You & Her Lingerie Runway Show & Launch Party

Feb, 12th, 2014

  The quote to the left says it all…
  Can you imagine dropping out of grade school every month for a week?
  That’s exactly what happens to young girls that don’t have sanitary products. The fear of having an accident
  in public is enough to keep them at home. Over time they fall farther and farther behind and eventually drop out
  of school, leaving marriage and childbearing as very real alternatives. That’s where You & Her lingerie helps.
  When you purchase their lingerie, “you
  enable a You & Her funded sewing center in Zambia to produce her
  underwear, and distribute in tandem with extra supplies these young girls need as they fight to stay in school
  past puberty.”
On the night of the runway show… I walked past a non-descript building on Powell St. I checked the address and doubled back to ring the buzzer. Once inside I was amazed by the ultra modern metal & wood interior. It was a recording studio hidden amidst an unsettled Gastown neighborhood.
I’m glad I arrived early to assemble my gear because all of the guests arrived promptly at the 7:30pm start time! Marie of M&M Indulgences (and her two assistants) laid out several plates of appetizers. Guests mixed, mingled and sipped wine while they looked at You & Her lingerie on the display rack.
The runway show featured barefoot models of all shapes and sizes smiling and connecting with the audience.   The show ended a few minutes later. It was followed by an auction which raised money for their charity program. After the auction I spoke with Laura, Co-Founder & Designer. I asked if she had a traditional brick & mortar store. Not at the moment. Their lingerie can be purchased on their website. However if you want to touch each piece, their lingerie can be found in Yaletown’s Woo to See You boutique.
As for the lingerie, I really liked their “Bandeau” top.   There was something sexy about how it stayed in place. I also liked their “Thong” bottoms. Normally thong is synonymous with dental floss. However their version had a bit more coverage on the back side.
A few days after the show I followed up with Christina and she wrote, “Our bandeau is best suited to fit a woman with cup size C and smaller. We are coming out with a better supported bandeau in the near future, which will suit a fuller range of cup sizes.”
I also learned their lingerie is hand sewn locally by Laura  and an assistant seamstress. Their fabric is also purchased locally from Telio in Gastown.
Click You & Her to visit their website.

You & Her Founders: Christina & Laura
Sergio, Villages of Hope helped Christina start You & Her
Kate & Jenn having fun raising funds during the charity auction
This pure silk chiffon robe raised $230!
This black/plum nylon mesh robe raised $200 as well.
Breanna is an Image Consultant, Stylist & Personal Shopper
Peter looking stylish
Kate, Madeleine, Lunapads Founder, Laura and Christina
Laura & Shawna
Husband and wife Moses & Kate
Kim (l), Christine (c) and Erin (r)
Mahkeela You & Her Events and Administration Coordinator
Erin, Independent Stella & Dot Lead Stylist
Tanja modeled in the runway show
Marie, M&M Indulgences made the appetizers
I love Erin’s pointy toe, ankle strap 9 West heels
Here’s another shot
Rebekah, Mae and Bethany


Erin (r) is a Stylist and she picked Kim’s (l) outfit
She also picked Christina’s outfit. Click Style Tips to contact Erin.


Mine & Yours Launch Party

Nov, 1st, 2013

Did you miss the opening night of the Mine & Yours Launch party?
Don’t despair! Their 20% off sale will continue through Sunday (Nov 3).
They will be serving wine, cheese and playing some cool tunes to celebrate their opening.
Please visit Mine & Yours at 1060 Hornby St. (near Nelson) or phone 604-620-8885. Or click Mine & Yours, my interview with… to read the inside scoop!

Joanna’s wearing Asos ankle boots…
and a Club Monaco sweater and a Top Shop dress.

After a month of sunny weather the rain returned with a vengeance Friday night.   I arrived an hour before closing but
the ladies’ were in a festive mood.   The tunes were booming, the wine was flowing and before you know-it, we were doing an impromptu photo shoot. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night!

The Mine & Yours ladies: Courtney (l), Joanna (c) and Jigme (r)
Courtney’s wearing a Naven skirt…
and ankle boots from Top Shop.
“Courtney, try on the Lanvin! Try on the Lanvin!”
Ok, I must be serious while I try on the Lanvin.
Jigme’s wearing a Jill Stuart dress.
Mine & Yours earrings and necklace
…A rigourous quality inspection process!
You missed the dancing & prancing and singing to the music!

Mine & Yours, my interview with…

Oct, 20th, 2013

Good things come in small packages! Several days after we met at Eco Fashion Week I visited co-owners Courtney & Jigme at their 600 sq. foot boutique on Hornby St.
Q1- What would you like to share about yourselves?
A1- [Courtney] I’ve always loved fashion. I have degree from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. When I lived in LA, I loved shopping at the cool, curated 2nd-hand stores, where you could buy clothing you knew was previously owned by celebrities and stylists.
A2- [Jigme] I got the idea for “Mine & Yours” shortly after completing my MBA. It was a great opportunity to combine my love of fashion, entrepreneurship and sustainability. When I was travelling through Paris I discovered an amazing 2nd-hand store called “Reciproque”. It actually a series of little boutiques that occupy almost an entire city block. There were countless treasures and it was like the Louvre for fashion!
Q2- What’s the story behind your name?
A2- Mine & Yours is essentially a closet exchange for the women of Vancouver, where they can buy, sell, and trade their fabulous clothing. At the store, what’s “mine” is “yours”, and vice versa!

Courtney (l) & Jigme (r)

Q3- How long have you been open?
A3- Just a few weeks! We opened at the beginning of October.
Q4- What sets Mine & Yours apart from the competition?
A4- We are the only buy, sell & trade resale boutique in Vancouver. We pay cash up-front for clothing   on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (no appointment is necessary). You’ll find we have to have a well-edited collection because when we’re making purchases we ask ourselves, “Is it on-trend?” “Is it good quality?” “Is it almost-new?” “Is it something me or my girlfriends would wear?”


Q5- Tell me about your customers?
A5- We cater to everyone but we find our typical customer is a fashion-forward woman between 20 – 40 who’s looking for a great deal.
Q6- Who are your style icons?
A6- We both really love Olivia Palermo’s style.   Olivia has a seriously enviable closet, and she always looks so well put-together!

Q7- What are some labels you have on your racks at the moment?
A7- Theory, Vince, Missoni, Alice + Olivia, Isabel Marant, Marc Jacobs, Rag & Bone, DVF, as well as BCBG, Club Monaco and and Wilfred. We strive to offer 60 – 80% off the original price.

A highly sought after leather Vince shift dress

Q8- What labels are you excited to see come across your buying counter?
A8- Right now we are buying for winter. We love seeing:

  • Cool chunky knit sweaters, and soft, flowy waterfall cardigans.
  • Mixed media in coats and dresses.
  • Big coats with cool shapes and dramatic necklines.
  • Leather, cashmere, and wool.
  • Fun, holiday dresses and cool blazers.

We are also buying printed pants and boyfriend jeans – they sell as quickly as they come in!

“Talk to the hand!”

Q9- What else would you like to share?
A9- We are constantly entertaining and we really want people to feel at home at our store. We have a salon upstairs where we sometimes host trunk shows.   We also have a mini pop-up photography studio where we style, model and photograph products. Since we buy clothes from fashion bloggers we also host blogger’s forums.   Our most recent discussion was how to monetize your blog.
Q10- What upcoming events are you hosting?
A10- We’re having our official launch party on the weekend of Nov 1 – 3,   where we will be serving up fashion, wine, and bargains! We’ll have extended hours and we’ll be offering 20% off everything in the store. It will be a wine & fashion event!
Please visit Mine & Yours at 1060 Hornby St. (near Nelson) or phone 604-620-8885

Madame Moje, my interview with…

Jul, 18th, 2013

Several days after the grand opening and runway show, I sat down with Malashnee Naidoo   and asked her about Madame Moje.
Q1. What is the story behind the name Madame Moje?
A1. I’ve always loved the word Madame because exudes classiness and superiority. My husband and business partner suggested Moje. It’s Persian for eyelashes but it personifies the batting of eyelashes. Madame Moje is the femme fatale that drives the sexiness behind our brand.

Q2. Your site prominently lists you as the Creative Director but your site’s bio also states you’re a Designer. Are you both?
A2. I am a Chartered Accountant by profession but to be honest, titles bore me. To answer your question, I do both. As a Designer I sketch and provide detailed direction to my Patternmakers. As Creative Director, I’m the vision behind the brand. I manage the entire process from the selection of sensual fabric all the way to presenting the garment to the public.
Q3. Your debut runway show featured a polished, cohesive yet wide ranging collection. How long did it take you to reach this point?
A3. I’ve been designing dresses in my head since the age of 10.   I’ve even had design ideas come to me in my dreams! In university I loved styling outfits. However my family felt it was important to have a traditional career so I spent 10 years in the Finance industry. Once I made the transition to the Fashion industry it took 5 months to bring my ideas to life.

Q4. How would you describe your brand?
A4. Fiercely feminine high end clothing at accessible prices!   It’s all made in exquisite Vancouver. Our ready to wear lines focus on impeccable tailoring, refined details that showcase beautiful silhouettes. Our clothes offer the versatility that lets you take a look from day to night.

Q5. Jackie Onassis is one of your style icons. How does the former First Lady’s style influence Madame Moje’s collection?
A5. Granted Jackie’s sex appeal was classic and subtle. We’ve just pushed the boundaries a little further giving women sophistication and sensuality.
Q6. Haider Ackermann and Elie Saab are two you design influences. How do these gentlemen influence Madame Moje’s collection?
A6. Haider has impeccable tailoring, romantic and sensual pieces. Elie makes feminine clothes for elegant and glamorous women.

Photo credit: Brendan Meadows

Q7. Your grand opening and debut runway show featured the Real Housewives of Vancouver. How did you meet?
A7. Robin Reichman was drawn into our store by the window display.   She was amazed by the collection and bought the same dress in two different colors. Then she suggested she and two other housewives would do a fashion show to showcase the brand. This woman who has the biggest heart established that a percentage of the proceeds would benefit the SPCA. The timing was perfect.
Click Robin to view photos of the runway show.
Click Seen to view photos of who attended the event.
Q8. What key piece of advice would you like to share with design students?
A08. It’s great to be artistic and creative but if your work is solely focused on inspiration people won’t buy your work. You must design your collections with salability in mind.
Q9. Your website didn’t list any upcoming shows or events. Do you have anything planned?
A09. Yes, we actually have quite a few events coming up. Please keep watching the website for new announcements.
Please visit Madame Moje at 2843 Granville St. or phone 604-731-8138
Highlights from the grand opening.

DJ Veronica spinning tunes
Event Assistants: Rosie seated, Lisa standing

Click Robin to view MORE photos of the runway show.
Click Seen to view MORE photos of who attended the event.

Haute Wheels Fashion Trucker, my interview with JennyFleur Loves!

Jun, 16th, 2013

I’ve known Jennifer Grey of Jennyfleur Loves for a few months. I’ve visited her Yaletown boutique and we’ve crossed paths a half dozen times at fashion shows. Click Jenny to see what she wore at the Sabina Stanne fashion show.
When she tweeted that her Haute Wheels truck would be parked at the Main Street Car Free Day festival   I thought it was the perfect time for a visit.
The festival was held on Father’s Day. It was partly cloudy, partly sunny day but I’m glad it didn’t rain. I hopped off the bus at Main & Broadway. Main St. was blocked to vehicles. I made my way through a sea of people and when I reached the truck, I was greeted by Azura of Timeline Boutique. She was helping customers outside the truck while Jenny helped customers inside the truck.
There were a steady stream of customers during the festival so I met Jenny in her boutique a couple days later. Here’s our conversation.

Q01- What was your inspiration for the Haute Wheels fashion truck?
A01- I got the idea from Cynthia Rowley when she parked her truck outside NY Fashion Week which attracted a lot of attention. A few months later I saw another truck in LA and I knew that this would be big so I had better do something soon! So here I am, the very first in Vancouver to have a fashion truck.   The truck is great because I’m able go out [from the store], have fun and meet so many people that might not necessarily have access to the type of fashion that we carry in our boutique.

Jenny modeling the full-length mirror
Azura modeling the change room curtain

Q02- What features does your truck have?
A02- It has a full-length mirror and a change room.   People are so thrilled that they can actually try before they buy – especially at an outdoor market. We also have the ability to accept credit cards as well as cash, so it is super convenient for our customers.

Q03- What do you sell from the truck?
A03- It’s really a smaller version of our small store. It’s like a boutique on wheels!   I try to tailor the inventory on board to the location where I’m parked but generally I’ll bring jewelry, clothes, shoes, accessories and purses.

Q04- What can you tell me about the truck’s artwork?
A04- Lili Lu a Fashion Illustrator from Paris created the illustrations on both sides. Shaughnessy [my daughter and Co-owner] and I had short listed three Fashion Illustrators but she was our first choice and she agreed that we could use her work for the truck. We discovered her work online as her illustrations were used for Valentino’s runway show at Paris Fashion Week a couple of years ago.
Q05- Did Lili Lu fly to Vancouver to airbrush your truck?
A05- No, she e-mailed the file to me and I sent it to Vehicle Graphics in Burnaby. They are a company that specializes in wrapping artwork around vehicles. We are pleased with the results because so many people remember the truck and comment on how beautiful it is!

Franz came with her sisters Rose and Cora
Franz looks pleased with her new “UNIF” sundress!

Q06- Have you thought of parking on Robson St.?
A06- Yes! I would love to park anywhere on a downtown street at lunchtime, but unfortunately, I am only able to actually sell merchandise when I’m parked on private property. Unfortunately if I’m parked on the side of the city street, I’m limited to doing only demos or shows.
Q07- How long have you had the Haute Wheels truck?
A07- I’ve had the truck for a year   and it’s really been a learn-as-you-go experience. So far, we have participated in last years Fashions Night Out Vancouver (FNOV) where we collaborated with Dominique Hanke’s Hive Mind Millinery where she brought some of her hats on board, as well, we were invited to a Port Moody Hair Salon for their customer appreciation/Christmas party and we’ve done street markets such as Viva Vancouver and Car Free Day. I think it would be really amazing to drive to somewhere like Kelowna and host shopping parties along the way. There are so many possibilities with the truck for collaborations, parties, festivals and corporate events.. I encourage anyone to please feel free to contact me if they have ideas!
Q08- Are there any interesting stories you care to share about your truck?
A08- The very first time I took the truck out, we parked at Sunset Beach   just to see what the reaction would be. So many people stopped out of curiosity and my very first sale was to someone bought a dress because it was her birthday. She was on her way to lunch with her friend and decided she wanted something new to wear to lunch. We took some photos and as it turned out she was a blogger, so she blogged about the truck and her purchase. You never know who is going to walk onboard!

The silver bustier caught my eye
Enjolie browsing the rack

Thanks Jennifer!
The next time you’re at an outdoor street festival be sure to watch for the Haute Wheels fashion truck!

Timeline Boutique’s New Location!

Jun, 2nd, 2013

Timeline Boutique Consignment & Couture (TBC&C) has moved to 87 E. Cordova St. in Gastown!
I’ve known Azura for a few months and we’ve partnered on few fashion projects. When pronounced properly her name sounds like Ah’zoo-rah. When she mentioned her store was expanding it was the perfect opportunity to photograph the move and ask Azura a few questions.
The assignment had a fun twist. Azura wanted photos of the new store yet she wanted to leave a little mystery for her customers to see the changes themselves. On a personal note, I’ve noticed Azura genuinely gets excited when she talks about clothes, fashion, outfits, bargains and collaborating.

Q01- What’s the meaning behind the name Timeline Boutique?
A01- Think of your closet as a personal timeline of fashion; as your style changes, it’s out with the old and in with the new!
Q02- What will you miss most about your former location?
A02- That was where TBC&C began – I loved being right next door to Wink Beauty and Pony Salon, now we’ve just expanded to a the other side of them and directly across from Nicli Pizzeria! Love our neighbours on Cordova Street in Gastown.
Q03- What’s your fondest memory of your former location?
A03- I loved our VIP Launch Party in 2012. There were so many incredible guests, friends and family. We fit as many people as possible into TBC&C for the night by clearing out the clothing racks! It was truly a magical night and will always be in my heart! I feel very grateful for all the love that went in to opening the doors of Timeline Boutique.
Q04- Why are you moving and what do you like about your new location?
A04- We’re expanding!! The new location has a 2nd floor open-concept mezzanine loft which allows the couture from local designers Trina Marie Cairns and Norma Shireen, which are exclusive to Timeline Boutique to be showcased! Norma has made pieces for Cher and Sir Elton John, after all! The change rooms are magnificent and there is an entire WALL of designer shoes and handbags!   I love the double doors which open to show Nicli Pizzeria across the street, the original hardwood wood floors from 1906 and the 20’ ceilings – oh, and the shiny new TIMELINE BOUTIQUE neon sign!
Q05- What sets TBC&C apart from your competition?
A05- We have the best prices in the city and have been voted in the top consignment stores for the selection and treasures we carry. We carry designer consignment ranging from Forever 21 to Aritizia to Chanel and NEW pieces from Betsey Johnson, Jennyfleur Loves in Yaletown and local designers 212 Boutique and RUKUS. The selection includes casual designer jeans from $38 to jackets to party dresses and formal gowns. As for the hand-made couture we have swimwear, gowns, jewelry and truly unique pieces like floor length vests! We’re the only company in Canada with a consignment system that lets you watch the items in your account sell from home AND pick up money in your account any time we’re open! And there’s no appointment needed   to bring in your consignment items for either consignment or cash-up-front, too.
Q06- What’s your philosophy about fashion?
A06- Fashion is about how your feel when you wear something, regardless of the cost. Mixing high and low labels is highly encouraged! All that matters is now you feel and how it all looks put together – just ask Mandy Ross, host of FashionTV for Press Play Establishment – we’ll mix couture with whatever’s perfect to create the final look!
Q07- What are you excited to see come across your sales counter?
A07- I love Betsey Johnson!   I also love quality workmanship of designer pieces, rich colors and great textures such as: sequins, ostrich, silk and knits. I do choose for everyone else in mind: nautical, prints, simple silhouettes, basic black, etc. – there is something for everyone!
Q08- What designers inspire you?
A08- I love Versace and everything they do!
Q09- Will you have any “store opening” sales?
A09- We carry new merchandise up to 80% off retail every day   – every day is a treasure hunt. Some of the most stylish ladies in the city already know this secret…
Q10- Do you have any events planned?
A10- Yes! We have a 1st Year Anniversary Party planned soon…   please contact the store directly 778 229 8463 if you would like to be added to the guest list.
Azura it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Is there anything you would like to say in closing?
I’m very grateful to everyone who helped create Timeline Boutique: family, friends and our clients are absolute the best! The love notes they have added to the chalkboard bathroom walls in the new store warm my heart. I feel so grateful and want to thank them from the bottom of my heart! Look forward to seeing you here very soon! Thank you very much, Ric!

Is that an organic cotton RUKUS dress on the consignment rack?

Shoes for every occasion…

Jewelry ranging from refined to rebellious…

Hand-made couture gowns

Be sure to stop by for a visit!

Dolce Amore Swimwear & Lingerie, my interview with…

Mar, 16th, 2013

If you’re looking for a steak dinner, you won’t go to McDonalds…
Since fashion isn’t a priority for most Vancouverites, many are quite content with Happy Meals. That translates to $20 – $30 lingerie that must be thrown away after 3 – 4 washings. However, it’s possible to buy lingerie and swimwear that lasts 3 – 4 years!

I’ve been in a few long term relationships but I’ve never bought my girlfriends lingerie. Therefore, I was a blank slate when I sat down with Jadwiga (pronounced Yad-viga), Owner of Dolce Amore and her close friend Liz.
I was curious about the impact Victoria Secret would have on her business (click: Victoria’s Secret Exposed). She told me with a charming European accent that she’s been in business for 8 years. In that time she’s seen Agent Provocateur (on Alberni) and La Senza (on Robson) come and go but she’s more concerned with the pending arrival of Nordstrom.
She mentioned the lingerie she stocks is handmade and comes from Europe (Paris or Italy).  While some companies use synthetic fabrics and additives (to shape garments), the lingerie she sells is made with high quality natural fabrics.

I also found it interesting that her supply of Brazilian swimsuits reflect what’s currently in fashion for other parts of the world. In other words, when you leave wintery Vancouver for a summery vacation destination, your swimsuit will be in-fashion for that season!
The degree of customer service is another difference between her and her competitors. If I walked into a large crowded retailer I couldn’t imagine a part-time Sales Clerk giving me information about fitting, garment construction and fabric. I imagine a retail conversation would be limited to, “What are your girlfriend’s measurements?” Secondly, I’m not sure a $30 gift would send the right message for something so intimate.
Speaking sizes, Jadwiga sells cup sizes that range from A to H.

Shopping involves the key decision to get undressed or not. During our chat, Jadwiga stepped away to help a customer. I liked how she quickly dressed the torso of a mannequin with a couple garments to help the customer visualize the garment and narrow her selection.
Lastly, everyone knows weddings are the perfect time to buy lingerie. However, I had no idea a new relationship could trigger the need to buy new lingerie. Out with the old and in with the new!

The next time you’re near the corner of Robson & Thurlow, enter Starbucks and walk to the back of the store. As you approach the washrooms, look out the window and you’ll see Dolce Amore in a small courtyard.
772 Thurlow St.