Thursday, 30 June 2011

Anne Bosman - Bellissima runs generations deep

I first heard about Anne by a complete accident. My boyfriend's friend from high school happens to be closely affiliated with Alberta Fashion Week and as a result we get to mingle and cross paths from time to time. She knew I wrote for the Bellissima blog and mentioned that her grandmother was employed by the company. I have been wanting to do an employee profile section on the blog for quite some time, but limited by time have yet to get around to it. Anne, however, was quite special: running 28 years, her employment is one of the longest if not THE longest run with the company. The most admirable? At 81 years old she is only now ready to take some time and focus on herself. This is my attempt to convey to all of you the hard work, dedication and amazing personality that is Anne Bosman. 
Going down memory lane, Anne reminisces about her first Bellissima Manager, Sophia. At 54 she was in search of a job, as a stay at home mum, the world of fashion excited her, she was ready to leave the nest, so to speak. When I speak with Anne there isn't much that makes us different, the love of clothes, and style itself transcends generations, and in Anne's case it has proven to be quite true. Fast forward 24 years and you see Anne's granddaughter Jacqueline completing the circle and helping organize Bellissima's first Alberta Fashion Week fashion show. It's quite amazing when you think about it, none of it was planned, all these women found their way towards Bellissima on their own terms. 

Anne remembers some of the prominent Bellissima locations to be Serena stores, something my young eye for fashion doesn't even remember. It is a great pleasure speaking with Mrs. Bosman, the stories and her points of view are refreshing, enthusiastic and more than anything, inspired. Today's world of retail is not the same as it was 20, even 10 years ago, globalization changed the way we make business, and so Anne's observations are quite valid when she points out the reason she loved working for Bellissima through all these years: the interactions between customers and the sales team as well as among the employees themselves. The atmosphere is tight knit, very family friendly, she says. 
As for her personal favourite experiences she singles out selling in the top spot. To Anne it wasn't about forced sales, but about establishing relationships. When bridesmaids came into the store in search for the perfect dress is when Anne felt most accomplished. Cruise season is her favourite time of year to watch for new pieces for her wardrobe, and of course the husbands accompanying the wives while shopping always provide for a lighter atmosphere, it's their view of fashion she finds unique, and at times mildly entertaining. 

After talking about the Bellissima customer, Anne believes that they have gotten younger, even Jacqueline found herself a stunner to wear to her high school graduation, and indeed upon walking into a Bellissima store you know you can find something for that special occasion. The diversity, however is what keeps the brand current. Bellissima, in Anne's eyes is an every season shop, customers who bought something for work will come again and buy something for a wedding or a party. Anne's biggest sale to date? $2,700, and it took the whole shift to get there. This kind of personalized shopping experience is what attracts the customer, after all Bellissima originated on the principal of close and personalized relationships. Before the age of the computers, the sales associates were expected to go home and call their customers on their own time and inform them of selections they might be interested in. This, overtime, has translated to our mailing lists and customer loyalty programs that offer discounts and special promotions. As far as getting adjusted to the computers? Anne was never interested in that, she would be encouraged to stay on the floor and leave ringing though the final purchase to somebody else. 
Anne has seen many changes over almost 3 decades with the Bellissima brand, one thing for sure stays the same, the quality and the brand promise to exceed all your expectations. Anne has gone a far distance from the girl with ten siblings, from a Saskatchewan Farm, where clothes and fashion were not an accessible commodity to a brand staple and a woman who inspires us all, and most importantly inspires our love of fashion. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

What should I read next?

I stumbled upon this website recently, it generates recommendations for your next reading according to the title of your favourite book (or any book for that matter), you can even search for books based on their sku number (ie the number above/below the barcode). All this book hunting has made me think back to a photo I saw of Karl Lagerfeld's library (pictured above). With a library this stocked how can you do anything BUT read... Amazing!

Visit http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/ for your next book recommendation.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Image Source: FashionGoneRogue.com
This image of Dree Hemingway and Sebastian Faena has us dreaming of blissful beach getaways

Monday, 20 June 2011

Awaiting that Special Box from Bellissima .....

'Woke up this morning feeling fine',  blue sky and 80 degrees, WONDERFUL, vitamin D will kick in really quickly.  We have survived the harshest winter in years and did spring really happen? Now it is June and I am eager to receive my Bellissima box encompassing what I have been gazing at for weeks on end through New York’s finest window displays.  All baring a theme of WHITE. Intricate lace, crochet short dresses, white linen shorts paired with sexy shear tops, the wide leg trouser, slim leg pant there are options for everyone. Dolche and Gabanna white lace separates with splashes of YELLOW as a lining has stayed in my mind for my own color statement as I love all the bright colors to wear as an accessory. 
In my Bellissima Box there are several items I splurged on that I could easily wear today, the marvellous. White Jacket with the crochet back, I know I will have this investment piece for years, Glad, I decided to buy the matching pant with just a touch of the crochet on the side pockets, I had wondered with our other purchases in white should I own  the pant but for my lifestyle I would regret not having this ensemble.

Perfect, for a business meetings, I know I will make so much use of the pant just with some of the jersey tops purchased from Bellissima this Spring.  This knockout  jacket I am talking about was bought during our Paris trip at the same time marvelous white open neck crochet long tunic which is in my awaited box, this will be my cooler day piece to wear or I will save it for an evening barbecue in the country. Last but not least, are the two white dresses that I purchased from Bellissima’s summer collection The Maxi long cotton and lace with tiers is  such a flirty yet perfectly practical item dress for me to have decided on. The accompanying dress is so simple and practical but it almost did not make the box because I thought I had overspent my budget. The fuller  skirt and bra friendly bodice  was so appealing  with the retail prices so terrific how could I give up such a deal?
These white pieces have now become a canvas for my summer wardrobe statement, my floppy hats await me the shoe options excite me whether it’s high wedges in black ,tan or nude , strappy stilettos in bold color or ballet flats in metallic I have my look covered. 
If you want to know what kind of accessories I will be wearing with these white looks, I suggest that YOU be sure to check into my next blog. In the meantime, with the prices that are being offered for spring and summer clothing, I suggest you get into Bellissima fast!
Love, 
Carole

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Summer Eyelet

Strolling around English Bay on a sunny morning! I love this tunic, it’s the modest girl’s answer to Dolce & Gabbana’s eyelet ensembles. Today feels like a real Vancouver spring day, so of course I wanted to wear sunny, bright colours like dandelion yellow and gold.
Wearing: Exetera blouse and tank (underneath) from Bellissima, Sevens denim, Christian Louboutin sandals, Kate Spade tote, Michael Kors watch, Stella & Dot Eternity ring and H&M sunnies.
Dontcha just love an easy tunic? Ladies, I know you’re pickin up what I’m puttin down here, it’s the easiest thing to wear after a big breakfast and a couple mimosas, no? Forgiving and glam! Loves it. I’ve been asked a number of times where I shop, the answer is everywhere and anywhere. I believe style is innate, as long as you understand the silhouette and fabrications that are on trend, flattering and to your taste. I did a tour around the South Granville Vancouver location of Bellissima last Friday and was inspired by the selection – see my last post! I had the misconception that the clothes were geared mostly towards a more mature woman, but I sure found some pieces I want! Do you have one favourite store or do you shop around as well?

Friday, 10 June 2011

A Sunday's Nostalgia

The New York City Easter Parade has been an annual tradition since Civil War days and features marchers in elaborate Easter finery, including some of the fanciest Easter bonnets imaginable.
Hundreds of New Yorkers on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011 stepped out dressed in their finery planned months ahead for a grand Easter parade down Fifth Avenue starting at St. Patricks Cathedral.


What I was expecting was a procession of extremely fancy men and women stepping out of St. Patricks Cathedral. The women were clad in exquisite designs with a dashing man accompanying her in his formal attire. In this era, even with so many streets closed, my intent was to watch and capture this New York tradition and of course take a close glimpse of Bonnets, Fascinators and the imaginative ensembles of families who have kept this tradition for decades. Looking at all the hats, I realized this group I was taking a picture of was in fact a New York Milliner with her entourage surrounding her wearing Fab Hats and Fascinators. What made me smile was two of the girls gave me their business card. I laughed thinking New Yorkers always creative in peddling their wares.
The weather was vibrant and with my imagination full of stories, I headed towards the Church. I doubted I would not see any highly polished carriages, and thought perhaps would catch family pets dressed in small bonnets, or even tamed snakes with a colorful bow. What I saw were remnants of the past. Gone were the themes of current events. There was no hat tilted to the side which was a sinking Titanic, no Silver Cross Prams and babies in lace, organza and velvet with nanny’s in their frilly bonnet and the proud parents dressed to the nines walking behind. Maybe it’s a gone era, maybe the Easter Parade is a free spirited display and example of the world we live in today. Yes, the early 20th century is long gone but here I am in this magical city New York which is now  my home.  Suddenly I am dancing to the ragtime music, wishing I  were in a silk skirt so that I could jitterbug, and taking note minute by minute, as I watch the ladies stroll by dressed up in thrift shop findings.
Obviously, it was time to go and sit in Central Park to meet up with my hubby think about next year dressing myself and a few special friends in wonderful styled regalia fit for a Queen. As I ran down 5th Avenue, I thought of finding a Turner classic movie to watch called The Easter Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire now it all made sense. I remembered the verse, “In your Easter Bonnet with all the frills upon it you’ll be the finest lady in the Easter Parade.
'My mum brought me in a stroller and now I bring her'... xoxo 
Hopefully next year I will be in the parade walking with friends all styled by me!

Love 
Carole

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Beauty: Bellissima Fashions F/W 2011

After a ton of e-mails regarding the makeup used at our Fashion Week Show, Michaelle from Smashbox is revealing her well kept secret:
Runway Images Courtesy of Ian Harding
Her list to a flawlessly dewy evening look: 

Bourjois 10 Hr. Sleep Effect Foundation (1) for a flawless dewy look. Bourjois Rose d’or Blush (2), Bourjois Volumizer Mascara (3), Bourjois Elastic Mascara (4),  Lineur Feutur, felt tip black liner that stays in place. Thick or thin lining possible.
Smashbox Photofinish Luminizer Primer (New in stores June 2011)(5). Make-up applies more smoothly, stays fresher 3x longer. Smashbox Contour Palette (6). Smashbox Halo powder in solid form (7) lifts cheekbones, gives facial contours structure (New in stores, includes easy instructions). Smashbox Layer Lash Primer (8), coats lashes safely encouraging growth and giving mascara application more volume and length automatically. Smashbox Eyelid Primer (9), eyes are smoothed with completely neutral color enabling shadow to stay crease free and smooth for hours. Smashbox Trio Eyeshadow: Panorama Trio (10), 3 colors to contour and highlight. Smashbox Double take Lip color in Gossamer (11), gives perfectly neutral lip look. Smashbox Limitless Lip gloss (12) in Infinite color gives lips plastic shine for up to 4 hours.
Runway Images Courtesy of Ian Harding
I don't know about you but I will be trying this out for the next big event.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The French Riviera

Dressed in what I would think Coco Chanel would wear today, I felt so ready to board a plane to the glamorous streets of Cannes, France!
I love the shape and style of this blouse; it’s so feminine and highlights just the right spots: neckline, waist and arms. Perfect for a chic summer evening. These high-waisted trousers are made out of the most comfortable and forgiving fabric, making them perfect for travel. No more low-rise for this girl, I’m officially converted! Accessories make the look, so I’ve topped my outfit with a vintage snakeskin purse, Grace Kelly-esque sunnies, a large diamante ring (similar to the style of the Chanel camellia), and a pair of prized Chanel platforms. A simple chignon and a slick of dark pink gloss complete my look. Exetera blouse and Frank Lyman pants both from Bellissima.
You still have two days to catch an exclusive Frank Lymann Trunk Shows at one of our Vancouver Locations. Tonight we are at South Granville, tomorrow we will be at Park Royall Mall from 4-8pm and again on Thursday at Serena Willowbrook Mall. Hope to see you all there! 
Olivia
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