Thursday, March 31, 2016

Your Body is Asking for Attention!

I always grimace when someone throws out, "Aging is just a number!"  While most are of the younger generation, there are a few mid-range people hanging onto that notion for dear life.

In the end, I THINK what they really mean is that our spirit - who we are inside - doesn't age and that I agree with. We have a choice to continue to grow and be amazed by the wonders around us or to sit back and stagnate while ruminating on the good old days. The spirit is ageless.

But when it comes to the body, aging is a reality.  We start with a genetic history that affects this journey and then are influenced by life choices such as our eating and exercise habits, toxic exposure, stress and more.  How we walk our life has a huge impact, but our genetics is always in the background influencing the outcome.

One of the joys of having a doctor that truly embraces prevention over recovery after the fact means staying as much as possible ahead of the game.  The goal is to catch any concerns early when the fix is easier or the outcome better.  I love the fact I'm taken seriously. But there is a downside.

The downside comes from the constant and extensive tests after each bi-annual physical.  These are selected based on recommendations for my age and family history. Up until about a year ago I breezed through most, but suddenly with age the numbers are changing.  There are formulas to evaluate every result and most have an age factor. The end result - a number that is healthy currently can become a concern for the future.

These tests also mean you get to know your body in an intimate way most people don't. "Hey - there's what we think is a calcium deposit here. Nothing to worry about but we should watch it.  Hey - you have a strawberry of blood vessels there. Nothing to worry about but we should watch it. As your dad passed away of XYZ, we should keep an eye of this. As your mother died of XYZ we should keep an eye on that." And the list goes on. 

Each year the concerns rise and that brings with it a difficulty relaxing about one's health.  We all want a long life where at the end, we pass away quietly in our sleep. But the examples all around us show that is not everyone's journey.

What I came away with this year was a comment from my wonderful doctor, "Your body is asking for some healthy attention."  I'm already pretty good at this and have made tons of changes in the last few years, but turns out more needs to be done.  Top of the list is raising my metabolism so I can shed a few more pounds. That means more regular exercise. Remember cleaning house, dancing and walking up and down stairs counts.  I began even though dealing with a cold. While the cold affected me at the start, the exercise seemed to kick it out of my system faster!

Day 1 - walk with husband. Not as fast or as far as usual because of the cold.
Day 2 - 20K bike ride. This is my normal length so figured I'd just drop it down a gear and
    have a relaxing ride. Even at the lower gear, my cold made itself know and I had to take a 15
    minute breather laid out on a park bench about half way through.
Day 3 - Longer walk with my husband, and speed almost up to normal
Day 4 - 20K bike ride with no issues. Still not up to my normal speed, but almost there.
Day 5 - Still a longer walk and up to normal speed.

I also need to increase my muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat so an increase in muscle mass creates an increase in metabolism and that means your body burns more calories. Loss of muscle mass is a a real issue for all post menopausal women and we lose it more rapidly than men of the same age.  However, it's important to note for everyone that people who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. So a concern for us all.

Lastly, taking a little more fat out of my diet and increasing my fiber a little bit more. Nothing crazy, baby steps all the way.  And remember it's about what you eat on a daily basis, not the occasional splurge, that matters.

There are many good things that come as time passes. The most significant for me? I'm finally comfortable in my own skin and make no apologies for who I am. The rest - just a part of the journey we call life.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

PRIDE (2014)

When I try to look for a movie to watch on Netflix and iTunes, I always find it overwhelming. The sheer number of films available is incredible - most I have never heard of. That's one of the reasons I write down suggestions from others whenever possible.  If I don't write it down, it gets forgotten.

One day my friend Talon suggested a movie that sounded intriguing.  I didn't write it down and was considering emailing again for the suggestion. But low and behold when I was exploring the latest additions to Netflix last week looking for something for our Sunday dinner and a movie night, there it was - Pride (2014).  Everyone else wasn't sure, but I was pretty firm and it was my week to choose. Great casting, great acting, great pacing and an amazing story.......we all loved it.

PRIDE (2014) is listed as a Drama, Comedy - Dramedy for serious movie fans - and that's a very accurate description. It never goes too deep into despair - with lighter moments scattered throughout - but you never lose the seriousness of the subject matter. The pacing between high and low moments is bang on. You're never left anywhere too long, but you don't feel rushed. The movie is two hours long, but the story carries that time easily. Rotten Tomatoes ratings show 92% for Critics and 89% for audiences. Kudos to director Matthew Warchus and writer Stephen Beresford.  

Description from the movie press release - "PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It's the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers' families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all."

I would suggest one thing before watching, especially if you're younger.  Try to place yourself in 1984 in England. It's the time of Margaret Thatcher and the miner's strike. It was an ugly event in Britain's history. Also try to put yourself back to where gay right's were at the time.  It's so easy to forget, despite the change still needed, the serious prejudice that existed then and the lack of safety for members of the LGBT community. Both of these issues are intertwined in this film and understanding them lets you embrace the beauty and hope in this story better.

From prejudice, to breaking down walls and discovering the humanity in others, to stepping into another's world - PRIDE is a wonderful journey in the power of the human spirit to create change one small step at a time. I am definitely going to have to watch this one again. 

For more information on PRIDE - go to the official CBC website at
or visit the UK site at

Monday, March 28, 2016

In the Context of Love by Linda K. Sienkiewicz

In the Context of LoveAngelica Schirrick wonders how her life could have
gotten so far off-track. With two children in tow,
she begins a journey of self-discovery that leads
her back home to Ohio.

Somehow she must learn to accept the violence
of her beginning before she can be open to life,
and a second chance at love.

Synopsis - 

What makes us step back to examine the events and people that have shaped our lives? And what happens when what we discover leads to more questions?

Angelica Schirrick wonders how her life could have gotten so far off-track. With two children in tow, she begins a journey of self-discovery that leads her back home to Ohio. It pains her to remember the promise her future once held and the shattering revelations that derailed her life.

Can she face the failures and secrets of her past and move forward? Somehow she must learn to accept the violence of her beginning before she can be open to life, and a second chance at love.

Review - 

I want to start at the end here - kudos to author Linda K Sienkiewicz. Well done.  I picked up this book not sure what to expect. Writing a story with deep emotional depth can so easily go wrong.  It takes just the right touch to delve into painful memories in a thoughtful way that exposes our humanity without rolling in a poor me scenario. In The Context of Love has just that touch.

The story of Angelica begins in the present, but is told through a flashback to her earlier life.  We meet her dysfunctional family and wonder. Something is off.  First love blossoms, but is discouraged and then quashed - why? The emotional toll on mother, father and teen as they fight age old battles is laid bare.  When the family secret is finally revealed, it shatters all illusions and sends Angelica on a downward spiral. She is..............(sorry no spoiler alert).

Readers are not left in this dark place. Hope returns. Healing returns. The human spirit is resilient and the future calls.  The author's background in poetry has woven it's touch into this story line. There is a beautiful cadence to how it all unfolds. I can't wait to read more by this talented author. Again - KUDOS!

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author - 

Check out interview - HERE

Linda K. Sienkiewicz author picLinda K. Sienkiewicz is a published poet and fiction writer, cynical optimist, fan of corgis, tea drinker, and wine lover from Michigan. Her poetry, short stories, and art have been published in more than fifty literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, Clackamas Literary Review, Spoon River, and Permafrost.

She received a poetry chapbook award from Bottom Dog Press, and an MFA from the University of Southern Maine. Linda lives with her husband in southeast Michigan, where they spoil their grandchildren and then send them back home.

​Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook

Interview with Linda K. Sienkiewicz, author of In the Context of Love

Linda K. Sienkiewicz author pic
Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a poet and published author?

I’ve always loved writing. Always. In the mid-nineties, I developed an interest in poetry. I attended every conference and workshop possible, and then began submitting my poems to literary journals. I was giddy when my work started getting published. I began playing around with short stories around 2003. I shared a published piece with my poetry editor and he suggested I write a novel. I thought he was crazy; I didn’t know how to write a book. But it was like being bit by a bug. Why not try? And so I did. In 2007, I entered a Masters of Fine Art (MFA) writing program just to immerse myself in writing, and I finished a draft of In the Context of Love. A few excerpts were published as short pieces and won awards, so that gave me confidence to keep working on the manuscript, and then to send it to agents and publishers.

Do you feel your work as a poet is reflected in your fiction writing? How?

Yes. As a poet, you want to avoid sentimentality and cliché, and I apply that ethos to my fiction. It isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to writing about sex or love! I like using metaphor and simile to evoke a mood or emotion. I often read passages aloud, testing the rhythm, so the pace fits the scene. If characters are in a heated argument, for example, I wouldn’t use flowing sentences with lots of metaphor.
In The Context of Love offers a lot of emotional depth, both in the characters and their lives. Where did the inspiration for this story line and the main characters - Angelica, Joe and Gavin - come from?

Thank you! In the mid-nineties, I read a magazine article titled “My Father Was a Rapist” about several women who learned this horrifying truth about their conception. Their courage and resilience impressed me. I carried their stories with me for years. For this novel, I created Angelica, born in the mid-fifties when claims of rape were met with suspicion and an unwed mother was a scandal. This created the big family secret. I didn’t know how Angelica would find out about her father, or what would happen when she did, but that’s the joy and challenge of writing. And I knew there had to be a love story. That’s just the romantic in me.
In the Context of Love
Review HERE!

Some aspects of my personality found their way into Angelica. I rebelled against my mother’s sheltering. I had issues with self-esteem, and fell prey to molestation and date rape. I went through periods of depression and cynicism. Joe is a bit like my first boyfriend, a tall, good-looking rogue. Funny, too. He drove a rattrap Galaxy 500. I don’t know about Gavin – he emerged from some shadowy corner in my brain. He’s an original.

It is has to be difficult to write a story that authentically portrays such raw emotions. Can you share any advice for young authors who are struggling with this challenge?

Sit yourself down and imagine. What would it feel like to watch your husband come completely unhinged, and how could it be expressed other than to write “she was afraid”? Put yourself in the scene. Imagine. Don’t hold back. Then, after you’re all wrung out, you need to write in an understated way to keep it believable. It takes balance.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore?

I love imagining those heart-rending emotional moments. I love rewriting when I can go deep into the scene and flesh everything out. The chore for me is pounding out the first draft, which only brushes the surface of emotion. When I’m about 50,000 words in, I start to get excited.

What would you most like readers to know about you?

About me? You can tell me anything. I’m a great listener. Plus I can keep a secret.

What is next? Are there any new books in the works we can look forward to?

I’m working on the life of the romantic heartthrob Joe Vadas. I’d also like to write a story about Angelica’s family that takes place several years after Gavin is released from prison, maybe when her children are young adults. Readers tell me they want to know what happens.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 16 - Magpie Goose, The Message Between the Lines

Guest Article by Randi Winter, Passionate Travel

Image by Kerp Photography
I am drawn to garments when they tell a story between the lines. It’s extremely difficult to do so when relying on fabric and geometry instead of traditional embellished styling. Designer Hila Herman explained, “I’m looking for ways to add as much fabric as possible in one place and still clear cut. This is my technique for this collection.”

Hila Herman debuted Magpie Goose’s first runway collection March 18th as one of the 109 designers from 25 countries at the 27th season of Vancouver Fashion Week 2016 Fall/Winter. Hila graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and morphed the intangibility of graphic and web design into the tangibility of fashion design.

“Graphic design was not tangible enough from a virtual space, I needed to involve material. I always loved fashion, but it was not an aspiration,” she explained. She started designing 3 1/2 years ago after attending the Shenker School of Design to learn the technical side of fashion design and textiles. “I was full of ideas and needed the technique to execute my ideas.”

Hila’s boutique in the lively NOGA district in South Tel Aviv first was her graphic design studio, allowing her clients to look, try and comment, learning from their feedback and reaction to fit and design. Gradually, she shifted from graphic designer to clothing designer. Compelled and passionate to create clothes, she understood she had to be fully engaged. She started manufacturing in Israel for herself and now Magpie Goose is sold in her studio, online and in other boutiques.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

The clothes are structured yet soft, suitable for daytime and evening, with an emphasis on the quality of the materials, manufacture and comfort. Design is not about patterns or prints, rather proportions and cuts in relation to the “deviations” of body shape and size. This collection is mostly black, white and tan, predominantly cottons and viscose with no prints. “In the design process I am interested in finding balance between opposites-soft and hard, straight and round, self-awareness and nonchalant. I am intrigued by the geometrical aspect of clothes' structure as well as naturally derived shapes and I am motivated by the idea that a garment can accentuate a woman's intellectual presence.”

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Here’s where the name Magpie Goose comes in. The Magpie Goose is a distinct species. “It is a goose but not in the goose family. My collection deals with things in between categories-between soft and hard, distinction of character. I seek contradictions in how they balance and also embrace disharmony. This collection seeks to achieve structures that allow maximum fabric meeting minimum fabric in a clear cut without having a gradual transition between them both. Rubber strapping gathers the excess fabric tangential to the minimal fabric. I asked myself if is possible for a large amount of fabric to suddenly stop and meet a clear cut fabric-minimum and maximum in one line. Sometimes the excessive amount dictates the silhouette and sometimes it is constrained to a certain structure giving a singular silhouette.”

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Influencing the conversation about the collection are the headpieces by Israeli artist Hagar Nissimov. “We worked together, not dealing with beauty and style but rather structure, shape and geometry and accentuate that part of collection.”

Image by Dale Rollings
While the headpieces had bird-like beaks, it was not motivated by Magpie Goose. There was a sense of grace in the sharp edge of beak with bowed heads standing at the end of the runway; like a period at the end of a sentence. While shielding the face, they added to the androgynous look without losing its feminine grace.

It is impossible to ignore the play of masculine and feminine in both design and structure. She is particularly intrigued how women started to behave as women. Were the factors internal or external?

“Sometimes I feel the very core of the person is very different from the outside behavior. As a woman, many times I do not behave the way expected. I am looking for the authentic reasons that make a woman or a man who they are. In my eyes, this core doesn’t have anything to do with gender. 
Socially expected things are not always right for everyone. For me, I tried to work with clothes that are reminiscent of men’s clothing and tailoring, yet soften them where they exist together.” 

Sexuality, community standards and looks play differently in Israel. “Israel could be a lot more open. Civil marriage does not exist. It means that women are not totally free to live their lives as they wish. For me it is all connected from thought process to creative process and passed into the garment.”

When asked about what the future holds for Magpie Goose, she said she plans to “add a men’s collection within 2 years and deal with subjects that I find interesting.”

Images by Ed Ng Photography

What lessons did she learn and advice would she give to aspiring designers, “A collection for the runway is different from a collection sold in shops. Don’t be afraid. Have a clear vision of how you want things to look and it will be a great experience. Say yes to whatever comes.”

To find out more about Hila Herman and Magpie Goose check out any of the following =

Magpie Goose Studio:
9 Nechama Street
Noga District
Jaffa Tel-Aviv 6811535

Contact information for Hila Herman:
Etsy Link Hagar Nassimov - 

= = = = 

Randi Winter is a New Yorker by birth who promised her mother she would never lose her NY pizazz. She is first and foremost a connector and facilitator on a wide range of global initiatives in health, wellness, innovation and fashion. She is also a Virtuoso Specialist in and Journalist of Inspired Pursuits (shopping should always be inspiring). Her website is

Winter 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,CHWUniversity Women's Club TRAVEL! interest group, Team Helping Type 1 Diabetes, The Besa Project, God's Got It Israel, Tomowave and Probiotica Medical innovations as well as representing distribution for a new eco-friendly shopping cart. She is always pleased to be mistaken for Marilyn R Wilson, and it happens often! Contact: FB Randi Lee Winter and Passionate Travel, twitter @randiwinter @passionatetrvl Pinterest passionatetrvl

Friday, March 25, 2016

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 16 - Sunday - Je Vis Couture, Averynthe, LAT, Futa Kashmir and Heill

Image by Carolting Photography
Sunday! Boy was I tired. Not only did I sit through all shows the previous five days, but I managed an interview with designer Eymeric Francois on Saturday and attended a lecture by Emmy nominated costumer Eduardo Castro of One Upon a Time put on by SMOC before coming this day.

BUT, I was also feeling very blessed to have been able to sit through all Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) shows and talk to so many talented artists from around the globe. The volunteers and staff were amazing as always - I couldn't do what I do without each of their contributions.

Then there was the chance every day to catch up with my fashion family as well as to meet many new artists and attendees. One lovely couple, after finding out I wrote a book, bought a copy off me right there on the runway. WOW!

The mood all week was high energy. At an event this big there are always glitches, especially as we are not required to exit the venue between shows. This means seating in the front row in particular can be contentious, but I would not change that free for all on the runway for anything. I love the chaos and high energy. I love the pictures being snapped right, left and centre, and designers mingling right in with the crowd instead of exiting unseen. This doesn't happen anywhere else.

Interviewing Eymeric Francois on Saturday - image by Dale Rollings
Sitting next to Sarah Murray of Fashion Capsule one day, I was pleased to learn that she was brought in to run a seminar on two different days for participating designers. She talked with them about wholesaling, how to break into the local market and answered their questions. A few wholesalers were brought in to meet the designers and assess their collections as well. I spoke with one designer who attended the seminar and his response was very positive.

My outfit today (seen in photo at the very top) ended up being one of my favourites as it's a mixture of old and new. The pieces are all local labels except for one from Toronto designer Elina Tan. The beautiful shawl I am wearing is hers and I bought it right off the runway on Saturday. My earrings - hand crocheted mixed metal - are my latest pair created by Pam of Street Cat Designs. My leggings are by Some Product and my great handbag is by Alex S Yu. I feel like a million bucks and love that everything I am wearing was made by someone I know. Nothing like it.

Line-up outside and in lobby - images by Dale Rollings
For the umpteenth day in a row I could not decide who to cover. There were so many collections and each was so different - like choosing between apples and oranges. In fact, I reached out to a couple photographers who have been shooting all week to ask their advice. In the end, right or wrong, a decision had to be made. Again, I can only encourage you to check out all the shows this week as fashion is a very personal thing and there truly was something for everyone. Wish I could have written up everyone - especially today.

Je Vis Couture presented by JCI Institute - 

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Toronto Based designer Bonnie Chung is a graduate of John Casablanca’s Fashion Business and Creative Arts Diploma Program in 2006. She also has a diploma in Professional Sales and Marketing from BCIT. In 2010 she began to design custom evening and cocktail dresses, and the rest is history. The designer travels to major fashion capitals to find just the right unique fabrics. Her extensive travel experiences all around the world have exposed her to design, fashion and architecture from many cultures - all which influence her work today. After creating a few seasonal collections, she decided to focus on custom design wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses - catering to those who already have a design in mind and would like to convert it from an idea to reality.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

I have to say, there is a really high bar set for bridal collections. People want fabulous couture looking garments for their special day, but often are looking for a price that is impossible to meet. So often runway collections offer ready-to-wear choices trying to find that balance. Bonnie Chung instead brought a brilliant selection of one-of-a-kind gowns with wonderful silhouettes, beautiful fabrics, great detailing and excellent tailoring. I'm sure I leaned forward a few times to check out a detail on a gown. It was a wonderful, romantic show and I am seriously hoping Chung will return next season.

Averynthe presented by JCI Institute - 
Images by Ed Ng Photography

Calgary based designer Mark Abenir is a graduate of the Fashion Business and Creative Arts Diploma from John Casablancas Institute in Vancouver, BC. He started designing high fashion looks at a young age - a self taught artist who is forging his own path into this competitive word. From his bio, "Prior to graduating, his label Averynthe was featured in magazines such as Ellements, FreshlyWorn, Dark Beauty, Calgary Fashionsign Magazine and was shown on the runway at Calgary Fashion Week, Vanstyle Fashion Show, Project Reveal, Runway Monthly 2012, Western Canada Fashion Week, Vancouver Fashion Week and more."

Images by Ed Ng Photography

I have been following Abenir's career for several years now.  The designer has a wealth of unique ideas and great confidence. He loves to explore sexy silhouettes and flowing shapes, and it's obvious he loves designing for women. Because his tailoring skills are self taught, it's taken awhile for this side of his design work to catch up with his creative side, but catch up it did. This collection was full of his unique style and the construction aspect was strong. I love see young designers continue to grow and push themselves to new heights. Kudos!

L A T by Lautaro Amadeo Tambutto

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

Argentina's Lautaro Amadeo Tambutto is both a Fashion and Art Director. Born in Buenos Aires, he has degrees from Palermo University and the Instituto Marangoni, both based in Milan, Italy. He is also the winner of the Fashion Clash Talent Award 2015 given by Vogue Talents. From his bio, "L A T – Latin Athletic Tailor appeared with the necessity to express the importance of the Latin American cultures mixing the ancestral aspects and traditions with global influences,sports, tribes and high street situations."
Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

I loved reading up on all the influences in his work. The use of textiles from the past such a leather, wool and fur which where used to protect the body from the elements. His Latin American history as well as "...experiments with contemporary visions of fashion, by combining sensitive and strong aesthetics." This collection was definitely aimed at the younger, edgier crowd and while there were a few looks show on female models, it was predominantly a male collection. Because black garments are so hard to capture on the runway, I've included some close-ups to show the great detail work.

Futa Kashmir

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery
Oakland knitwear designer Jocelyn Bada always loved fashion, but ended up earning a degree in Psychology with a sculpture focus. It was an injury that forced her to revisit her love of textiles - cashmere in particular. Bada loves cashmere. After a looking far and wide for unique, modern cashmere with little luck, the decided to launch Futa Kashmir in 2013.

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

From the designer's bio, "Futa Kashmir is a sustainable, sexy and unique luxury cashmere company using Todd & Duncan yarn exclusively. Many of the pieces have unique embellishments of gold chains and precious gems or handmade custom buttons...Based out of Oakland, Jocelyn believes in working with the community . She creates the designs and works with local weaver, Myrrhia Resneck to make the dreams come alive."

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery
The collection - Tropi-Canna - made it's debut appearance at VFW. Inspiration was found in Caribbean waters, plush tropical forests, the island colours and the cannabais plant. The pieces all had a fun factor and were detailed with gold chains and gems. I was taken aback. I just don't associate Oakland with cashmere knitwear. And cashmere traditionally is seen in little classic sweaters. Here we saw it used in new a modern ways, fashioned into pants, bodysuits and jackets for both men and women.  It was young in style and oh so unusual.  As I have said many times - I love to be surprised by a runway show. Designer Jocelyn Bada did just that.


Images by Ed Ng Photography

The last show of the evening, and in fact the entire season, was French designer Heill Yang.  A graduate of the prestigious ESMOD Paris,  the designer went on to work for Torrente Haute Couture, Ted Lapidus, Jean Claude Jitrois, Paco Rabanne Korea (where he was creative director) and Morgan. In 2003 he launched « DND » which opened the door for  him to cover all the main trade shows such as PAP Paris, FAME, IGEDO, MAGIC, Hong Kong Fashion Week, Tokyo Fashion Week. With this wealth of experience in industry behind him, Yang launched his own award winning label - HEILL - in 2012. His ambition is to create a global approach where art, design and fashion are united.

Images by Ed Ng Photography
On the runway we were treated to a large collection offering both mens and womenswear. The designer's European training was evident throughout this show. The main focus was on tailored looks, some most definitely day wear, some that could easily move into an evening out.  The construction and fabric choices (silk, wool, cashmere and polyester) were bang on and the four geometric prints chosen fit in with the collection title - "Art Nouveau City." From the designer on his inspiration, "New York, F.Scott Fitzgerald's, Hemingway's and Tamara de Lempicka's city. The print expressed the beauty of decay, the chaotic mind and daydreaming. 'There was going to be no more poverty, no more ignorance, no more disease. Art Deco reflected that confidence, vigor and optimism by using symbols of progress, speed and power. – Robert McGregor.'"

Images by Ed Ng Photography
Coats, jackets and a long sleeveless vest offered the foundation for F/W 16 with many great styles to choose from. Prints were tucked in as accent pieces with three exceptions. One was the daring red print suit shown in the top strip. I love when menswear steps it up this way. The male members of our species have been hiding behind muted classic looks for too long.  The other two were the spaghetti strap dresses also in the top photos. Each featured two prints - one red and blue, one black and white. Of the two I really like the red/blue print pairing with the great high leg slit. I would need to wear a jacket or bolero over this if I wore it,  but would love having it in my closet

Images by Ed Ng Photography
Kudos to designer Heill Yang for offering such a strong closing show. It was the perfect end to an inspiring week. I hope he returns next season so I can see what HEILL will offer for S/S 17.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 16 - Noe Bernacelli

Images by Ed Ng Photography

One of the most highly anticipated shows at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) this season was Noe Bernacelli's. This is the designer's third time showing on the runway here and every time his collection leaves the audience awestruck. This season was no exception. I have covered every collection and even had an article published on his first show in Raine Magazine (NYC). I'll put the links and tear sheets at the end.

Bernacelli was born in Trujillo, Perú. He embraced art from an early age, even taking a course in nude art at the age of 14. From that moment on he became an admirer of beauty. To this day, his main inspiration each season is the women he celebrates. At 18 he headed off to Milan and later Paris to immerse himself in the world of fashion design. Here he was able to live and breath art as well as learn couture detailing and classic construction.

Seven years ago, the designer returned home to establish his own brand and to help raise the level of the Peruvian fashion industry.  From his bio, "His collections have been well recognized by national and worldwide media, including India, Uganda and Vancouver markets. He has also participated in Paris Prêt-à-porter, Lima Fashion Week, Vancouver Fashion Week and recently, World Fashion Week 2014 in Paris, making a step forward into expanding the Noe Bernacelli brand worldwide."

For those of us in the audience who have been following Bernacelli for years, this season' collection was a surprise.  In previous collections we have seen truly beautiful looks with a more classic silhouette and palette.  These were luxury garments done oh so perfectly, but with that high end understated element. They drew you in subtly, but with a pull you couldn't resist.

Recently, the designer has chosen to take a new direction, and it's getting great reviews.  Garments still offer beautiful couture tailoring and detailing as well as the designer's knack at just the right proportions, but the style statement is less subtle. From the VFW bio, "Rich ivories and burgundies graced the collection with accents of neon green and stark black. Gorgeous fringe details and beaded bodices made statements alone, peeked out from under structured tweed coats and meshed into the designer’s namesake shoes and evening bags."

There was a very noticeable wow factor in this collection and the audience responded enthusiastically. From the designer's press release -

"[Noe Bernacell] now delights us with a collection that offers to his spectators a sense of futurism and African ethnic mysticism...This high end F/W 2016 collection is a new direction that the designer and his designing house are taking. This new direction will continue to have the delicate and elaborated hand work that has characterized his brand but with a more daring feminine spirit. Applications of crochet, lace, feathers, semiprecious stones, silk fringes and leather are the protagonists of this innovative concept. The predominant colors are yellow citron, fuchsia and gold. Noe is presenting a new era in which the romantic woman has liberated to embrace a darker, sensual and commanding version of herself. Minimalism is the main characteristic with a more pure tailoring that results in a luxurious collection that is anxiously anticipated this season."

I love surprises on the runway Noe, and you offered me that hands down. I promise by the time you return for another season, I will know a little more Spanish so we can hopefully do a live interview.

For more information or to contact the designer go to

Previous articles -

Raine Magazine - January 2015

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W16 - Sunny's Bridal

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

The closing show on Saturday night was by Sunny's Bridal and I can't imagine a better show to end the evening.  It was full of glamour, excitement, colour, sparkle, fabulous models and high energy. However, as I was in the audience for their last show on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week in March 2015 (review HERE), I already knew that I was in for something special.

Opened in 1995, Sunny's Bridal Gallery (12960 84 Ave #100, Surrey) was the first high end South Asian Bridal Boutique in Vancouver.  Owners Sunny Sethi and Reshu Sethi offer top Indian designer label Lenghas, Sarees and Suits as well as men’s Achkans, Jodhpuris and Kurta Pajamas. Custom work is also available. I couldn't wait, so reached out to Show Coordinator Mesha Toor a few days before to get a brief heads-up on what we would be seeing -

 "IF YOU DON’T STAND FOR SOMETHING, YOU WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING. STAND IN STYLE.”  This season Sunny's Bridal will be presenting 25 women's contemporary bridal pieces for evening wear. Our inspiration behind this season' collection comes from our client's desire for bridal pieces ideal for destination weddings. The collection will consist of elegant pieces with neutral + pastel colours in uses of light gold and silver embroideries. In an effort to revive "the lost glory" of Banarasi fabrics, Sunny's Bridal show will open with hand-woven pieces in exquisite colours. We are excited to revive the Banarasi weaves in line with today's modern consumer."

This show popped right from the moment Toor, along with six gorgeous models. stepped onto the runway in an opening pose. Starting with strong, vibrant, high energy, brightly coloured looks really made everyone sit up in their seats, not easy after a long day of watching shows.

Love these ladies - Zara Durrani, Mesha Toor, Kanika Sasan
Then the lovely and talented Mesha Toor offered her own unique mix of style and subtle dance accents, taking her time as she glided down the runway. Each movement an offering to the audience. It set the stage perfectly for what was to follow.

What photographs can't convey is the amazing energy this show had, the way these beautiful garments sparkled in the spotlights and the enthusiastic and very vocal response from the appreciative audience. It was a hit from first look to final bows.  Kudos to all involved in this show!!!

If you want to know more or to contact Sunny's Bridal, please go to the website at