"One of the best compliments I've ever received was from my customer telling me she has a ton of Fluevogs, but even more of my dresses" ~ Diane Kennedy, designer
And what a collection our client, Jacqueline has!
It has been a long-held truth for many Cherry Velvet dress collectors that nothing really goes better with our unique dresses than a pair of Fluevog shoes. We like to think there is nothing so loyal as a Cherry Velvet/Fluevog client. They go together like gin & tonic, peanut butter & jelly or a cup & saucer - You get the idea. ;)
Over the years, many of our clients have brought their Fluevog shoes with them when they come dress shopping in our Studio. There have been many happy discussions about which shoes go with which dress.
We're blown away by this fabulous photo sent to us by our customer Jacqueline.
She's laid out all her dresses in a rainbow -
There was some question about how many there actually were but the final tally is 50 dresses!
Jacqueline has her own unique approach to her dress/shoe collaborations. She prefers to pick one perfect combination of matching shoes and dress that she wears more exclusively together. Of course, some dresses have more than one perfect shoe match; But the choices are always fluid, never static.
Can we just say wow! What a work of art this photo is!
Also known as @_cuddlefish_ on Instagram, she has an undeniable eye for colour and detail. Check out her lovely IG photos; mostly of her travels and nature. We feel so flattered that she's shared her amazing eye for fashion and corresponding photos with us! :)
Thank you, Jacqueline! <3
XOX Cherry Velvet
In a way, everything that you see and consume can become an inspiration. In the Design field, we call this "repertoire". They are all the things you've seen and learned about, and that serve as an influence for every idea you have. The more you see, watch, read, and consume, the larger your repertoire - and the easier it is to create.
Although most ideas come organically like that, we also sometimes work with direct inspiration. When it comes to modern vintage style, part of the challenge is adapting interesting features and details into contemporary textiles, techniques, and silhouettes.
In our collections, we have occasionally created dresses directly inspired by specific references. Today, we'd like to share some of these with you.
Our Dita dress was inspired by the one worn by Dita Von Teese a few years ago. In the '50s, contrast details were commonly used to add interest and make designs unique. White and bright colours were mostly used.
Diane designed the Dita with a black contrasting sweetheart neckline, making it the right balance between vintage and modern.
One of the most iconic symbols of the '50s is most certainly Marilyn Monroe in her white dress from "The Seven Year Itch", released in 1955. The airy fabric and gathered halter front are unforgettable.
Gathered halter tops were a summer staple of the decade. Many dress patterns featured the style. The Norma dress, named after Marilyn's birth name, was designed to have the lovely look of a halter top, with the comfort and wearability of a closed back.
Neckline, collar and top details made many 1950's dress designs unique. Buttons were commonly used in creative ways, such as on these overlapping criss-cross flaps. Diane took inspiration from this '50s photo to design our Kate dress.
Recently, the same criss-cross button feature has been spotted on drama series "The Marvelous Mrs Maisel" once in season 2 (2018), and also in the filming of season 3 (2019).
We hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit about how some of our designs came to be! If our dresses piqued your interest, you can get yourself a Dita, Norma or a Kate at our online store in a variety of prints!
XOX Cherry Velvet
What is slow fashion, you ask? It is generally considered to be an approach to clothing production and consumption with a focus on fair practices and sustainability. Clothes that are made in a way that is better for those wearing them, those making them, and for the environment.
Since the very beginning, Cherry Velvet has been making dresses out of high-quality cotton that lasts. Dresses made and sold in our first year still exist and are worn today (and it's been over 8 years!).
Our designer Diane has 3 dresses out of that original bunch that she still wears, especially her very favourite butterfly print. This photo is originally from 2013. It still looks as beautiful now as it did then!
So why are we talking about this? You may know that fast fashion, A.K.A. cheap throwaway clothing, is filling up the landfills. Deliberately poor quality fabrics and manufacturing make for unsatisfying, poorly fitting, disposable garments that get quickly discarded, with an estimated 68 lbs of textiles per American finding its way into landfills each year. Fast fashion brands prioritize selling immense amounts of dirt-cheap apparel, no matter the real cost to society and the environment.
What makes us different?
- We manufacture in local factories in BC, Canada, which operate under federal and provincial laws and regulations, enforcing a good standard for wages and worker's rights. This way, we can propel local business, and frequently drop in for pick ups and drop offs - which allows us to be aware of the real working conditions (rather than "visiting once a year").
- We source excellent quality fabrics that can be washed and worn and will last for many years with very easy care.
- We design dresses in proven classic and timeless styles that won't be unwanted with the latest trend.
- We lovingly pattern and grade in a way that will truly "spark joy" (as organization guru Marie Kondo would say) when your dress fits you the way it's meant to - so you'll want to keep it forever!
The quality and longevity of our dresses have been proven time and time again, as they've been loved for many years by our customers. And when bodies change and we need to start buying a different size, our dresses are in such a good state, they get gifted, sold and otherwise passed on - not tossed in the garbage.
We are so proud of manufacturing our dresses in BC, and providing you with a truly excellent dress you can be sure is worth your money.
XOX Cherry Velvet
On October 4th and 5th this year, we hosted an event at our Vancouver studio, called "Halloween is Brewing".
Although it was quite a bit earlier in the month than these celebrations would usually be, we figured it would be a fun opportunity to get in the spirit of the season and shop for themed outfits. After all, for those who wait for this holiday all year, it's never too early to spook things up!
We decorated our whole studio with bats, spiders, monsters, and all things ghastly. Our dress forms were beheaded and bloody just for the occasion. Upon arrival, we had a special spot for all our flying guests to park their brooms. Diane's inspiration truly came through on our (perhaps intoxicated from too much of that "brew") witch splattered in a corner.
And so many hilarious captions were made for this by some of you!
We also had Kelly, the Booze Witch with her flavour enhancers for sampling. These interesting elixirs and shrubs are made with vinegar and unique flavours such as Elderflower and Strawberry Black Pepper. Just a few drops of these delicious concoctions will add amazing flavour to beverages, seasonings, and of course, cocktails!
Logan, our photographer, set up an eerie scene with a moonlit path and gate backdrop. He expertly positioned a light from the back, so the glow was as ethereal as it was actually real.
We were also equipped with a smoke machine, for that extra freaky foggy effect that made you feel lost in the woods on a cold October night - just like Halloween should be!
Standing in front of this set, it seemed anyone would be inspired to give out a cackle or two...
As seen on the left, some may have really, really enjoyed the smoke.
It was so much fun to see our customers come and have a great time at our ghastly studio, taking photos in our Halloween dresses and props. I think we can say we successfully stepped right into the spirit(s).
Please enjoy these pictures, and if you still need your freaky frock for the spooky season - pay us a visit this week. Our studio is still decorated (although no photo area anymore, unfortunately) and we have a selection of Halloween dresses on sale - also available online!
Thank you all who joined and hope to see you at our next Studio Shop this weekend!
Friday, October 18th - 2pm to 7pm
Saturday, October 19th - 11am to 5pm
1635 Powell St. Vancouver, BC (Free parking by the Flag Shop or right out front)🚗
XOX Cherry Velvet
By Cherry Velvet Designer + Creator, Diane Kennedy.
My wonderful customers, if it wasn’t for you, Cherry Velvet wouldn’t be here. I know that’s a bit of a cliché but it’s the honest truth. It's what gets me up in the morning and is a constant reminder that I'm truly blessed...
My favourite time of year (fall) makes me remember that I am literally living my dream. I knew I wanted to be a designer and make beautiful dresses for women of all sizes when was I just a little girl. Being able to fulfill that dream and continue to make my clothes exclusively in Canada makes it even more special.
I'm especially thankful for my staff; the hardworking people that support me every single day. Logan Rudrum, my Media Director, has been my rock and unfailing support for the past 6 years. Barb Wilkins, in Customer Service, is the lovely lady that helps me take care of all of you. Julia Leal, my new Social Media Coordinator, is fitting in very well with the team. And, I'm thrilled to say, my marketing assistant, Tracy Po is getting better every day and scheduled to return to us very soon. (She was recently back at our studio for the first time during our Halloween is Brewing Event!)
I'm also grateful for the support of my sales agent and model, Leah Tuttle. We just finished a beautiful photoshoot with her that I'm looking forward to sharing with you.
Thanksgiving is important. Giving thanks and feeling gratitude for what you have; a simple concept and yet we often forget to feel grateful. Whatever you do to celebrate this time of year, may it bring you happiness and contentment.
Life, for the most part, can feel or appear calculable. Each day unfolds mostly the same as the last and we believe (or like to believe) we have an idea of how it all rolls out. At multiple points throughout our lives, however, life can pull a total M Night Shyamalan and reveal an unexpected twist. Some of these twists can be good, great even, offering us a new perspective, a chance for growth or an opportunity—and others can turn our entire world upside down. The latter of these twists recently popped up in the life of our social media rockstar/ ball of energy, Tracy Po, and we wanted to share with you her story of courage while contending with a life-altering disease.
More than a headache
Just over 12 weeks ago, Tracy, entered the hospital with chronic migraines. She had a history with these horrible head-splitters, having to visit the ER for them in previous years, but something about these particular migraines was different. Shortly after being emitted to St. Paul's in downtown Vancouver, Tracy's condition began to deteriorate. She started experiencing episodes of psychosis and catatonia (non-responsiveness). While no one knew the cause of her symptoms at the time, she would later be diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune disease.
Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis
Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis is a variety of brain inflammation caused by antibodies. It is relatively new to medical research, only being discovered back in 2007, and is often misdiagnosed. It affects both the body and mind, with symptoms including but not limited to headaches, fever, extreme fatigue, psychosis, hallucinations, seizures, decreased breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate issues. Nearly all patients who develop the disease require hospitalization, many need critical care—and, unfortunately, our Tracy was one of them.
During Tracy's time in the hospital, she endured a myriad of procedures, including multiple surgeries, lumbar punctures, MRIs, CT scans, infusions, blood tests and a colossal, nearly comical, amount of medications. This disease developed so rapidly and progressed to the point that Tracy had to be put into an induced coma and was completely bedridden for nearly a month. It was a very confusing and scary time for everyone involved, especially Tracy.
A Turning Point.
After an uncertain stage without any clear conclusion or cause, an ultrasound revealed a small tumour inside one of Tracy's ovaries, which doctors promptly removed. Tumours like this can, in rare cases, trigger an autoimmune response. Almost immediately after Tracy came out of surgery, she started to show some improvement. She slowly regained the ability to breathe and took her first assisted steps out of her bed in weeks. She was transferred out of the ICU to the Neurology ICU and then eventually to the Neurology ward where she began to relearn how to talk, walk, eat and drink again.
Recently, Tracy was transferred out of VGH and into the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, where she is undergoing an intensive therapy program, including occupational, physical and speech therapy. She has been improving every day and the hope is to have her status switched from in-patient to an out-patient, where she can attend her therapy sessions during the day and spend her evenings at home with her partner, Logan, and cat, Moose.
To Recovery + Beyond.
While this entire experience has been a painful and terrifying ordeal, Tracy has remained so incredibly optimistic and determined. Her drive to return to her regular life has propelled her forward and we're so incredibly proud of her spirit and unshakeable resolve. We hope to see her back here underneath the Cherry Velvet tree as soon as possible, which, at the rate she's progressing, may not be far off. Until then, please join us in cheering her on as she makes her way through this final stage towards full recovery and beyond—Go, Tracy go!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Today I'm remembering a time with one of our early models, Elly Mayday. Elly was an advocate for women's health, known for battling ovarian cancer throughout her modelling career. This weekend we are joining with Forever Yours Lingerie at their event, #onehellovawoman to fulfill Elly's wish for a high tea to raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
Looking back to our very first photoshoot in 2013
Amongst a group of lovely models, there was a young lady named Elly Mayday at her first-ever photoshoot as well. The location was a classic style Diner called Save On Meats. This was also the very first time we shot with Shimona Henry of Pin-Up Perfection photography.
Soon after, Elly began to model for Cherry Velvet on a regular basis. In 2014, after struggling for some time with symptoms that were not being diagnosed properly, Elly discovered she had ovarian cancer.
After Elly started her treatments with chemotherapy, she knew her hair was going to fall out, so she dyed it teal green: the colour of the ovarian cancer awareness ribbon. Elly made a video for us talking about her symptoms, and the importance of being your own advocate.
Elly lost her hair shortly thereafter from the chemotherapy. As a woman who had also lost her mother to ovarian cancer, I could imagine how difficult it would be to lose her hair at 25 years old, and so I wanted to do something for Elly. I decided to take her wig shopping. Can you even imagine being 25 years old and having your hair fall out? Just that alone would be so difficult to deal with, not to mention all of the other obstacles she faced.
We received a phone call from several of her friends who were planning a fundraiser and fashion show to help Elly support herself during treatments. The event was called Strut for a Cause. They asked Cherry Velvet to help surprise Elly and to get her "event ready" to arrive at the show.
Getting her party-ready and to this event...where she was greeted by friends, supporters and TV cameras was quite tricky to pull off without her suspecting what was going on. That day, Elly did a photoshoot with Shimona Henry with the goal of getting her into hair and make-up. Elly had lost so much weight at this point I thought perhaps she wouldn't have anything to wear so I designed a dress especially for her for that night and we named it after her, The Elly dress.
It was an amazing evening of fashion and friends coming together to show their love and support.
Elly continued to pursue her career in New York as a model and worked on a campaign to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Canada among many other achievements. Sadly, Elly passed away from ovarian cancer in March of this year, at 30 years old.
Elly left her mark on myself and our business. She will never be forgotten.
XOX Diane Kennedy, designer for Cherry Velvet
Did you know that September is the awareness month for Ovarian Cancer - a much less talked about, but very serious type of women’s cancer? Unlike other more well-known types, there is no screening test for cancer of your #ladyballs. (This may be a somewhat controversial name for your ovaries, but it does require both knowledge and guts to beat this difficult to diagnose disease.)
It's important for our designer, Diane, to spread awareness, as not only did this condition take her Mom at a very young age, but her Sister-in-law as well.
You may have heard the story of one of our early models, Elly Mayday, who at the age of 25 was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer too.
We're pleased to join Forever Yours Lingerie's #Onehellvawoman High Tea and Fundraiser in honour of Elly's life and her wish to spread awareness about this difficult disease. We are proudly offering five "Dress of Your Choice" vouchers for the auction, which will raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
"Please spend a few moments learning about ovarian cancer, as discovering it early enough improves your chances to treat it effectively and survive" ~ Diane Kennedy
There is no one specific symptom for ovarian cancer, and the symptoms are generally vague and often mistakenly attributed to other causes. It’s called "the disease that whispers" or the "silent killer", as it tends to be overlooked and under-diagnosed.
Do you do a breast self-exam every month? What about going for an annual pap test? Although these simple steps could save your life, when it comes to taking care of your #ladyballs, it's not as straightforward.
We hope we’ve inspired you to catch up on any tests you haven’t taken lately, and brought attention to symptoms you should pay attention to. Please share this post with all the important women in your life so that they’ll be aware, too.
XOX Cherry Velvet
Last weekend at the Studio Shop a couple travelled all the way from Portland, Oregon, just to see us! We were so thrilled and honoured. And it's such a sweet story....
Meet Andy and Lisa. Andy's birthday gift to Lisa was a weekend trip to Vancouver and an "Empty Suitcase" to fill up with Cherry Velvet frocks. Can you imagine such a treat?
Lisa has a great laugh! And it was so lovely to watch her happy experience. She loved everything she tried on and was overjoyed with the fit and all the fun prints making it so hard to choose. These are the problems we all like to have: having so many choices of pretty dresses that fit!
The Paige Dress in Flower Power print was the first dress she tried and it was obvious that this dress lit Lisa up. She absolutely LOVED everything about this dress and it fit her like a glove but it was really the bright, vintage floral print that she connected to.
Next, Lisa tried on the Minerva Dress - Fantastic Beast, Unicorn print. This was a dress that she had on her list and was already excited to try on before she even got here. It didn't make it in her bag though.
The final choices included: The Shelly Dress in Slate Gingham, Elizabeth dress in the Graceful Dead print, Norma in the Gamer Girl print as well as the Paige Dress in Flower Power print. After her fun afternoon of shopping Andy took Lisa out for her birthday dinner to Maenam for delicious Thai food. What a day!!
Lots of folks have a heck of a time finding the right birthday gifts for their partner. What to do? A gift card is nice but can feel a little impersonal and a trip is a great way to celebrate another turn around the sun but... our new friend Andy really nailed it in our books. We've told Andy that he needs to spread the word about his magnificent idea! Don't you wish your partner would gift this for your birthday!
Thank-you so much Lisa and Andy! We loved having you visit our shop! Hope to see you next year!
XOX Diane and Barb
Just so you know our designer Diane is 53 and believes that you should wear fashion that makes you happy no matter what your age. It's a form of self-expression/art that you carry around with you wherever you go. Cherry Velvet dresses are made to fit many sizes and body types so that women of any age can enjoy wearing them. That's the whole idea! Wearing dresses that make you feel fantastic and look amazing but also are the foundation for your own personal style.
"I designed Cherry Velvet as dresses that I want to wear and feel good in. Age or body type doesn't come into this equation because I make clothing to be fun and beautiful no matter how old you are or what size you are." ~Diane Kennedy
Recently we received an email from a customer from Montreal asking us if 60 years was too old to wear one of our dresses. Absolutely not! We assured her that we have customers of all ages and even sent her a couple of photos of one of our favourite zoomers that absolutely ROCKS our dresses. She ended up buying the Norma - Magical Garden - Fairy Dress with a Purple Samantha Shrug and matching purple crinoline and plans to wear it to her niece's wedding in a few weeks with her lilac shoes and matching jewelry. We're hoping she'll send us some photos. We LOVE getting photos of our customers in our dresses!
~Photo and Fashionista credit to one of our most inspiring customers, Terri from Louisiana.
There are so many rules out there about what women can and can not wear and to them we say HOGWASH! Well, more to the point we feel like society should stop telling women what is appropriate to wear based on their age or their size for that matter. After all, a woman knows very well who she is, what looks good on her and what makes her happy. This is an earned right and no one else really needs to weigh in.
Just the other day we had a woman come into our studio to shop for a dress for a special occasion. The first dress she tried on looked amazing on her and fit like a glove. She stood looking at herself in the mirror for a long time and then I noticed she was tearing up. She assured me that she wasn't a big crier but she was so surprised by the emotional reaction she had by just finding a garment that she felt was made for her size, that included her and made her feel like she was beautiful. At her age no less. Imagine that!
Diane is wearing the Norma - Midnight Beauty Dress.
Diane loves to watch customers reaction when they come out of the change room. When you see a persons face just light up at their own reflection and especially when they dance or twirl in the mirror, it's obvious they are in love with the way they look. She never gets tired of hearing people say, "OMG I need this dress because I look fabulous!"
XOX Cherry Velvet
Find your perfect dress this weekend at the Studio Shop:
Friday August 23rd from 2pm-7pm.
Saturday August 24th 11am-5pm.
@ 1635 Powell Street, Vancouver B.C.
We'd love to see you!