Vancouver Evening Style


Recently, I was at a friend’s birthday party at La Pentola Della Quercia in the OPUS Hotel Yaletown, when I looked up and saw something SPARKLE.

bride shoes

At the bar was a beautiful bride and her groom having a nightcap in full wedding attire. The bride’s retro style was very evocative, and evidently she had designed the beaded, low-back gown, accentuated with jewelry and sparkly shoes.

Seeing this bride, just dripping with glamour, I got a distinctly nostalgic feeling. The look is such a welcome departure from the conventional, puffy or ‘puffless’, strapless wedding dresses that seems to dominate the wedding scene.

bride in bar

This Gatsbyesque style dress by contrast is not only glamourous, it’s practical.   A bride, according to traditional wedding designer Reem Acra, “…wants the glamour, but she wants the flowy dress — so she can move — the sexiness and the embellishment,” she said. “All these elements, in my mind, are saying ’20s.”

Jenny Packham, an evening wear and bridal gown designer in London, comments, “It was a wonderfully liberating time for women, to wear modern no-fuss clothing.” There’s a “strong contemporary relevance,” she added.

You don’t want to overdo it though and risk looking like a period piece.  Instead, like this bride, update the look by focusing on the Art Deco embellishments and dress cut. The long reverse pendant necklace is playful, and accentuates the bare plunging backline of the dress.


Back to the party……cousins with style.


What Makes a City Vibrant?

Vibrancy is People.

“A city is about having a center, or an intersection people tend to associate with culture, gatherings, and activities. A vibrant city has a core and a pulse that is always beating and when you visit that core place your spirit is lifted and you leave having experienced something new and different.” (from CEOs for Cities)


Keeping our cities vibrant: Vancouver’s example:

Citizens of Strathcona rejected a freeway through Chinatown in 1967  “Immediately, protest came from every part of the city, and a crowd of 800 people gathered in City Hall to shout down the consultants’ proposals. The Chairman of the city’s planning commission resigned on the spot, and a year later, the plan was scrapped. Apparently, the spirited editorializing of the local papers in favor of cutting out civic blight with a concrete knife had influenced no one but a handful of architects.” read more

save kensingston poster

Keeping our cities vibrant: Toronto’s Kensington Market’s example:

Having just spent a few wonderful days in the Annex and Kensington Market, I am so happy to see a neighbourhood pull together to voice their concerns over the negative impact of big box retail.

“People don’t walk to stores in a walkable city, they walk through neighbourhoods with stores,” said Vaughan (a Toronto City Councillor) while at the podium. “Big box is the antithesis of a walkable city.” read more.

Have a look at Toronto’s Annex and Kensington Market through the eyes’ of a traveler (me).

IMG_5567IMG_5436IMG_5469IMG_5437In the lanes of the Annex, graffiti artists show their work. Every garage was the canvas and the lanes became the gallery.  IMG_5571 IMG_5577 IMG_5572 IMG_6001 IMG_5608 IMG_5685 IMG_5700 IMG_5740 IMG_5798 IMG_5780 IMG_3829 IMG_3846 IMG_5690 IMG_5519  IMG_5449 IMG_3790 IMG_5339 IMG_5318 IMG_5344 IMG_6004 IMG_5477 IMG_5498 IMG_5587 IMG_5475 IMG_5443For some, their work is political.

People are at the center of vibrant, livable cities.



Yarn Bombing the Latest in Street Art

Yarn bombing, also known as guerrilla knitting, is the latest thing in street art. This art form  uses colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn, or fibre, rather than paint or chalk. Yarn bombing’s popularity has spread throughout the world.  While other forms of graffiti may be expressive, decorative, territorial, socio-political commentary, advertising or vandalism, yarn bombing was initially almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places (source).
Photos above and below are from Yarn Bombing on-line Community.
I have seen yarn bombing interventions in my own neighbourhhod. Often it is where there is a chain link fence or some other unsightly urban reminder. There are yarn bombing community groups that bring together the work of guerrilla artists from all over the world.

Photo Source: Time Photos

Artist Madga Sayeb, ‘bombs’ a bus in Mexico City. As you can see bombing takes time, concentration, and works around the artist’s design strategy.  You can see many of her pieces are in fun but you can certainly see the socio-political commentary on some of her other pieces (see below. Photo Source: Time Photos).  Look forward to hearing more about Madga Sayeb in future blog posts from tina + design.

The first 2 photos are from North Vancouver taken by Graham Smith. The Firefighters add knit cherry blossoms to a tree at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, Canada (Photo Source: Time Photos).

The yarn bombed tree, above, on Lonsdale in North Vancouver bears message tags from its creators; proud of their whimsical creation and proud to be part of an artistic community.  To me yarn bombing is a subtler, softer form of subversive art than grafitti.  I like the randomness of the intervention contrasted with the detailed work to execute it.  Unlike graffiti, yarn bombing’s anonymity is somehow personalized by the homespun warmth associated with wool and, in this case, by these hand lettered name tags.  The contrast between public art intervention with the harmless whimsicality of location, form and colour elicits a nuanced, amusing irony.


Street Art: Montreal

My daughter and I were walking to a restaurant on Boulevard St. Laurent, in Montreal, when we came upon this amazing 3 sided + ceiling wall mural. The black and white artwork in these photos is very captivating. What is interesting is that the mural is painted in a private driveway/loading bay but creatively engages with the community in a way that reinforces a community’s sense of place or well-being in society.

A principle of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” (Wikipedia)

This totally accessible street art made us stop and think about who these artists were, and what they were trying to convey to us through these images. More importantly, we engaged with Boulevard St. Laurent in a way we were not expecting.