Macdonald Grad class! The title of their show, Neon Dreams, hinted at bright colors and wild imaginations and the collections were ample evidence of that. The iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver's grand staircase, provided an elegant entry to the elevated runway. This was a night for dreams realized. Here is the show on Instagram:

Blanche Macdonald Grad show models always have the best hair and make-up, likely because these programs are also offered at the school, and there is great collaboration between them. In addition, no show would ever go on unless it was red carpet ready.

Neon Dreams features design for the movies, for grand galas, for the seasons, for the star and for anyone who wants a chic wardrobe. Paris, New York, Vancouver, it is all there. Such construction and styling expertise. Lotto Max is coming up tonight and then, the collection is mine!

I am listing all of the Grads because their achievements are extraordinary. My favourite action/drama shots are here, but each outfit is commendable. Congrats: Spencer Criddle, Andromeda Nelson, Eden Chan, Haley Oh, Mandy Wu, Jantay Kahm, Julian Leclerc, Marcus Quan, Phebe Menard, Gala Peters, Victoria San Gabriel, Ashley Christian, Sheila Yang, Jordyn Heck, Lukas Daase, Isabelle Stewart, Kennedy Felt, Josephine Mante, Caitlyn Sio, Graham Hood, Natalia Pavanelli, Maryam Asgari, Ninon Parent, Iman Hassan, Kirsten Ley. Your names in our stores, please!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, November 8-11, this international conference brought universities from Canada, the USA and all over the world to a symposium: Blending Cultures. There were lectures, workshops, book displays, university program representatives, scholarships and awards, a silent auction of amazing textiles, crafts, clothing, and other treasures, open to bids not only from conference attendees but also members of the public who just happened to hear about this event or be at the hotel and notice the buzz of excitement. I bought a beautiful silk scarf, one of many being sold for $5 to raise money for scholarships. Professor Joan Ellis, Washington State U., who organized the conference, directed me to a huge room full of the most gorgeous creations: dresses, jackets, shoes, necklaces: a wonderland of color, design, fabric, sculptures. You can see the entire collection at 2016 International Textile and Apparel Association Conference. My favorites are below!

Textiles and design fascinate me so I got myself on the mailing list. Wherever the next one is, I want to be there. Travel with a purpose!

Joan Ellis (Washington State University) and I

This is a mix of digital textile prints and laser cut patterns, representing Tiffany stained glass and the light reflected from it. (You can see how I am attracted to color and print from what I am wearing)

Digital Printing and Laser Cutting to explore depths with a dress. A Garden gate was laser cut and placed on digitally printed floral petal prints.

If It Ain't Baroque, Don't Fix It by Rachel Anderson, Texas Tech. U. USA
Chinese adoption of French Baroque influence and France of Chinese influence on 18th C. Art
Old World Textiles become modern

Harmonious Co-Existence by Jinkyoung Lee, Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea
Hand knitting, leather, layered, represent the layering and harmonious sharing of roots in forests of trees, flowers, mushrooms.

IRIS, a 95 year old model, brand representative, interior designer and former textiles designer, star of her own movie, IRIS and much seen, stylishly over the top icon, flew from New York to Toronto to make a personal appearance at Holt's, there.

Will I wear those big, round black glasses, wildly beautiful mixes of pattern and color and tons of jewellery? Iris, in her interview with Jeanne Beker, The Globe and Mail, encourages us to find our own style, mix up what we already have collected and be comfortable in what we wear. Our style is enhanced by exploring that big world out there and by never giving up our curiosity. If I were in Toronto, I would wear  my Swarovski crystal belt with my orange kimono. Never thought of doing this, before. I would pile on the jewels, mostly costume, because they are fun. That's the main, thing, don't take it too seriously, enjoy and have fun. Iris lives what she says, for sure.

But here, we have our own chic looks from Jillian Harris, (Love It Or List It Vancouver) who always inspires us to look great, even in the rain. And, she dresses up everything around her, especially houses, that start off as wrecks but end up as your dream spaces. Tonight, she was hosting a wonderful event in support of the Children's Wish Foundation. Would love to see her style up all of those Vancouver store windows like those fabulous ones at Holt Renfrew!

My festive look: Red trench, colorful silk wrap from Cassie Dee, (Aniimiism) gold top, firefly and leaf necklace from Carolyn Bruce, leather pants and velvet booties from My Sister's Closet. Red cat sunglasses - yes, it was a sunny afternoon, in Vancouver.

Kudos Holt Renfrew for donating 10% of Nov. 9th sales to Children's Wish Foundation. And, it was great to be welcomed with snowy shortbread and hot chocolate. Sweet!

Very inspiring events for Help Change My City Alliance, a local non-profit supporting homeless at-risk youth, youth out of foster care and young carers (teen parents). I attended the Youth Engagement celebration from 1:00-3:00 and then the Gala, in the evening. Alpha Kirabira, Founder/CEO and Christine Michelle, President, hosted both events and both told their own stories of overcoming challenges, becoming successful and giving back to the community. "Life is all about lessons."
I was at the first LBD Gala, held at the Vancouver Art Gallery here in 2015. Now it has many more sponsors, participants and followers. It was totally sold out, this time, and the huge ballrooms at the Fairmont Vancouver, were alive and buzzing. Lovely, organized registration and friendly efficient and delicious catering by the hotel. Beautiful new space for this very worthwhile cause.

Lauren Preston of Twist Parties, costumed dance performers, lead by Alex Tokiwa, in a variety of balloons that caught the eye of all of the kids and those of us who are kids at heart. Atlicia Ohana, Miss Petite, B.C. and Miss Petite Canada spoke about the importance of knowing you are here for a reason and finding that is so important. She didn't realize her own strength when she had to become head of her family when her father became ill. She is sharing strength and skills with the many youth she meets through her extensive speaking engagements, across Canada and the world.
Skye Natasha Lintott and Sean Millington (Former B.C. Lion) spoke eloquently about following your dreams and knowing that you can achieve them, despite challenges you may face. You are here for a reason. Surround yourself with friends who believe in you and offer you positives rather than negatives. "Always take a shot." I was very inspired by Tanya Zambrano, a Templeton Teacher, who spoke about her Girls' Club at the school and how they do Give Days, there. One such day involved putting an inspiration message on every locker. They are also organizing a socks and blankets drive and will distribute these goody bags to those in need. These were just a few of the many speakers who work, on a daily, basis to support youth at risk. I loved that so kids showed their talents by dancing, speaking and singing. Those on the stage, managed to energize the whole audience into actively participating. The Band, Her Brothers, were absolutely terrific. "Change your thoughts, change your world", was a constant refrain. Great video emphasized, "you are beautiful". Loved how the band's sister, Tiana, was there and sang, too!

So, for the afternoon, there was all of this, plus dancers and a fashion show. Students I spoke with from Templeton and Magee, said they were glad they came and really enjoyed the experience. A lot of them are volunteering, too, and endorse the messages about positive friendships and giving back to their community.

The glamorous evening event was sold, sold, sold, out! Dancing and music were options before Alpha and Christine hosted the evening. There were dancers, acrobatics, operatics, and a fabulous fashion show. A beautifully decorated Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Pacific and B.C. Ballrooms, and friendly and efficient staff, set the tone for the best welcome to an evening of celebrating how Help Change My City, and all of its volunteers, are making big changes in their support of youth.

So much more at the Little Black Dress Gala, 2016. See you next year!

Photos by Colleen Tsoukalas

Christine and Alpha 

The band - Her Brothers

Dancers dressed by Lauren Preston of Twist Parties

Alicia O'hana - Miss Petite Canada 2016

 Dancers "if only" support mental health

My little Black Dress is from My Sister's Closet
Jacket from Joseph Ribkoff
Wall art by June Ba Designs

Me and Rich Abarquez  

Alisha Kalie - Miss Teen BC

Wedding designs by Vina Guingcangco

Following photos by Dianna Drahanchuk

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