|Fay (right) is a regular at fashion events around town such|
as Eco Fashion Week's event at Holt Renfrew. With writer
Randi Winter (left) and myself in the centre.
Coming from New York puts high expectations on shopping experiences and opportunities. From New York to LA, or Miami to Montreal, in North America we see the same brands in most major stores, with the odd exclusive style or name. It is hard if you are not interested in paying to have someone else’s name where your personal stamp of style belongs.
Long before Vancouver had Holt Renfrew, or Costco selling Prada and Gucci bags, we still had Woodward’s, Eaton’s and The Hudson Bay (the original). These titans of aggregated “department-ed” stores anchored the shopping experience and Oakridge Mall was a suburban novelty. Of course we had niche stores like Chapmans, Speiser Furs, Ingeldew's, Vanessa and other local upscale bastions of good taste and style. For those “in the know” it was Showmart’s sample sales. Gastown had “characters”- not Fluevog - and Aritzia was just a twinkle in Hill’s of Kerrisdale’s eye. Commercial Drive was where to go for custom shoes and Italian styling…but not necessarily style.
|Left - Cody & Randi, Centre & Right - Fay &customers in the boutique|
I arrived in Vancouver in 1972 when they rolled the sidewalks up at 9PM except at the Hotel
Vancouver Roof or The Cave (forget my first 9 months of hibernation in Edmonton). I feverishly planned my back-to-New-York experiences revolving around eating, shopping, reviving my sense of culture and then more shopping. After all, Robson Street was Robsonstrasse where you ate schnitzel and shopped for a dirndl or lederhosen while 4th Avenue invoked shades of hippiedom, not hip.
Finally, Loehman’s, Filene’s and Alexander’s (all now gone to shopping heaven) had some competition. During the 80's & 90’s Armadillo sales had line ups to get in, to the changing rooms and to pay. It was 450 square feet of Madness. No dainty shopping bags, they packed our treasures in orange lawn garbage bags and usually needed more than one. Naked women were everywhere with a single chair at the front for any brave males. On Saturdays, Rolls Royce's waited outside for Lee to wheel purchases on rolling racks to load in emptied trunks.
|Randi Winter in Armadillo|
vest and eye frames from
The Optical Boutique
Randi Winter is a New Yorker by birth who promised her mother she would never lose her NY pizazz. She is a Virtuoso Specialist in and Journalist of Inspired Pursuits (shopping should always be inspiring). Her website is www.passionatetravel.com. She is an active community supporter and mentor for local and global philanthropic and non profits including leadership and facilitator positions at BC Association of Travel Writers, CHW, University Women's Club TRAVEL!, Team Helping Diabetes, The Besa Project, International Perfume Foundation, Four Pillars Project. She is always pleased to be mistaken for Marilyn. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org FB Randi Lee Winter and Passionate Travel, twitter @randiwinter @passionatetrvl Pinterest passionatetrvl