Van Cleef & Arpels plans 2017 opening in Vancouver Luxury Zone

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In January, Paris-based luxury jewellery brand Van Cleef & Arpels expanded within the Maison Birks, and opened its largest Canadian location at the corner of Granville and West Hastings with an elbow-to-elbow full house.

van cleef launch

Opening event | Ibrahim Aytug

The expansion was completed with hand-crafted details, private library area, crystal chandelier and wall sconces, and included black lacquered-wood furniture, and custom gold leaf wall coverings with hand-painted florals.

van cleef

Interiors | Helen Siwak

Fast forward three months and Kingswood Capital Corporation has announced that the property under construction at Burrard and Thurlow streets, will be 8,000 square feet with Van Cleef & Arpels occupying the majority of the space with another luxury brand.

With an anticipated opening in 2017, the location is approximately 4,000+ square feet and will add to the shiny cluster of ‘Luxury Zone’ jewellery boutiques. Within walking distance of the two storey structure (according to renderings) are GWC, Lao Feng Xiang, the iconic Tiffany and diamond legend De Beers.

New addition to the Luxury Zone

van cleef

Construction begins | Kenneth Chan

Construction is already underway as reported by Kenneth Chan in a VCB article on March 29. The Grosvenor Building location drew controversy last year as word got around that the cherry-tree lined plaza was to be bulldozed to make way for further luxury retail development and the public lamented the loss of another public space.

According to Craig Patterson at Retail-Insider, “Van Cleef & Arpels will be a terrific addition to Alberni Street, and it will join other luxury brands. Vancouver’s ‘Luxury Zone’ now rivals Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville as Canada’s most prestigious urban retail node, and sources confirm that even more luxury brands are confirmed to be opening in the area”.

van cleef

Exterior | Helen Siwak

The future of the Van Cleef & Arpels location, within Maison Birks, has not been announced but it could be speculated that it will remain operational until the 2017 completion of the stand-alone store.

(This article by Helen Siwak was originally published in a different format in

Holt Renfrew Reveals Expansion Plans

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Holt Renfrew, Canada’s luxury specialty retailer, has been a part of the Vancouver community since 1975. It made the move to Granville and Dunsmuir in 2007, and is currently undergoing major renovations that will continue into 2017.

The renovations include a highly anticipated Chanel flagship store that is currently under construction with an anticipated opening this summer. Other shops that will be expanded or relocated will be Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, David Yurman, Gucci, Prada, Dior, and Tom Ford.

The renovation will take place in stages, with various shops, concepts, and services opening over the next 12 months. The store will continue to serve customers during this period and approximately 80 new positions will be added as a result of the expansion with recruitment for management talent begins this week.

The Vancouver flagship was designed by New York-based architectural firm Janson Goldstein, who have also designed the current updates. Total square footage of the new Holt’s will be approximately 190,000 square feet, with the additional 40,000 square feet of space adjacent to the existing store’s Pender Street entrance.

A major expansion of the women’s leather goods and footwear area will triple in size, while the jewellery area will increase by approximately 50%. In addition to the expansion, anticipated to come to completion in 2017, approximately 80% of the existing store will be renovated.

Within the new expanded space, Holt Renfrew Men will have a new entrance on Howe Street. There will be over 15 menswear brands added to existing lines such as Rick Owens, Loewe, Amiri, Off White, Dries Van Noten, Officine Generale, Lardini and Wooster+ Lardini, Stone Island, and Berluti.

The Holts Café will open in summer 2016 and will feature an 80 seat restaurant which will include fine dining experience, a cocktail bar and private dining room.

The company is getting ready to offer a set of enhanced luxury services, including a master tailor, shoeshine station and sneaker cleaning. A Leather Artisan will also be available to provide bespoke embossing details on any leather accessory and offer full service repair.

The new Jewellery & Watch service will feature onsite specialists and the new Beauty Lab, Nail Bar and Style Studio will offer innovative products and pampering.

Holt Renfrew Private Luxury Services

Later this year, occupying over 7,000 square feet on two levels, the expanded Personal Shopping area (in addition to the two suites within Holt Renfrew Men) will feature five elegantly appointed private suites and The Apartment. Clients will also be able to make use of the personal styling services and the 4th floor patio which overlooks Granville and Dunsmuir Streets.

(This article by Helen Siwak was originally published in

Middle Sister Boutique Brings Spring to Kits

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Middle Sister Boutique welcomed style and fashion lovers, bloggers and television personalities to celebrate the arrival of the spring season with fresh new collections from Korea’s Ti:baeg and LIE (Love. Identity. Ego), and Vancouver-based MEZZI.

Ti:baeg designer Cho EunAe has been dubbed a rising star, showing her collections as part of Seoul Fashion Week‘s new designer series “Generation Next” for the past four seasons.

The 2015 Spring/Summer Collection was inspired by a garden tea party and brings those bright colours and charming patterns to each piece.

LIE – Love. Identity. Ego – is another Korean brand exclusive to Middle Sister in Canada and is designed by Lee Chung-Chung, the son of Korean fashion design Lie Sang Bong. LIE collection is inspired by the colour ‘scarlet’ and features bold geometric patterns, pleats and short hemlines in a myriad of bright red-orange hues.

Local handbag designer MEZZI‘s most popular styles – the Elletra clutch and the Cosima handbag – are available at MSB. This fashion-technology company outfits each of its hangbags with an in-bag USB cable charger and bluetooth tracking capabilities. The MEZZI app will notify you when you have been separated from your bag and the USB charger keeps you connected all day long! Why did it take so long for a company to turn our dreams into reality?

Middle Sister Boutique makes sure no one leaves empty-handed!

Celebrating one-of-a-kind designers from around the world and right here at home, Middle Sister is diversifying Vancouver’s fashion landscape so that everyone can embrace their own personal sense of style.

Prada Quietly Launches Canadian Flagship in Vancouver

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On Friday, March 11th at 10:00am, the chrome and glass doors of the Prada flagship were unlocked, quietly announcing the Italian luxury brand had opened for business in Vancouver. Associates in white gloves ushered in, and welcomed, those who were waiting patiently in the cool morning air. Located at 1098 Alberni Street, it is the latest luxury brand to open in the city’s soon-to-be maximized ‘Luxury Zone‘.

Prada’s exterior facade features chrome and slim strips of black Marquinia marble. The store’s ground floor features two entrances. This flagship was designed by Studio Baciocchi, an architect registered in Italy, who has created Prada stores worldwide which are known for their elegance, clean-lines and European aesthetic.

The store features women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, leather goods, accessories and footwear collections. Mannequin’s featuring the latest women’s collection are featured throughout the space with patterns, stripes and oversized paillettes in colour and black and white combinations.

Prada brings patterns and textures back for Spring/Summer

Signature black-and-white marble chequered flooring covers much of the store. As well, the store features steel and crystal display counters and the trademark Verner Panton “Clover Leaf” sofas sections which have been distributed throughout the store as a full sofa is much too large to be accommodated on either of the floors.

The various departments are separated by mirrored and marble portals which reflect the flooring and the garments and give patrons a sense of a continuous Prada inspired fantasy.

Walls textures were created with a combination of a green fabric (which has the texture of a coarse raw silk), which has been overpainted a soft sea foam green. Precious leather goods and jewellery is defined by black Marquinia marble-clad walls.

The second-floor features large floor-to-ceiling windows, sections of the “Clover Leaf” sofa, transparent perspex cases, skylights and display tables.

Patrons ascend to the second floor to women’s ready-to-wear, men’s wear and Made-to-Measure via hidden elevator or by the black marble staircase which has chrome railings and mirrors so one almost feels caught in an Escher masterpiece.

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Men’s Ready-to-Wear | Helen Siwak

The men’s section features a more masculine feel and the materials used reflect this with finishes such as ebony floorboards and walls, metal and crystal display units and ‘Wilson’s Purple’ ostrich leather sofas.

There is strong contrast between the furnishings and the latest men’s collection which uses imagery of large eyes with fluttering lashes, rabbits, monkeys, and space shuttles.

Men’s Casual Ready-to-Wear | Helen Siwak

The men’s Made-to-Measure department is the only one of its kind in Canada for Prada. According to a sales associate, pricing may reach up to $28,000 for a three piece suit depending on the purchasers taste in fabrics, buttons and stitchwork. The fabric selection is exclusive to Prada and includes various wools and combinations with mohair and other exotic animal hair.

The use of ‘Wilson’s Purple‘ is a departure from the standard emerald green furniture previously displayed in the renderings published by Prada. Display counters with Saffiano leather detailing in bright hues complement the furnishings.

Next month Prada will be hosting a luxury workshop where shoppers looking for the ultimate heels, will be able to ‘build their own shoes’ and the event will be by invite only. Ensure on your next visit, to have your details added to their mailing list!

(This article by Helen Siwak was originally published in a shorter version in