Stylistas spill their fab finds: Glencora Twigg
Glencora Twigg co-owns Twigg & Hottie (3671 Main Street)—a boutique that pretty much defines the Main Street vibe, with its selection of Canadian-made clothes and accessories.
But she’s much more than a retailer. Together with shop partners Christine Hotton and Jessica Vaira, she also helps design the label We3, a line of chic tops (think tunics and drapey cardigans) made from sustainable knits that not only features prominently at the boutique but now sells nationally.
At the moment, she’s also heavily into jewellery design, inspired by a recent trip to Sierra Leone with her partner, who’s of African descent. “There were some beautiful hand-carved ebony beads and vintage glass beads,” Twigg says of some of her finds, adding that the trip has completely changed her direction in design. She already has a few prototypes on sale in the store. “We get a lot of information from Asia here in Vancouver, but we’re sort of like the last landing spot on earth for Africans. So I’m finding the jewellery I’m making… People don’t get it; it’s too foreign and bold.”
If you think that’s enough to deter Twigg or get her to tone down her jewellery designs, well, you don’t know her. The ultra-creative designer-retailer, who also teaches in the fashion program at John Casablancas Institute, goes big when it comes to clothing, accessories, and colour—making her the perfect source for this year’s style best-ofs. Here, then, are some of the picks she’s passionate about.
Best place to find a last-minute special-occasion dress
737 Dunsmuir Street, 604-681-3121
“My go-to is Holt Renfrew—and this is going to sound crazy, as a local designer!” she admits, adding there’s no point in being intimidated walking into the legendary retailer. “Holt Renfrew is an amazing, long-standing Canadian company that has a great range of price points and amazing product.”
Best shopping ’hood
“For sure, I gotta prop my own neighbourhood for finding stuff made in Vancouver. It’s people of this place designing for people here. Maybe there’s not the greatest selection of everything you want, but there’s a variety of unique senses of taste. It’s people working really hard, with a strong connection to the community. “And it’s not just my pocket! It’s all the way from [East] 30th down to [East] 7th.”
Best accessories designer
Bronsino Designs for Living/Patina Designs
Basically, Twigg can’t get enough of Vancouver designer Denise Wilson’s exquisitely crafted, buttery-soft leather bags and belts.
“She does the most amazing, perfect leather goods made by hand, and they’re total investment pieces,” Twigg raves. “There are these beautiful obi belts she makes that we sell that become, like, your best black boots—the thing you can’t live without.
“And then her bags: whenever I take mine anywhere, like at any airport, I get stopped.”
Best place for style watching
Twigg works in Gastown at the Casablancas school and says she loves the mix of tourists and locals rocking individual style. “Main gets this rap as a hipster joint, but Gastown is where they really know how to do it.”
El Naturalista footwear (at Twigg & Hottie)
“They are the most outrageous splurge for me,” Twigg says of the funky-chic-yet-comfy Spanish eco-friendly shoes and boots. “They’re so well made and totally in line with my line of thinking.” The looks she’s coveting most this fall? A teal ankle bootie with ruching over the ankle (“It works with dresses, skirts, skinny jeans, and flares”); a knee-high boot with antique-look leather and riding-boot detail at the top; and another ankle bootie with a high heel that folds over to reveal sheepskin (“It’s kind of a witchy look”).
Best shoe store
2205 West 4th Avenue, 604-731-7673
“I don’t think anywhere does it better than Gravity Pope,” sighs Twigg, who usually hits the purveyor of labels like Camper, Frye, and Rag & Bone on sale days. “I can’t always afford them, but you can’t beat the brands that you can’t get anywhere else in the city.”
Best fashion event
Eco Fashion Week
October 16 to 19, 2012, Robson Square, ecofashion-week.com/
“[Founder] Myriam [Laroche] has done an amazing job with the eco component, and it’s beat the odds to succeed,” Twigg praises, adding that the show is informative and well-produced.
Favourite new trend
“I love the return of colour!” Twigg says, hitting her stride. It’s never been something the designer has shied away from, mind you: “I’ve literally had people point at me and laugh.” It’s just that the rest of us are coming around to her vision now.
“I love colour and prints that stand out, and that’s not really been a Vancouver thing, and I love the way we’re embracing that,” Twigg says, pointing to everything from red to pink to shamrock-green jeans that are continuing their popularity into the fall. “The next thing coming is the printed skinnies, and I totally want a whole bunch of pairs!”
Best thing about the Vancouver fashion-design scene
“It’s the quality and uniqueness,” Twigg states without hesitation. “People may be taken for granted here when you look at how robust our design scene is.…There are so many amazing designers, and the clothes are incredibly well made for incredible price points. People don’t bat an eye to spend $300 for a dress at a Guess or a BCBG, and what they get from a designer for that price is superior in terms of quality and they’ll really stand the test of time. And I think people here don’t understand how important that is when you’re building a wardrobe.”
Best fabric shop
337 West Hastings Street, 604-682-6196
“I’m a big fan. There’s so much stock that changes constantly.”
Best jewellery line
Mindan’s Designs (at Twigg & Hottie)
Vancouver-based silversmith Mindan Gunther-Moore specializes in sleek, sterling-silver discs, hoops, spikes, and bone shapes, sometimes working pearls into her contemporary forms. Says Twigg: “Her work is always edgy enough to satisfy any occasion. She’s got a hand and an eye, and it’s very edited and sleek and subtle, but it’s the kind of thing women go ga-ga over.”