STYLED IN: New Boutique Openings in Vancouver

It’s no doubt that Vancouver is on the verge of a fashion revival thanks in part to a long list of new retailers popping up in the city. In the last year alone, US heavyweights like Victoria Secret, Tory Burch, LOFT, and Marshalls have opened Vancouver locations, allowing a more diverse offering for Vancouver shoppers. But if big store brands or retailers aren’t your cup of tea, here’s a list of new boutique openings that favour a more exclusive, one-of-a-kind experience:

1. Max Mara ‘s Bridal Boutique, the first in North America (3025 Granville Street)

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Inside Max Mara Vancouver’s bridal boutique. Photo by Viranlly Liemena.

 

Tucked away at the back of the new 3,850 square foot Max Mara Vancouver flagship location (previously the Windsor Gallery), the bridal boutique offers an intimate and personalized shopping experience that’s by appointment only. Up until now, brides looking for the iconic Italian brand’s wedding gowns had to fly to Europe, and even then, only to certain locations.

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Holding one of Max Mara’s bridal gowns in their new Vancouver bridal boutique. Photo by Viranlly Liemena.

 

Today, Max Mara’s Vancouver bridal boutique offers 14 Giambattista Valli-designed gowns to choose from through a prêt-à-porter concept, meaning that all size runs of the gowns are kept in stock at the store, with in-house dressmakers doing custom-fit alternations in as little as one day. This way, no Max Mara bride has to wait months for her gown to arrive before a fitting.

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Chic accessories at Max Mara’s Vancouver bridal boutique. Photo by Viranlly Liemena. 

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A beautifully displayed Giambattista Valli- designed bridal gown stands at Max Mara’s Vancouver bridal boutique. Photo by Viranlly Liemena.

 

When touring the shop with Catherine Guadagnuolo, president of Vestis Fashion Group, who introduced Max Mara to the Vancouver market 30 years ago, I was taken by the luxurious fabrics like silk tulle, and the classic simplicity that the gowns offered, proving that head-to-toe beading and sequins aren’t always required for a glamorous wedding day ensemble. Where Max Mara offered sparkle was in their delicate accessories, such as tiaras, headpieces and veils. But perhaps the biggest surprise of my tour was discovering the price points; all the gowns range from about $2,500 to $4,000, a welcome notion when buying probably the most expensive purchase in your closet.

2. Judith and Charles West Fourth Avenue (2207 West 4th Ave.)

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Judith and Charles West 4th. Photo by Hong Photography.

 

I’ve been a long-time fan of Judith and Charles, the Canadian womenswear brand that was founded in 2008 by duo, Judith Richardson and Charles Le Pierrès. What drew me to the brand and keeps me a fan today has always been their extremely well executed tailoring, and fresh approach to modern office attire. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Judith and Charles was opening a new location in my Kitsilano neighbourhood, their third in Vancouver, giving me a dangerous proximity to their gorgeous and timeless pieces like blazers, pencil skirts and day-to-night dresses.

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Inside Judith and Charles’ new West 4th location. Photo by Hong Photography.

Judith and Charles West 4th

Beautifully displayed separates and sweaters line the shelves of Judith and Charles’ new West 4th boutique. Photo by Hong Photography.

 

I recently visited Judith and Charles’ new West Fourth location during their launch party, and was greeted by a much larger store, set against a clean white backdrop, carrying the brand’s full collection, including some much-coveted accessories. Read my full Judith and Charles’ experience on Vancity Buzz, in the meantime, here are some highlights from the launch:

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My dear friend Kendra Hagerman of Curated Taste and I at Judith and Charles’ West 4th opening celebration. Photo by Hong Photography. 

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A favourite breezy summer dress from Judith and Charles’ Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Photo by Hong Photography. 

Judith and Charles West 4th

Celebrating Judith and Charles’ West 4th opening with stylish sisters Lien and Andrea Yeung from The Soulcialite and talented men’s stylist and photographer Viranlly Liemena. Photo by Hong Photography.

 

3. Obviously Chic Pop Up Shop, Open until April 7 (At The Chinatown Experiment, 434 Columbia Street)

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Inside Obviously Chic’s Vancouver Pop Up at The Chinatown Experiment.

 

An explosion of sparkle and girly gorgeousness has made its way into Vancouver’s Chinatown by way of online retailer Obviously Chic. Located at rotating shop space The Chinatown Experiment, Obviously Chic’s first Vancouver popup offers much of what shoppers have come to expect from its fun e-commerce site: shabby chic décor, statement necklaces, flirty tutus, and feminine pieces that beg for a night on the town with your closest girlfriends.

Obviously Chic Pop Up Shop

Lovely ladies modelling Obviously Chic’s girly and fun merchandise. 

Obviously Chic Pop Up Shop

Tutus, graphic tees and statement necklaces make up Obviously Chic’s must-visit Pop Up in Chinatown.

 

Owner and founder Jessica Cote began doing popups for her online store five years ago in her native Saskatchewan, and has still stuck to her original mandate of providing must-have pieces that are affordable…like seriously affordable, most items are under $100. But hurry, the Obviously Chic Vancouver pop up is only open until Monday, April 7 before taking its gems to the next lucky town.

Consider yourself, styled-in!

Celebrating Spring Trends with a Look Back at Sunday Occasion

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Today is the first official day of spring, and for my fellow Iranians around the world, the spring equinox also marks the beginning of a new year, known as Nowruz. I love this time of the year, it’s not only a happy celebration full of yummy food and warm visits from family and friends, but it also means for a renewal and a refresh of our homes and closets, something I always look forward to.

My love for the spring season was fully realized when I was asked by Pacific Centre to host and style Sunday Occasion, their charity spring fashion runway show, just held last week. It was such an honour being involved with this event; in addition to having the chance to inspire attendees on incorporating the hottest spring trends using mall retailers, 100% of proceeds went to an incredibly vital organization in our community, Coast Mental Health. I am happy to say that the event was a complete sell out, with 150 fashion-loving guests being treated to an afternoon of delicious food, cocktails and three runway shows from Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen and finally, Pacific Centre retailers (styled by me)!

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Coast Mental Health Foundation’s Board of Governors Chair, Shirley Broadfoot, addresses the crowd.

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To celebrate the arrival of spring, here is a breakdown of some of my favourite looks from my runway presentation, along with which Pacific Centre retailers I used to create them. My inspiration was simple: I wanted to show men and women simple ways to recreate the hottest spring trends from international runways (Paris, Milan and New York), while using a variety of accessible price points.

Look #1: A Men’s Dressy Look

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This look was inspired by mid-century modern styles we saw in men’s runway shows, think 1950’s, 3-piece suits with fluid lines and softer fabrics. We saw that in the men’s Armani runway show and now we see it in a 3-piece khaki suit from Le Chateau. I paired it with a navy polka dot dress shirt from Banana Republic, a brown leather belt from Coach, Ted Baker brown leather loafers from Town Shoes, Tom Ford wafer-style sunglasses from Eyes Inspire, finished off with a fun men’s umbrella from Coach, to be prepared for when the Spring showers hit.

Look #2: A Women’s Dressy Look, Perfect for the Office

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This look was inspired by floral and neon trends we saw from Oscar de la Renta and Michael Kors. Don’t be afraid of incorporating neon hues for the office, in a sea of black and grey, adding pops of colour in your work attire is a great way to freshen it up and make it fashion-forward. Here I have put the model in a hot pink and black floral blouse from Banana Republic, a hot pink blazer from Ever New, pencil leg dress pants from Judith and Charles, a black leather handbag and gold pointy-toe pumps from Miss Sixty, finished off with a classic pair of Dolce and Gabbana cat-eye sunglasses from Eyes Inspire.

Look #3: A Casual Men’s Look, the “Jet-Setter”

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After a long workweek, it’s time to have fun on the weekend. Casual wear is a perfect chance to experiment and play with fashion. This casual look was inspired by the floral prints we saw (even for the men!) in menswear shows like Prada and Dries van Noten. Gentlemen, if floral is a bit intimidating for you, do it in more subdued tones like Navy and blue (another big trend), seen in this shirt from Le Chateau. It’s put together with pink khakis pants and matching canvas and leather belt from the Gap (pastel hues are also another major Spring trend, more on that in another look), a denim jacket from Mexx, brown leather loafers (no socks!) from Geox, a brown leather duffle bag from Coach (perfect for any spring getaway, and then finished off with Gucci aviator sunglasses from Eyes Inspire.

Look #4: A Casual Women’s Look, “Weekend Sparkle”

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For this look, I was inspired by the embellishment trend we saw on runway shows like Marni and Balanciaga. Casual pieces that are transformed with sequins, studs and crystals, either all over or on select places like collars and cuffs. To showcase this I put our model in an embellished denim shirt from Ever New, which can be dressed up or down. I paired the denim shirt with Kelly green trousers and a hot pink thin belt from Banana Republic and finished with Kate Spade + Keds sneakers from Town Shoes that had a fun polka dot pattern and hints of hot pink.

Look #5: A Casual Men’s Look that Screams the Navy Colour Trend

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Stars like Kevin Spacey opted for navy suits rather than the traditional black at this year’s Oscars red carpet, and here I’m showing you different ways to wear navy in a more casual look, starting with a lightweight linen navy shirt from Banana Republic. It’s paired with striped navy and cream Bermuda shorts and a cream belt from RW&Co., a red and navy nylon bomber jacket (a bomber jacket is the perfect spring alternative for layering), Ted Baker brown leather loafers with contrast laces from Town Shoes, and finished off with Prada sunglasses from Eyes Inspire.

Look #6: A Casual Women’s Look, “Perfect Pastels”

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As mentioned before, spring 2014 runways screamed pastel hues, from accessories to evening wear to coats. This pastel look, also has another major trend I saw on the spring 2014 runways: leather biker jackets in pretty much any pastel colour, not in traditional black! Versace gave us pink pastel biker jackets for women and here I’m giving you one from Club Monaco. The rest of the look played on other trends as well, floral shorts from Ever New, a cotton white tee from RW&Co., white leather wedge sandals from Le Chateau and an Inzi black and white striped faux leather clutch from Town Shoes, demonstrating how easy it is to mix print on print!

Look #7: A Casual Women’s Look, the On-the-Go “Sports Lux”

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In Vancouver we love to be active and comfortable, be it walking on the seawall or running around doing weekend errands. But that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice style for comfort or functionality. This is what I am calling my sports lux look, inspired by the rise of chic sporty elements in high fashion. It all starts with this comfortable stretchy zip black and white graphic patterned dress from Club Monaco. I put it under this fabulous, water resistant black polyurethane trench coat from Banana Republic, a neon green baseball cap from J.Crew and neon pink and green New Balance sneakers from Town Shoes. Being sporty never looked so good!

I hope you can take some of these trends and incorporate them into your spring wardrobe. A big thank you to Pacific Centre for their amazing partnership, and to Holt Renfrew Vancouver for dressing me for Sunday Occasion in a Peter Pilotto dress and Jimmy Choo nude heels.

Happy Spring everybody!