La Saint Valentin

While I originally was not going to be able to attend this Valentine's Day extravaganza by LuvNGrace and Hennessy Cognac in Vancouver's beautiful Waterfall Building, a last minute business trip sent my husband out of town.  Out came my little black dress and faux fur jacket from Jacqueline Conoir.  Red accents were provided by jewellery (locally designed of course) and my favourite pair of Fluevog heels.  I wasn't the only one dressed to the nine's.  Everyone turned out in style.

                      "The [Waterfall] building was designed in 1996 by the legendary Arthur Erickson
                       The concrete and glass structure houses units for artists that combine living and 
                       work space. The focal point of the project is the central skylit gallery that 
                       is used as part of the sets for ABC’s “V” series as well as NBC’s “Facing Kate"

Hennessy Cognac - Image by Zed Studio
As always, I was greeted at the door by the uber-stylish Tracy Cake - smile and hug included. My next stop was to see DJ Miss Angel of Boy Meets Girl who already had the music flowing - a 2nd smile and hug for me! Then it was into the venue.  I have always loved this space.  A very tall vertical wall on one side and a full glass wall angling from ground level up to meet it on the other.  Probably the only negative is that is is a bit echo-y. The building has a great built in bar area where Hennessy Cognac set up a display and offered an array of special cocktails. My favourite was with Cranberry juice.  It not only delicious, but also had a beautiful red colour that suited the occasion.

Left Singers Jan Sam & Amber Samaya (Image by Pelman), Centre DJ Miss Angel (Image by Zed Studio)
Right Singer Sara K (Image by Jos Van Poederooyen)
There were 2 video crews working the event.  One was associated with the Waterfall Building. The second media team was filming a segment for a new pilot called Fashion File Media. The host for this project is the one and only Cynthia Pace of Style & Image with Cynthia.  Decked out in a sexy red Valentine's Day dress, six inch stilettos and a warm smile, she not only interviewed designers on camera, but styled Mandy Ross - the host of the evening - and could be found all evening chatting with attendees.

Cynthia Pace Interviewing the evening's host - Mandy Ross
Image by Zed Studio
I was thrilled to run into many industry friends that evening including Amy Yew from the Vancouver CourierJustin Voitic of Five Agency, actor/musician/designer Barry Ostash (Stavoc), Sue Randhawa of The Optical Boutique, Jennifer Little of Little Make-up Machine, Keiko Boxall of Studio Keiko and many, many more.I also was able to finally meet some of my wonderful Facebook friends in person such as the lovely Shannon Thompson!

Amy Yew and Sue Randhawa
Image by Aziz Dhamani

Jola V - Image courtesy of Hush Magazine

Several booths were there for guests to enjoy. I was particularly happy to see Jola V handbags. I have run into this designer at many events without realizing what she did for a living. When we finally sat face-to-face, I fell in love with one of her unique bags and purchased an amazing design in turquoise and burlap on the spot. Still looking for the right outfit to debut it with.  I also managed to snag a tasty cupcake by Lyttle Bake Shop.  It was delicious and tasted even better as it was hand delivered to me by a brand new aquaintence - Samantha Sito - which made me feel very special. Natural Glow Mobile was also there to offer information on their tanning mobile services.

I adore this image by Dan Poh of Tracy Cake with the display from the Lyttle Back Shop
Host Mandy Ross of Fashion TV had her work cut out for her this evening as the program was jam-packed, but she handled it easily with her warm smile and calm, graceful presence. She also took the time to wander through the crowd talking with everyone, making us all feel special. There were 3 focuses for the show portion - art, music and fashion.  While they were interspersed all evening, it's easier to mention them separately. Art displays by Miriam AroesteStacy Sakai and Liza Lee hung on the large gallery for us to enjoy as we mingled. For music we had live performances by Jan Sam and Amber Samaya (soft acoustic sounds), Sarah K (soulful R& B) and Jim Cummins (crowd pleasing). All performers did an amazing job, but I want to mention Cummins' performance in particular as he is actually best known for his I, Braineater artwork. For this evening he picked up an electric guitar and walked the runway as he sang to the crowd, stopping here and there for a more private serenade.  When he paused to give me some of that attention I was charmed - a highlight of my evening.

Jim Cummins charming the ladies - Image by Zed Studio
Five fashion shows featuring the work of 7 designers offered us a wide range from soft knits and eco-friendly fabrics to out of the box, statement making club wear.  First was Nicole Bridger - an eco designer with her finger firmly on the pulse of today's West Coast woman. We want to be stylish, comfortable and environmentally conscious and it all comes together in her collection. Paired with her garments was jewellery by Smitten Designs. Another show combined the Rock Star clothing of Nancy Perrault with chic hats created  by Dominique Hanke of Hive Minds Millernery. The combination of edgy, wearable looks worked well.  One new item for Perrault was some body painted vinyl fabric - a story well worth asking the next time you see her. Then there was Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie.  Her luxury line of comfortable high-end clothing created from reclaimed hosiery just has to be seen. Not only is it comfortable and easy to take care of, it is utterly unique. I was pleased she chose to put one look from her new menswear line on the runway - the only menswear we saw this evening.

Left Nicole Bridger, Centre Nancy Perrault and Hive Mind Millinery, Right Sans Soucie
Images by Aziz Dhamani
Pretty Bastard by TMC offered up among other things lots of leather strapping and metal detailing, although this was only one part of her show. Beautiful finishing accessories for these looks were courtesy of local designer Mishe Jewels. With an outside the box aesthetic I think the line would definitely appeal to the counter culture club set.  Last down the runway was a sneak peak mini-collection from a brand new designer - Guylaine Designs. One piece that stood out were some slim leggings with a white criss-cross design. I had the privilege of having a look at these ahead of time and was impressed to see all the white cording was appliqued on.  I think hand detailing will be one her trade marks when she officially launches.

Left Pretty Bastard, Right Guylaine Designs
Images by Aziz Dhamani
Special thanks to the sponsors who help made this evening possible - Hennessey Cognac, Luxe Beauty Lounge and Spa, Bella Garnet Salon, Natural Glow Mobile, Jola V Designs, Style and Image with Cynthia, Snap, Smitten Designs, Hush Magazine, The Sociables, Mishe Jewels, Lyttle Bake Shop, Liza J Lee & Associates, Stacy Sakai and Victoria Radbourne Designs.

Wanted to close with this fun photo shot by Dan Poh
of Barry, Tracy and Jennifer hamming it up.