Wednesday, April 15, 2015

This four year program sent 39 grads of the Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design, across the stage and along the runway. I had met many of the students previously at the open house and was excited to see their Lines, featuring 3 staple pieces. Kwantlen's shows are always professional, perfectly timed, welcoming us with a smooth, friendly reception, great energy and music and innovative, well designed fashions. Student portfolios are 'library books' with concepts, fabrics, inspirations, resumes and more. I noticed that Eugenie Lin's resume included her fluency in 4 languages, wonderful and very necessary skills in today's world.

Presentation is everything and the program booklet is that, indeed. Photos feature piece of each collection and the designer, as well as a bio and line description are helpful references and memorable souvenirs.  One photo of the grad class is a great finale. Very much enjoyed meeting the designers, before the show, and having a chance to find out more about them.

The Designers and the Photos: A Small Sample of a World of Talent

Alice Lam's Fall Line, Minus, features classics 
that co-ordinate well, so that the collection is less about quantity and 
more about quality.  Black and white are the new colors for Fall.

Dishna Chan's a e s t h e t e, is a business casual line combining Chinese and modern features. Love the collars and print blouse.

Charity Hu's Deep collection is a maternity line that features drapes (like waves) and varied hems.  These are flattering looks for all sizes, no horrible bows or animal prints, thankfully.

Jessica Lee designed Pebbles and Puddles, a collection of colorful, waterproof coats, this time for little girls.  These are for active kids and are so practical for this climate.

Denise Mok has designed the most colorful, eye-catching sportswear (IONA) for sailors, but I would wear it anywhere. 

Grace Han's collection is for the tall business woman, but I could see myself wearing those sleek, designs. 

James Knipe - Habits of Youth showcases graphic sweatshirts and such an eye-catching line of apparel for men.  It is young and modern and I can see it flying off the shelves.

While the focus is on the clothing, the expert construction, detailing, colors and fabrics, I would like to have seen more accessories and props throughout the entire show.  Loved the bicycle that was shown and the whimsical notes like the flowers held by some of the children.
Part two of the fabulous Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen.

Capri Philip has designed travel wear designed to be worn in a variety of 
ways and always classic and chic looking.  Capes are so convenient 
but they need perfect construction to fit well and move easily 
with the body.  Hers fit the bill.

Fiona Pang's line, Barefoot Lily is for children 4-8 and features organic cottons and natural dyes for sensitive skin.  (adults need this too!) Colorful and designed for utility, this children's line is another one designed for active kids.

Tyler Froese, Bridge Fine Goods, is local and designs and manufactures his work, here.  He is an industrial designer (featured at Design Night -Museum of Vancouver) and his men's line is designed to fit well (so important) and be that classic that is 'in' forever.

Eugenie Lin has a great memory for names and faces and can be found at fashion events around Metro Vancouver, always looking and learning!  ADIRA STATE is a line of professional wear for "late career" women.  Easy yet sophisticated suits and accessory pieces make this a range of well designed classics.

Blair Macdonald and her work just sparkle!  I can see her designing costumes for stage and movies or creating specific looks for fashion events, nights on the town or anything you can imagine.  Loved the hair and jewelry accessories, Blair!  The whole look is unique and timeless and is designed to be passed on down the family.  Kudos!

Karley Scovell - ooh la la lingerie!  FOX DU NUIT is inspired by Egypt, the past, luxury and couture.  Gold and crystals brought real dazzle to the runway.  It seemed that hundreds of cameras flashed for this one. Again, accessories added to the glam!

The 39 designers, together set the stage for the Graduating Class of 2015!  Wonderful to hear your thank you's to staff, mentors, families, and each other.  Inspirational!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

DOXA - Documentary Film Festival, April 30-May 10th gave us a fabulous opening celebration and introduction to some of the film makers and upcoming films, Thursday night. (April 9th)  Held at the offices of Hootsuite on 8th, the event was catered by Truffles and featured all kinds of your favorite appies, plus exotic fruit and vegies, centred like colorful foody sculptures on all of the tables. DOXA is moving to its new office at 750 Hamilton soon, but this was a fabulously friendly, gorgeous venue to kick off what promises to be an vast array of choices for everyone.

The festival is now longer, 11 days, and is held at different sites: Vancity Theatre, Cinematheque, Playhouse, SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Artstand The Post at 750 Hamilton Street (@Robson St).

We met Kenji Maeda, Executive Director and Director of Programming, Dorothy Woodend.  This is the year of the subversive in DOXA films.  And, as always, there are films where age, ethnicity, language, culture, city, country and world play starring roles.  There are films by first timers and films by seasoned pro's. Thierry Garrel, curator of FRENCH, FRENCH, spoke about the new French documentaries and showed clips from Spartacus and Cassandra by Ioanis Nuget, France, 2014.

It was nice to see Marnie Wilson/The Artsbiz Public Relations/ acknowledged for her ll years as DOXA'S Media Relations go to expert. DOXA wouldn't work without its huge, hard working team and we certainly saw that example of 'engagement' last night.

We began with brief but powerful clips from "How To Change The World" (Formation of Greenpeace) by Jerry Rothwell, Canada/UK, 2015 and ended with IRIS, by Albert Maysles, USA, 2014 as well as others. So engaging people and engaging films; last night was about getting ready for the best documentaries ever, meeting the people who bring these worlds to us, and journeying with them. "The eye has to travel", according to Diana Vreeland and I am definitely buying tickets for the DOXA experience.  For more information go to

Thanks all!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Former CEO of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy USA, Chairman and CEO Donna Karan International, this is a vivid account of a successful business journey, and one that is a down to earth manual of best strategies for achieving one's vision. This is one man's way to the top so not everyone will have his energy nor his opportunities, however, his advice and experience do offer a clear path for those who have chosen the tough business of fashion and/or other entrepreneurial pursuits.

Image via NY Post

Six key points are: Begin a Future, Select a Career Path, Prepare for Interviews, Stand Out From Your Co-Workers, Find Ways to Make An Impression on Management and Determine Your Best Skills and Follow the Course. Sound easy? No, it is work but in Weber's world, it is work that starts at the clerk level and expands through to CEO. All work experience should be regarded as steps to doing the work you really want to do.  Selecting a Career Path should be a goal, no matter where you are in the journey.  Interviews, when you get them are always chances: consider them part of your work as you need to note how what you have done will all be part of yours and your companies next steps.  Check with your references, keep them up to date and don't forget to thank people. Always have a great question that shows you've done your research and are thinking about new directions, product development, something new and creative for your interviewing team.  What can you bring that is different and special?  How can you learn from, share with, collaborate and eventually lead a management team?  What do you know you are best at, and what evidence supports this?  How can you put your talents into best practise ? Weber shows how he did it and gives concise, practical advice from one who is at the top of his game. This is a fast read, in three dramatic, yet realistic acts, and each chapter's highlights are summarized and boxed for a quick skim, first.  Warning: a skim will compel you to read further.  Success is always in fashion!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Published by Influence Publishing, in 2015, this is a fascinating look into the "extraordinary journeys" of ten multi talented entrepreneurs who have developed and kept their own businesses, have overcome significant challenges and who inspire others with their fine examples of persistence, vision, creativity, spirit of adventure and yes, by stepping out of the box.

Marilyn is a story in herself: her clothing and accessories make the eye travel and draw you to her.  Where did she find these treasures?  But she wants to know all about you and hear what you've been up to. She is a wonderful listener who always connects you up with others who not only share your interests but offer more directions, as well. I had to get her book because she is the never ending story and I knew her writing would be the same. Would love to have had a window into how she met each of her interviewees, however, having seen her in action, I know that people are drawn to her; she brings the story out of each one, in "Life Outside The Box"!

Marilyn's admiration and appreciation for what people bring to her and the world, is particularly evident in her writing about Julie Salisbury, the founder of Influence Publishing. Julie learned how to publish her own work and then taught others how to work collaboratively, both in terms of vision and economics, that culminates in books. Yes, and it can happen here, locally. 
Challenges faced by Julie, included coping with Scoliosis, surgeries, casts and life long pain, as well as those that arose from being from a 'public' school instead of a more prestigious private one and being a woman in a man's world of business and industry. She was passionate about heading in her own direction and excelled at Marketing and Product Development.  Overcoming challenges, hard work, drive and talent plus acting on "... that "defining moment"took Julie in another direction. What did she really want to do with the rest of her life?

Stepping out of the business box, she pursued travel through sailing and surviving on the sea and in South Africa. A true collaborator ad entrepreneur, she marketed for supplies by sourcing via radio and developed her own unique products: ginger beer and rice wine. In Thailand, she and her partner turned their boat into a charter experience, often for first timers. As she was so open to new experiences, she passed this spirit of adventure on to her passengers  Finally arriving in Canada, she published her travel journals into a book: A Seven Year Journey Around The World: Discovering My Passion and Purpose", 2008. She developed her own workshops: Inspire A Book, once again sharing her expertise. A successful publisher, she has not had an easy journey. She does have what it takes to keep that journey full of successes and creative opportunities. After reading about her, I now know that I would love to attend a workshop and drag a few friends, who write very well, into the possibility of publishing. 

There are nine more fascinating 'documentary' stories: Women's shoe designer, Ruthie Davies, Katherine Soucie, Eco-Sustainable Fashion and Textiles designer, ("I believe the hand has the ability to perform, not the machine.") Geir Ness, Perfume Creator (Laila Brand) and developer of Handling with Care, a therapeutic touch program to assist with recovery and healing, Patricia Fieldwalker, Vancouver based, designer of fabulous, (and unique) silk lingerie, (" It's not a career, it's a love affair.") Pamela Masik, life size canvas painter, sculptor, and educator, especially known for her 69 paintings of The Forgotten, realistic portraits of murdered and 'disappeared' women from the downtown eastside of Vancouver, as well as for her workshops, "The Creative Journey" to assist women living in poverty to develop and market their artistic abilities, Shane Koyczan, Spoken Word  Slam Poet, Novelist: "Stick Boy" and so much more, William Orlowski, Canadian Tap Icon and founder of the National Tap Dance Company of Canada, (Yes, we do have famous hoofers, too )an award winner, who is also a writer, choreographer and teacher, all this while suffering from Dystonia, Lisa-Marie Mazzucco,,make-up artist, multi media artist and photographer, who, with her husband, designed limited edition artwork boxes for LancĂ´me Canada's Olympic Gold Fascination Campaign for the 2010 Olympics, here in Vancouver, and Caroline MacGillivray, multi-talented singer, dancer, actor, Medical Qigong practitioner and founder of Beauty Night, which offers workshops in wellness and life skills for those living in the downtown east side.  Beauty Nights are opportunities to find safety, acceptance, self appreciation and support to develop and share talent.

"Life Outside the Box", is indeed about real people and their real, extraordinary lives.  I highly recommend it as a fine read about achievers who are very willing to share their strategies.  Marilyn vividly describes the inspiration she finds locally and world wide.  She sees it, shares it and draws us in around the fire.  Documentary story telling at its best!  Learn more about Marilyn R. Wilson at and buy a really, really good read!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A month long pop-up collection of popular works by Andy Warhol, showed up in a new gallery space on Homer Street.  Love surprises like this; the more art around us, the better!  Elvis, Annie Oakley, Judy Garland, Truman Capote, Ingrid Bergman, all brought back memories of great movies and great reads.  As well, familiar objects like soup cans became vivid advertising and fish became posters and prints.  And then, at the end or at the beginning, depending on how you choose to see a show, there was Andy, a self portrait of the artist, iconic, dramatic and focused.  A beautifully curated exhibit.  Thanks and looking forward to the next one.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Have posted this moving Art-Fashion extravaganza many times (previous posts here and here) and was treated for my birthday (thanks Connie) to the February 21st opening evening.  This is a two night event with awards following. Award categories include: Best in the Show, People's Choice Award and Student Award.  (Open to anyone enrolled in school, university or college and under 30.) Note that the spectacular collection is on at Port Moody Arts Centre February 26-April2, 2015 and is definitely one to see!
This year, there were 54 entries, local and international.  They reflect geography, history, art, literature, politics, the culture and trends of our times.  The Artists are transformers, technicians, masters of construction, materials experts, magicians, seers, scholars and enchanters.  Their invitation is to take a piece of the world, interpret it in unique ways, think about it, respond to it and above all, be surprised, and be your own artist.

The following are a small sample of the extraordinary red carpet appearances in the great hall of the Port Moody Arts Centre.

1) It's Cadeques...if you catch my drift by Sue Sacchero, 
Safety Bay, Australia
The multi layers of surreal beauty, emotions, c
olors, water viewed from a boat.

2) Patience by Farnaz Ohadi, Headdress, Vancouver, B.C.
One of a collection of headdresses: "Goddess Rising, she leads the way."

3) Lust by Farnaz Ohadi, Headdress, Vancouver, B.C.
Another of the 6 headdresses created and named for
one aspect of feminine/masculine life force.

4) 21 Century Snake Priestess by Annamarta Dosourian, Berkely, CA
Snake Priestess like those of Minoan Crete, 1600 BCE.  
"Yogic awakening and spiritual maturation".

5) METAWARRIOR by Luke Detheridge, Vancouver, B.C.
Warrior being or goddess protector of human consciousness.  
"...demons of consumerism, commodity and comfort."  
Found and recycled products of industry.

6) Awakening by Svetlana Bardos; Vladimir Bezruc, 
North Vancouver, B.C.
Metal dress - beauty can be anywhere and unexpected can happen.

7) Chair Suit by Randi Aiken, London, Ontario.
This costume occupies the space between sculpture and performance, the 
unmonumental and the absurd, the functional and non-functional, the 
introvert and the extrovert.  I like that the sculpture becomes a chair
and all chairs, to me, tell a story.  There's the one on display in a museum, 
the one abandoned outside a thrift store, a favorite in your house, etc.

8)  Lucinda Kartography by Lorraine Kwan, Vancouver, B.C.
Used treasures that represent characters in the science fiction novels 
she writes. Fictional lands or wear the stories you love.

9) Women's Wear Daily 11 by Catherine Black, Washington, USA.
 Inspired by the Women's Wear Daily, the writing becomes the "fashion fabric".  
6 panel corset and boned foundation, mermaid skirt pleating, 
3 dimensional, headlines, headlines, headlines!

10) Common Experiences by Kathryn Blair, Calgary, Alberta.
A wearable technology piece that responds to the brain waves of the wearer.  
Lights on the dress change from cooler to warmer colors.  
How visible emotions affect interaction.  Even if you 
can keep a straight face, 
this might give you away.

*Note that many of the descriptions are taken from the Event Program, a book in itself.  Gorgeous photographs and thorough detailing of each work and its components.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

At Closet Crows Consignment Pop Up at 140 W. Hastings, I shopped not only from Rebecca Sherlock's designer clothing trove (Von Furstenberg) and shoes ( Fluevog) and much more, but also from the fabulous selection from Helen Siwak of Kitsilano Kitty's Closet, as well as three colorful racks of fun and fancy from the exacting eye of Myriam Laroche of Eco FashionWeek.  The setting was a large loft like space with brick walls - casual Gastown Chic, a wide open room, perfect for three unique presentations of "beautiful clothes that should be loved again". This pop up will be open until February 28th so you should get there as fast as you can.

Great collaboration and Pop Up, All!  Refreshment Partners: Cono Sur Vineyards and Winery, Scandal Brewery and appies from vitvitvegan!


Patterns and styles I was drawn to especially, were from Myriam

Loved the beach stripes and white shorts

Look at this whimsical design on a spring/summer pleated skirt

 Myriam and Rebecca!  The business of style!

There was lots of extra help and even some modelling and 
on trend discussion from Helen's intern, Aila and friend, Brittany

Great finds!

Monday, February 16, 2015

I love the ROM for its high ceilings and winding staircases and location in downtown Toronto. I love being dragged by Gordo the Barosaurus into the drama and scope of the past. I expect the giant skeleton to roar and crack those shiny wood floors with its heavy armored feet. As Sheree Fitch says about Gordo,"I was a paleontologist's puzzle, extinct, therefore I was--now I stand before you, Why? because, because..."  Photographed in all his glory by Jessica Toczko. Welcomed by volunteers who can answer almost anything, I take their maps and enter into world history for the day.  This is a feast for the eyes, a party with the exhibits, filled with people and now celebrating its first 100 years with a fabulous yellow (think gold) covered book: "Every Object Has A Story: Extraordinary Canadians Celebrate The Royal Ontario Museum".

Published in 2014, this is a partnership between the ROM and the Walrus Foundation and is a collection of 21 artifacts and the responses of Canadian writers, film makers, illustrators, scientists, photographers and curators.  When else have you had the chance to hear from curators and from Janet Carding, director and CEO of the ROM?  She, as well as all of the other contributors, encourages our interpretations and responses:  "Every individual who encounters an object brings something to it..."  It is all part of the ongoing, action filled story of the ROM.

In keeping with my passion for drama, costume and clothing, I am sharing my responses to two artifacts: an IKEM Headdress and a Sixth-Century Tunic.  I love the Headdress because both the hair and the head and face are regal, in fact, heart stopping.  The sculptured curls, piled high, remind me of my own teen ' up dos' controlled with cans of hair spray and calling out, "Take this oh mediocre adult world".  The real story is by Silvia Forni, Curator of Anthropology, who tells us that this headdress is also of a young woman, likely a teenager, who is being presented as marriageable to her community.  Hair and style, in all cultures, throughout history, always a rite and a door to somewhere. The Ikem Headdress, made of wood, antelope skin, bone and metal, could be worn by men or women for dance performances. With fabulous photography by Beau Gomez and poetry by Uzoma Esonwanne, further responses: "...her elongated neck soars--soars into her head palm crest, exfoliates two whorls of thick. black braids backing each other, ride the wind over her head..."  Once again, what we wore to dances and how we danced, always important rituals. Love the challenge of learning about the past, finding links from our own experiences and then taking it further in the best way we can.

 The Sixth-Century Tunic is presented by Anu Liivandi, Assistant Curator of Fashion and Textiles, of course, one of my favorite sections at the ROM.  This tunic, is woven, worn long or easily adjusted  to shorter and in my favorite colors, deep purple (royalty) and orange and yellow.  It truly reflects fashion of the day: Dionysian dancers, women in animal skins and scarves, and other necessaries for celebration - including musical instruments.  I like how Aritha Van Herk and photographer, Haley Wessel-Friesen, not only describe the tunic in minute detail but then pose the question: "Why was the tunic first worn?  For a celebration of the equinox?  For a name day? Or Simply because it was a new day and a new garment fit?"  Makes us think about what our own 'tunics', especially, those landscape prints, everywhere, today, say about our culture and times.

In its glory, the ROM and its celebration: EVERY OBJECT HAS A STORY: Extraordinary Canadians Celebrate The Royal Ontario Museum.

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