At Gastown Shop Hop, hot deals, new stars—and drinks

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This just in: according to a growing number of hipster mags and the well-travelled fashionistas who read them, Gastown is one of the most stylish neighbourhoods in the world. Of course, we already knew this. Still, it’s nice to see our city’s historical hot spot finally get the props it deserves from the international community—if for no other reason than to prove once and for all that Vancouver is so much more than the land of lululemon. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I’m actually typing this in my yoga pants.)

Since this good news has only recently hit the cobblestone streets, you can bet the upcoming biannual Gastown Shop Hop on Thursday (November 15) is going to have even more of a celebratory vibe than usual. From 5 to 9 p.m., shoppers can enjoy a special evening of discounts, drinks, treats, and music at their favourite boutiques, including Dream (311 West Cordova Street), the Block (350 West Cordova Street) and Two of a Few (356 Water Street).

Timeline Boutique (63 East Cordova Street), which opened in July, is on the roster of participating retailers for the first time. This beautiful, 1,100-square-foot clothing, shoe, denim, and accessory store specializes in high-end consignment on the first floor, so look for the likes of Betsey Johnson, Maison Scotch, and BCBG Max Azria. Many of the designer threads are so unscathed, they still have the tags on them, and in most cases, you’re saving about 70 percent from the original price. And for Shop Hop, you can expect to save an additional 10 percent off everything in the store, including the loft level’s red carpet–ready section. That’s where you’ll find Timeline’s house brand, One of a Kind. Created by Scottish designer Norma Sheerin, these pieces are made with “previously appreciated” fabrics, including men’s neck ties that were used to create a series of gowns. Sound ambitious? It is, but as Timeline owner Azura Cook points out, Sheerin’s résumé speaks volumes about her abilities.

“She has made clothes for Cher and Sir Elton John,” says Cook. “We’re very, very happy to have her here.”

Meanwhile, at Holly (215–332 Water Street), owner Holly Wong will be slashing her prices by 20 to 70 percent off during Shop Hop. At her “fun, young, fresh” boutique, expect to find sexy little numbers like Rebecca Taylor’s studded Nailhead Dress ($495).

“It’s very much a statement piece,” says Wong, who, like many Gastown retailers, carefully curates her store so that customers don’t have to worry about running into designer doppelgängers. “You don’t want everybody to have the same piece. So I don’t order a lot of sizes.”

Over at LYNNsteven (325 Carrall Street), owner Nicole Dennis Durnin is marking everything in the entire store down by 20 percent for the Shop Hop. Look for specials on her fashion as well as beauty products—most notably RODIN Olio Lusso, a coveted line of skin care that Durnin herself swears by. (FYI: word on the street is that oils—as opposed to creams—are the latest thing in moisturizing trends.)

“I’m very into the face oil,” says Durnin. “I love the smell and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy.”

The Aveda Institute Vancouver (101–111 Water Street) will be offering complimentary makeup touchups as well as free hand, neck, scalp, and shoulder massages. Plus, if you buy $50 or more of their beauty products, you get a free haircut—not on the spot, mind you; there’s too much boozing and bargain-hunting to do on this eve. So instead, you can redeem your voucher in the first few months of 2013.

In addition to all the fashion, beauty, and design stores getting in the swing, many surrounding restaurants and bars will offer dining and drink deals for shoppers—which might be a good time to raise a glass to our beloved Gastown. After all, it’s not just one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Vancouver anymore, but in the world.

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