Wednesday, June 15, 2016

High Society

It feels very strange to be writing about attending a fashion/fundraising event when only a few days ago 50 people were shot to death in a gay bar in Orlando Florida.  My deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of those who were killed or injured in the attack, and once more, I am very grateful that I live in a country with stronger gun legislation, and for the love and acceptance I have in my life.

When I was visiting Vancouver, Melanie was able to secure us invitations to a chi chi event - a private reception for celebrity photographer Emma Dunlavey and fundraiser for Beauty Night Society.  The event was hosted by LuvnGrace Entertainment at LEONE, an elegant palace of a store that sells luxury goods from designers like Prada, Dior, Alexander McQueen and Georgio Armani, to name a few.

Yours truly and Melanie with Colleen Tsoukalas, who told Melanie about the event

Melanie and I weren't sure what to expect, as this was not the kind of thing we attended regularly.  According to the Facebook description of the event, (it) "will host an elevated list of key influencers in Vancouver and those who are notoriously savvy in the art scene: a truly high-fashion mix of local socialites and celebrities, models, photographers and up and coming “cool” kids that have both industry legitimacy and international resonance."  
Not being influencers, socialites, celebrities, etc. we assumed we would be the proverbial "fish out of water".

As soon as we entered the store, we were greeted by Vernard Goud, of LuvnGrace Entertainment, wearing a vintage jacket and a custom Boar's head neckpiece by Carolyn Bruce Designs

LEONE is a spacious store full of beautiful stuff, all of it priced well beyond my budget.  That didn't stop me from enjoying the eye candy, like this lovely appliqued dress.  I liked the simple black and white colour scheme of the mannequins which made the clothing the focal point.
Although I can never imagine spending $1,000 on one piece of clothing, I can appreciate that when you are dealing with that kind of price point, there is a quality and creativity in the use of fabric and embellishment that you're never going to find at Forever 21.  Kitten soft cashmere knits, fabulously bold prints, and uniquely constructed garments drew my eye to many of the pieces on the racks.

I really, really wanted this uniquely shaped down-filled jacket, which was on a sale rack downstairs where the slightly less expensive brands were featured, but even on sale it was more than I could spend.  Sigh.....

Anyway, back to the people...

I was intrigued by this woman's brightly coloured mesh jacket and I liked how her shoes matched the pops of red in the pattern.

Melanie (left) and Denice Thompson (right)

I complimented Denice (above right) on her facinator and her beautiful jacket, and that lead to a long, enthusiastic conversation about style, ageing, and life in Vancouver.  Melanie and I were buoyed by our encounter with her and it set a positive note for the the rest of the evening.

Carolyn Bruce Designs had brought a number of pieces of her Steampunk jewellery to the event, The massive size of her work was eye-catching enough, and I also  loved the Game of Thrones vibe of the styles and elements used. 

My favourite was the Geisha-themed neckpiece, but I also appreciated the appeal of a James Bond theme and the always popular skulls.

Carolyn Bruce, wearing a stunning multi-layered piece of her own design featuring two eagle heads

Rich, in the photo above, accessorized his blue ensemble with custom-designed insect-themed brass rings and collar piece by Carolyn Bruce.

These young women are Janice Skoreyko, (left) founder of RAW Foundation, and Emma Smith, owner and founder of Zimt Chocolates.  Zimt is a raw, vegan chocolate with a lovely smooth texture and a hint of coconut flavour (I tried one of the samples of course).

Beauty Night Society founder, Caroline MacGillivray, introduced British-born photographer Emma Dunlavey to the crowd.  Images from Emma's book RAW, a collaboration with Pamela Anderson, were enlarged, framed, and on display, (above right), and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the photos, (as well as a copy of the book which was auctioned off) went towards assisting Beauty Night Society in providing wellness, life skills, and makeovers for impoverished women.  

There were some very well-dressed men at the event.  Photographer David Bong looked very sharp in his patterned jacket and ascot.

Monny (above) has owned Envision Optical Designs in Kitsilano for the past 25 years.   His photographer and style consultant's eye for detail is consultant is evident in his personal style, from the eyeglasses, striped scarf and contrasting shoe laces.

Bikram made a lasting impression because he was beautifully dressed and delightfully charming.  David Bong had just tried to win him over to wearing ascots and had tied the print scarf around his neck just before I took this photo.

Melanie snapped this photo of Yuliana and myself at the end of the evening.  We were surprised at how much we had enjoyed ourselves chatting with people who we would have initially thought we would have nothing in common with, which just goes to show that if you are open to new experiences and willing to step outside your comfort zone, you can end up having a marvelous time.   

Thanks very much to Vernard, of LuvnGrace Entertainment, for the invitations to the event


  1. That looks like a blast! What an eclectic group of people and so very fashionable. I like the funky jewelry, but I'm often put off by those types of pieces when the parts are just stock pieces that come from China. I mean, I appreciate the creativity in assembling them, but somehow I want all of it to be handmade.

    I love your shoulder-licious jacket, Shelley! You look amazing!

  2. Shelley, you described so well how this event felt. I wouldn't have gone without you - you were my security blanket! It was wonderful to meet so many interesting and talented people and I'm happy Vernard could find room for us. I'm also glad you got a shot of the bat-wingish jacket - I never made it downstairs. Great photos. What a fun night it was!

  3. very interesting event, many interesting people to meet and lots of fabulous clothes and jewelry to enjoy: i would love to buy that jacket too, and those amazing big necklaces (ohhh, that steampunk inspiration!)
    Glad you enjoyed everything, and I agree about attending 'out of confort zone' events!, finally it's very interesting!
    And you look gorgeous, ladies!

  4. You took some really wonderful photos of the event and the people that attended.

    Kudos to you both for getting out and mingling.


  5. Fabulous photos, outfits and stories of an event you may not have been sure about but you caught the vibe, great post, fascinating!

  6. Whoah! I was going to say something interesting and then I saw Bikram and now I'm rendered speechless.
    That looks an interesting event. I'm like an old granny when I look at expensive clothing, checking out where it's made and how well it's constructed, tut-tutting at the price.
    Love Carolyn Bruce's jewellery! xxx

  7. What a stylish bunch. I love these photos. Just love 'em! You and Melanie are the BEST duo. I always tell Melanie that she should have her own TV show, could definitely be her co-host. It would be the best thing since Elsa Klensch!!!!

  8. maybe one day the USA will wise up about guns. Every time this happens I lose a little more hope.

    On a more fun note: you two "cool kids" rocked that event

  9. You and Melanie took this event by storm. No big surprise! Beautiful review Shelley! The photos and the commentary. I agree with Connie! A TV show could be in your future!

  10. You're a great photographer and writer! You have my card, so please check out the picture of you and Mel. I didn't add names this time, but would like to add you and your blog, next time. Colleen Tsoukalas

    1. Thank you for the kind words, and I did see the photo of us you posted.

  11. I have to say, Shelley, I LOVE your fabulous jacket! Who needs to pay $1,000 to look a million dollars! And Melanie, too. It's how you wear it, and you wear it so very well. It did look a really interesting time was had by never know if you never go... thanks heaps for more fabulous fun.

  12. You and Mel are stars among the star! Love your jacket, awesome hair, and trademark Converse! xox


  13. Great post but I was wondering if you could write a little more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thanks in advance! shagle