With its vintage shops, local designer boutiques and artsy residents, Main Streeters who linger at neighbourhood cafes swagger with personal style like no other area of the city, says Scout co-owner Corinne Lea.
It’s this spirit her boutique, and four others, will celebrate with an upcoming fashion show called Main Street Swagger, April 30.
“East Van fashion is a real mix of decades,” she said. “It’s no surprise to see someone wearing all vintage to something really modern. We really mix it up a lot around here.”
Lea and her cohorts from the cheeky Hotbox Accessories, Pesky Peacocks vintage, Lace Embrace with its locally designed corsets and Thriller with its hip-hop-style Ts vow to represent hipsters, scenesters, skater boys and those who rock retro, pin-up girl, ’80s pop, hip hop and fetish looks at the multimedia show.
Main Street Swagger will strut its stuff a little further east, at the Rio Theatre on East Broadway near Commercial Drive. Along with Scout, Lea co-owns the Rio.
DJ K-Tel will cart his toolboxes of 45 RPM records to the Rio and get the party started with his eclectic mix of rockabilly, ’80s electro, funk and soul. Kristi Johanson, of the East Vanity Parlour on Kingsway, is styling the show and will screen a video about her coif shop that her music video-making friend created. Later on, Something About Reptiles, a band featuring Burcu Ozdemir who owns the Pesky Peacocks vintage shop and formerly ran Burcu’s Angels, will play its Turkish folk cabaret tunes. Models include dancers from Sweet Soul Burlesque plus the shop owners’ East Van gal and guy friends.
Scout opened on East Eighth Avenue across from Soma and the Chopping Block two years ago. Lea felt it was high time to hold the dress store’s first fashion show.
While the section of Main Street near King Edward is well known as a shopping destination, Lea wanted to profile the businesses between Seventh and 16th.
“I find the fashion further on down is a little bit more the geek chic kind of look,” Lea said. “Whereas [Scout], Hotbox, Lace Embrace, we’re a little bit more flamboyant, a little more sassy, showy and colourful.”
She admits shoppers’ reluctance to splurge in the face of the economic downturn inspired the show to some degree.
“People overreact when times are good and I think they overreact when times are bad, so [we’re] just reminding people that none of our stores are expensive. [In] all of our stores you can get clothes for under $100,” she said.
Tickets to Main Street Swagger, are $7 and available at the door or any of the shops involved. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show begins at 9 p.m.
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Crystal Precious, also of Sweet Soul Burlesque and Scout, co-founded Vancouver’s burlesque festival. This year, the fourth annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, May 1 to 10, is run by a board of community volunteers. It will showcase the diversity of genres within the provocative art form known as burlesque.
“People will say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen burlesque,’ and it’s kind of like saying ‘I’ve seen music,’ because there’s so many different kinds out there,” Precious said.
Sweet Soul does playful, girly routines with props and eye-catching costumes, the local Screaming Chickens Theatrical Society performs variety-show-like skits and other troupes focus on shaking and shimmying.
“A lot of people think that it was sort of a fad that started in the late ’90s, but, as a matter of fact, there’s almost 10,000 burlesque dancers online right now across the western hemisphere,” Precious said. “And it is only spreading as an amazing DIY, do-it-yourself, community of women getting together who normally have histories of being pitted against each other in the conventional entertainment industry, who enjoy alternative lifestyles and sassiness and aren’t necessarily your conventional beauty but want to redefine it.”
For more information, see www.vanburlesquefest.com