One of the greatest powers of clothing and make-up is their ability to shape and transform how we look and feel about ourselves. We spend a lifetime discovering who we are and what image we want to present to the world, experimenting with different styles and sticking with what feels most like ‘us’. With this outer packaging of self expression, we step out the door with our best foot forward.
What fun then to step outside our comfort zone and try on a completely different persona for a day. This concept was materialized by Helen Siwak of Kitsilano Kitty’s Closet (KKC), who hosted a Sugar vs. Spice Styling Showdown and Shopping Party on May 17 at the gorgeous Waterfall Building in Vancouver. KKC invited two renowned stylists, Nicolette Lang-Andersen and Styleby Dona, to head Team Sugar and Team Spice respectively. Style by Fire spots both powerhouse ladies regularly at various fashion events around town and attended one of Nicolette’s talks discussing her approach to styling.
As the head of Team Sugar, Nicolette put her styling chops to the test by giving two rockin’ ladies a style makeover – Shannon Thompson, a private investigator, and Paige Sierra, owner of street fashion and lifestyle blog StreetSide Fashion. Both ladies are known for their edgy style and Nicolette’s challenge was to transform them into elegant feminine ladies who lunch. Make-up and hair magic were done by The MakeUp Squad consisting of Terra French and Carrie Cheng.
On the opposite Team Spice headed by Styleby Dona, one gentleman and two normally genteel ladies were given a naughty style makeover – Josh Rimer, host of the web series “The Sassy Scoop”, Kerry M. Gibson, an entrepreneur and pro fundraiser, and Dominique Hanke, a milliner and stylist. The beauty makeover was taken care of by Tianna Tran, Aura Reed, Neet Ajula, Crystal Martinez, and Terry-Lynn.
The two stylists picked their ensembles out of KKC’s collection of gently used luxury designer wear. One by one, each team participant disappeared to get changed into her new outfit, returning for her grand reveal. And what an entrance each one made, met with gasps of delight and surprise from the audience. Shannon and Paige were a vision of class and subtlety in their spring citrusy coloured skirt suits complete with polka dots, pearls, and Grace Kelly-esque handbags. On the flipside, Kerry and Dominique were all about drama in simple black dresses punctuated by statement stud jewellery and contrasting clutch. It was fascinating to see how each woman looked just as stunning as always, but in a completely different way, leading one to view her in a new light. This style showdown was a fun way of proving that clothes do indeed make the (wo)man.
Aside from all the makeover action, KKC pulled out a selection of its clothing and shoe collections for audience members to dabble in a little retail therapy. There was even a $5 bin of shoes, all the proceeds of which went to charity. Art Zaratsyan‘s beautiful photographic prints of images from Cambodia and Ethiopia provided the perfect adornment for the walls, the sales of which went towards the efforts of the HOPE International Development Agency. All in all, it was a fun afternoon of fashion, transformation, and philanthropy, the combination of which can’t be beat.
Photography by Aurora Chan