Channelling Europe

By Lorraine Brett

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Sarah Pacini fashions

Sixty-three years after Roman Holiday afforded Audrey Hepburn her first Oscar and set the gamine young British actress on a course to become one of Hollywood’s screen legends and a 20th Century style icon, the famed Hepburn silhouette is back.  

A selection of European fashion retailers recently opened their doors in the Village at Park Royal in West Vancouver to unveil fall lines with a clear nod to the Givenchy couture we identify with Hepburn.

Sarah Pacini, an Italian line with 75 stores around the globe but only one in Western Canada uses the word “architectural” to describe its timeless appeal. Layers of artisan quality knitwear are also a defining element as is a sumptuous collection of shoes and jewellery.  

Terri Howie, manager of the new Sarah Pacini’s store, sees their 20 years of global success as a testament to the ability to deliver timeless, investment pieces, “that make any woman feel and look feminine and beautiful.” Sarah Pacini’s offers sizing from 6-16.

Caposhie’s, also at the Village at Park Royal, is focused on the Boomer consumer, both male and female, and while they create their own new Canadian designs, they likewise offer a selection of European designers, as General Manager Natalie Kostenko explains.

“Baby Boomers are retiring and starting a new chapter in their lives, but that doesn't mean they are looking to dress any less stylishly. We want to provide clothing that is stylish, classic and on trend,” says Kostenko.

Caposhie’s comfortable European lines include Part 2 and Kaffe from Copenhagen, with unique pieces sized from 2–14 and priced from $40-$300.  For fall, Part 2 delivers a capsule collection of their top-selling sweaters, each one representing a specific year of their 30 years of fashion success. For the Boomer man, Caposhie delivers two great local designers: Du/er Jeans and MyPakage.

“It’s comfort!” proclaims BC’s preeminent fashion retail entrepreneur and founder of Bellissima Fashions, Serena Kwei. A 41-year veteran of the BC fashion industry, Kwei takes exception to *Vogue* Editor Anna Wintour’s comment from the floor of New York’s Fashion Week last year, when she was captured on video saying, “Trend is a nasty word.”
“THE trend - is comfort!” Serena repeats emphatically. And she ought to know. After years of dressing women for Howe St. board rooms, she now sees her customers choosing comfort, whether for business or for casual.

Kwei has 22 stores across BC and Alberta, including one at Park Royal in West Vancouver and has travelled often to the exciting catwalks of London, Paris and Milan. She counts two private labels (including the Vivian Wong label), and an exclusive store, Bellessa, at Oakridge Mall in Vancouver, as part of her expanding retail industry in Canada.

When asked about the slim pant and ballet flats à la Audrey Hepburn, Kwei says, “as long as women want them they will be around.”

The “Queen of Ballet Flats” could hardly agree more. Jane Winkworth, who Vogue attributes with transforming the ballet flat into a style classic, began her hand-made collection in 1968, when Audrey Hepburn’s appeal was at its zenith. She now sells her luxurious, comfortable line globally in 400 locations, including her first-ever Canadian store, French Sole at the Village at Park Royal.

French Sole Manager Carol Blucher says, “This fall, look for a continuance of the extra-long boot and the square heels of the ’70s.” And, she continues, “‘Alpine’ is our new Après Ski look. You’ll see ski-boot fastenings, fur and embroidered trims and Alpine motifs on everything.”

For clothing, Bellisima’s Kwei says, “Look to European influence this fall for asymmetrical hemlines for both dresses and tops. Most significantly, look for the unique couture-influenced bubble-shaped silhouette.”  

Audrey would be so pleased!


september 2016 INSPIRED senior living


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