Just Smiles Gala fundraiser for Operation Smile

ecoluxury, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile

The Just Smiles Gala night benefiting Operation Smile, promised a glamorous evening of mystery, martinis and magic in classic James Bond style at the Hycroft Mansion and it delivered on its promise.

ecoluxury, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile
Flavour of the night! | Norm Lee Photography

The highly acclaimed ‘Just Smiles Gala’ for Operation Smile was held at the beginning of April in conjunction with Miss Universe Canada. Known for their ability to transport guests into the past with their sophisticated and richly stimulating events, Laura Guzman (Miss Universe Canada 2016 finalist), Lavanya Hiremath (model and event production), and their organizing committee brought a James Bond themed event to the Hycroft mansion.

ecoluxury, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile
Laura Guzman | Norm Lee Photography

The second incarnation of this charity fundraiser was evening of food, fun, and fashion. Guests brought their glamour attitudes that would have made Miss Moneypenny blush as they stepped in to a different time that is afforded by holding the event at such an historic venue.

ecoluxury, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile
Loretta Lai & Paul Oei | Norm Lee Photography

“It was a well-attended mansion party with luxury cars, beautiful women, high rollers, action, intrigue–many of the elements you’d expect from a 007 affair, plus a few things you might not … all for a great cause.”  Kent Schmor, KS Champagne Parties

ecoluxury, LaBiosthetique team, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile
Top notch entertainment via ballroom dancers & duo Eli Bennett and Rosemary Siemens performed | Norm Lee Photography
ecoluxury, LaBiosthetique team, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile
Well dressed attendees enjoying the evening. Lavanya Hiremath, one of the organizers – top right | Norm Lee Photography

All money raised from ticket sales and the event will be used to heal the smiles of children with cleft palates and other facial deformities. This tremendous work is done through the registered international charity Operation Smile.  Last year’s debut event took place at the Fox Cabaret.

Operation Smile conducts hundreds of medical missions in over 60 countries to cure cleft lip or cleft palate deformities.  Children who are born with a cleft condition have a gap in either the roof of their mouth, in their lip, or both.  Facial deformities like these are not just superficial in nature – in addition to the societal stigma, they affect babies’ ability to breastfeed, to function and to lead normal lives. As one of the 4 most common birth defects to be recorded [as per studies in the US], Operation Smile believes that all children should have access to safe surgery and medical care.

ecoluxury, LaBiosthetique team, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile
Camilo the Magician entertaining guests | Norm Lee Photography
ecoluxury, LaBiosthetique team, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile
DJ Cho Cha and friend | Norm Lee Photography

It is estimated that each operation costs an average of $240 USD and can be performed in as little as 45 minutes. A small gift like this changes the lives of a child as well as the people who love them. Although this years event may have fell short a few smiles, the organizers were inundated with more items from their sponsors than they could comfortably auction and are currently setting up an online auction page where everyone will be able to bid on items from hotel stays, to interior design packages to beauty products. 

The BTS team for ‘Just Smiles’ for Operation Smile

ecoluxury, LaBiosthetique team, luxury fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, helen siwak, retail shopping, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, Just Smiles Gala, Operation Smile
Models and La Biosthetique Team | Norm Lee Photography

Article by Helen Siwak. All photography credited.

 

 

Eco Fashion Week changes it up for 2016

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy

Vancouver’s annual sustainable fashion event is now in its 10th edition and Eco Fashion Week continues to raise global awareness for socially, environmentally and economically sustainable consumption.

Eco Fashion Week Kicks It into high gear

Eco Fashion Week

Press Conference 2016 | Alfonso Arnold for Eco Fashion Week

Running from April 9 to 14, EFW is venturing beyond the ballroom at the Fairmont Waterfront, to various locations around the city including RYU in Kitsilano, the Waterfall Building in False Creek, and Mercer Creative on Granville Island.

Eco Fashion Week

Eco Fashion Week 2015 H&M Conscious Collection | Eco Fashion Week

This year’s event will feature local and international designers in partnership with pre-loved fashion heaven Value Village, the impeccable Fairmont Waterfront, with hair and make-up creativity by cruelty-free line La Biosthétique led by Marc Riese.

The opening night will be hosted at ​RYU (Respect Your Universe)​. This innovative and environmentally responsible athletic brand will present an insider’s view of athletic wear development evolution–understanding the purpose of athletic apparel and the practice of sustainable development.

Eco Fashion Week

Stylist Dominique Hanke and 68 Pound Value Village ‘Mean Girls’ Collection from 2015 | Eco Fashion Week)

The ever popular and entertaining Thrift Style Challenge is back and is definitely the most anticipated of the runway shows. Three stylists – Nadia Albano, Nathalie Rees and newcomer Jason Pillay – will be given $500 in Value Village gift certificates to create ten runway-worthy outfits using only gently-used clothing from the racks of Value Village stores.

Eco Fashion Week

81 Pound Challengers for 2016: Nadia Albano, Nathalie Rees and newcomer Jason Pillay. (Alfonso Arnold/Eco Fashion Week)

Sadly, the 68 Pound Challenge has been re-named the 81 Pound Challenge, sponsored by Value Village, to reflect the growing amount of waste the average North Americans throw away each year. The change up this year is all the participants are fashion students from Visual College of Art and Design (VCAD) mentored by three established fashion professionals and VCAD teachers Jason Matlo, Wen-chee Liu, and Glencora Twigg.

Eco Fashion Week

The Eco Fashion Week Team with VCAD judges | Alfonso Arnold | Eco Fashion Week

The runway collections will be held at the Fairmont Waterfront and the line-up promises to be creatively diverse with designers from New Delhi, Nashville, London, and more. This year’s focus is will on celebrating the origins and roots of the sustainable fashion industry. Internationally renowned Jeff Garner of ​ Prophetik designs​, traditional garments from New Delhi by ​Sonam Dubal​, and a celebration of Aboriginal history by Wendy van Riesen​ in collaboration with Haida artist ​Reg Davidson.​

Eco Fashion Week

Chic Sheets Challenge in conjunction with Fairmont Waterfront 2015 | Eco Fashion Week

Also, returning is the creative Chic Sheets challenge with the theme “Celebrating 70 years of Balmain”. Attendees learned last year that the hotel industry goes through tons of bed linens each year and EFW has created a contest in which eight designers, including Tammy Joe (Young Oak), and Kim Cathers (Project Runway Canada) to transform the used linens from the Fairmont Waterfront into editorial worthy looks inspired by Balmain that will be displayed at CF Pacific Centre shopping mall.

Eco Fashion Week would not be complete without education. Besides runway shows and recycling contests, informative panels and events on will be hosted by local personalities, such as Fiona Forbes (Shaw TV) and Erin Cebula (Entertainment Tonight Canada). Special guests include Nicole Bridger, John Fluevog, Kyle Rudzinski (Levi and Strauss Co), Tony Shumpert (Value Village, Jenny Hughes (Me & You), and Sean Schmidt (Future-ish).

(This article by Helen Siwak was originally published in VancityBuzz.com)

O’Gara LAFW Welcomes Vancouver Talent

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, LAFW, Los Angeles Fashion Week

From the Opening Gala at prestigious Columbia Square on Sunset Boulevard to the legendary model Veruschka walking for designer Esther Perbandt, Los Angeles Fashion Week (LAFW) has grown dramatically – both in stature and reputation.

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, LAFW, Los Angeles Fashion Week

Opening Gala runway performance | RicoMejia.com

Growing LAFW from an event with a troubled past to representing a new standard on the west coast, is thanks to Vancouverite Arthur ‘Tito’ Chipman.

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, LAFW, Los Angeles Fashion Week

Arthur ‘Tito’ Chipman | RicoMejia.com

Arthur has assumed the helm as the Executive Producer of LAFW and after several years working at Vancouver’s own fashion week, he is more than comfortable calling the shots down south in the City of Angels. His right-hand woman is comfortably ensconced behind the scenes as Fashion Director and ensuring the show goes off without a hitch.

LAFW showcased some of the best award-winning talent from Los Angeles and all over the world including many emerging, established, and internationally renowned designers, such as George Styler, Marcelo Quadros, and Toit Volant.

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, LAFW, Los Angeles Fashion Week

Designers George Styler, Marcelo Quadros, and Toit Volant | RicoMejia.com

Interview with LAFW’s Arthur Chipman

When did you make the decision to move and what was the impetus?

I decided to move to California just over a year ago. A big part of the decision was my love for the LA lifestyle, family residing nearby, and once in a lifetime career growth opportunities.

How are you enjoying the fashion community in LA?

The fashion community in LA is extremely diverse, very talented, and some of the most innovative risk takers I’ve ever met. I love it here. It’s really inspiring to be a part of this creative movement of fashion and art where even the big names like Tom ford, Saint Laurent, Burberry and more are choosing to show here, over other cities. It just goes to show the potential of what a city like LA has.

Why do you think Vancouver talent should venture out of their comfort zone (VFW, VALT, ECO) and hit a wider world market to achieve success?

For models and talent alike who choose to come south of the border, just know that with bigger risk comes bigger reward. So never fear the unknown as it could be the best thing to ever happen to you.

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, LAFW, Los Angeles Fashion Week

Therés Amee, Samantha Sito, Tatianna Taylor-Tait, Jihan Amer RicoMejia.com

This season, recognizable Vancouverites were representing at LAFW. Therés Amee (host, actor, model, director), Samantha Sito (freelance style & entertainment writer), Tatianna Taylor-Tait (co-owner/designer at PaeganRitual.com), Jihan Amer (Wilhemina Curve Model and actor), and Yasmin Morshedian (MUAH at OWN Network).

Given that LAFW now boasts 40 worldwide collections, over 20,000 guests and has a social media reach of 50,000,000, is it any wonder why these women packed it up for a week and headed down to the sunshine? In the end, after all the runway shows are over, they returned to Vancouver wiser and definitely are sharing what they learned with their friends and associates.

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, LAFW, Los Angeles Fashion Week

Therés Amee working with documentary crew at LAFW | Jihan Amer

For Therés Amee, being in front of the camera comes naturally so it was only fitting that she obtained a clothing sponsorship from local start-up MyModernCloset.com. Therés Amee had also worked with Arthur at VFW for many years, feels that the LAFW experience “Is always chaotic fun. Being a part of a Canadian innovation in the American fashion scene is a celebratory collaboration. There is so much Canadian talent that needs to be spread down south and recognized.”

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, LAFW, Los Angeles Fashion Week

Jihan Ahmer on the runway | Therés Amee

Jihan, one of Canada’s top curve models, walked the runway in the ‘Efflorescence Collection’ for designer Jenine Nerecina and relished the experience. “I had the pleasure of walking for the breathtaking Cosmogyral show and I loved how Jenine showcased women of all sizes. The energy from the red carpet to backstage was surreal and proved to me that LA is where I need to be in order to be at the forefront of fashion.”

ecoluxury, fashion, blogger, fblogger, style, theclosetyvr, EcoLuxLuv, vancouver, yvr, vancity, designer, luxury, helen siwak, retail, vancitybuzz, styledemocracy, LAFW, Los Angeles Fashion Week

Back stage at LAFW | Therés Amee

“I think that bloggers, writers, and individuals in fashion, regardless of where in the world they reside in, hit a point where they want to see what the culture of fashion is like and how fashion week is different from city to city, country to county. LAFW was a new experience, and definitely an exciting one and having familiar faces to share it with was the icing on the cake.” – Samantha Sito of Otisamantha.com

The next LAFW is in October 2016 and registration for designers is already available. Spread the word creative’s, we hear the weather is still very warm in LA in the fall. Umbrella’s not required!

(This article by Helen Siwak was originally published in Vancitybuzz.com)