(This article is sponsored by Vestis Fashion Group Inc.)
To say that fashion is in Harriet Guadagnuolo’s blood is an understatement. Her family has been in the business for more than 35 years and she has grown up watching her mother, who launched Vestis Fashion Group with the opening of the first Max Mara store in Vancouver.
It was when Guadagnuolo was going to university at 18 years of age that the group opened its own multibrand boutique, Blubird. And now the style destination is celebrating its 10th birthday, while Guadagnuolo continues the family legacy and has taken the reins as creative director and buyer.
Travelling the world and scouting out the next big trends in Milan, Paris, and New York, Guadagnuolo aims to fulfill the Blubird mandate of bringing a curated selection of beautiful, contemporary pieces to women in Vancouver.
Every season, Blubird presents more than 65 collections from brands like Red Valentino, Herno, ALC—to name but a few. Guadagnuolo has created a sophisticated approach to merchandising, which identifies five different groups, or “themes”, that tell a fashion story.
“It’s really the only way that we can maintain a consistent aesthetic and curate the best for our clients,” she says. “When I’m creating the themes, I’m really keeping the end consumer in mind.”
According to Guadagnuolo, the Blubird woman is polished, confident, and looking for high-quality, well-designed pieces that say something about who she is. But for her, the main goal at Blubird is to make sure that everyone who comes in the store, regardless of their age or style, leaves feeling like the best version of themselves.
“The common thread is the idea that you can put yourself together in a way that is unique to you,” she says.
If this sounds overwhelming for some, Guadagnuolo praises her team of style experts—many of whom are “lifers”—for working with every customer to make sartorial choices that suit their personalities and lifestyles.
“On top of everything, it really is the people,” she says. “Our clients are very close to their stylists and they have a deep connection with them.”
To mark the boutique’s 10th birthday, Blubird is opening its large flagship at a brand-new location in Vancouver’s upscale fashion hub on Alberni Street. The stunning new space has been designed to make the shopping experience as pleasant and easy as possible.
And Guadagnuolo is proud that, after a decade, the family-owned Vancouver boutique is holding its own in the midst of big designers like Versace, Prada, and Gucci in the area.
“It’s our own brand that we started from the ground up, and to see it grow and continue to flourish is just so exciting. It’s a testament to all the hard work that goes into it,” she adds.
In talking to Guadagnuolo, it’s hard to imagine a better example of a lady boss, which, as it happens, is reflected in many of the pieces in this season’s Down to Business theme. Talk about living the brand.
“Sometimes people ask me what drives us to do this, and it’s really about helping women feel confident and happy,” she says. “It’s that reciprocal happiness of seeing people come out feeling good about themselves and really shining.…That energy can’t be replaced by anything else—it’s amazing to see.”
Yes, this bird is ready to fly.
The gorgeous new Blubird boutique (1108 Alberni Street) is open now.