Last summer, I received an irresistible invitation from Birks. Would I like to join them in Vancouver for a week of Olympic celebrations? I jumped at the chance. Attending the Olympics is an incredible opportunity but going to the Games in my hometown is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
So here I am looking out of my hotel room at an incredible view to the west of Canada Place of the International Broadcast Centre. Stanley Park, one of my favourite places on earth, is just beyond and in the distance lie the snow-free (alas) peaks of the local mountains.
Vancouver is a casual fashion place to begin with but tourists and residents alike have flooded the streets dressed in red, white and black Canada apparel. I love it – and promptly decide it’s time to ditch my fashion uniform and get in the spirit. First stop is the Hudson Bay Company’s lounge high atop Vancouver in a penthouse suite. Nicholas Mellamphy, the Creative Director of the Room, is adorably dressed in a plaid shirt and bow tie with a black Canada hoodie over top. We both agree that I’m looking too formal and he loads me up with some sweaters and accessories to wear to the various events this week. The Bay has done phenomenal business with Olympic gear. On the drive to my hotel, I can’t believe that there’s a block long line-up to get into the downtown store. The only comparable thing I’ve seen is a lineup at Louis Vuitton in Paris. Nicholas tells me that the crowd is still there at 11pm!
He also says that I’ve just missed Wayne Gretzky – but shows me a shot of him posing with Wayne in his HBC sweater. Other top Canadians who have stopped by include Sandra Oh, the Barenaked Ladies, and Glee’s Corey Monteith.
After a quick pit stop in my room, it’s off to my first event – figure skating, pairs free skate. I’ve never been a big fan of ice skating but watching 20 world class pairs compete gives me a whole new appreciation for the athleticism behind the leaps, spins, axels and backward inside death spirals. The lowest ranked pairs skate first. Both Canadian pairs have disappointing skates marked by tumbles. The final two Chinese pairs, who win the silver and gold medals, have flawless skates that bring the crowd to their feet.
I know nothing about skating so won’t pretend to give any kind of review – other than to say, it was a phenomenal evening. I would love to see a high fashion house get their hands on the costumes though. I think Karl Lagerfeld would give them a super chic upgrade – I’m thinking tweed dresses with quilted leather skates!
After a brilliant first day, it’s off to bed!