Spring brings array of happy hues

A trio of store openings brings incentive to clean closets for spring fashions.

J.Crew has opened on Robson Street. The bright and open two-level space near Thurlow Street is the first of three new Canadian stores J.Crew is opening this year. The others are in West Edmonton Mall, opening in June, and Toronto's Eaton Centre, set to open next fall.

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The iconic American brand is known for its "have-forever favourites" such as Italian cashmere sweaters, available in a seemingly endless array of colours and styles, and the Ludlow suit made from fabrics from Italian and English mills with bespoke details.

Downstairs, shoppers will find women's everyday classics as well as weekend wear, outerwear, handbags and jewelry. Upstairs are the shoe and menswear departments, including a shirt shop featuring Thomas Mason for J.Crew. In addition to J.Crew's own brands, shoppers can find items from what the retailer calls its "in good company partners," complementary brands like Thomas Mason as well as Quoddy of Maine, makers of the classic boat shoe, and jewelry designer Pamela Love.

The store also stocks limited-edition pieces from its own Collection label, straight from the runway at New York Fashion Week.

Tom Mora, J.Crew's head of women's design, and Frank Muytjens, head of men's design, were in Vancouver for the store's opening party last month. During a personal tour around the men's department, Muytjens described J.Crew menswear as "fashionable but not in a trendy way" and talked about clothing that "tells a story and becomes a part of you."

Appraising an entire wall of Thomas Mason shirts, he noted "they look great straight out of the dryer. "I can't remember the last time I ironed a shirt."

Speaking above the opening night chatter, Mora defined J.Crew's brand identity. "We're about colour and pattern and print," he said, noting that the design team will carry over favourites like the No. 2 pencil skirt from one season to the next, reinterpreting the popular look in new fabrics or colours. "We're not giving it an expiration date, because we believe in it."

And while other brands have picked up on super saturated hues as a seasonal trend, colour is a hallmark at J.Crew, said Mora. "It's in our DNA," he quipped.

Redfish Kids

Redfish Kids is opening its first flagship store. The clothing company's co-founders, designer Lorraine Kitsos and West Vancouver's Kristy Brinkley, will celebrate the opening of their boutique at 851 Hornby St. in downtown Vancouver by welcoming "courageous kids" and their families to their new boutique on Saturday and Sunday June 2-3 for fun-filled days of storytelling and goodies.

Kitsos describes her designs as being inspired by the street fashions of cities like Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo and Milan. Brinkley says in a release, "The philosophy that fuels Redfish Kids Clothing is courage, we are continually inspired by the courage of our children; courage to try new things, courage to live with a strong confident voice, courage to live life with gusto."

The boutique also features what the founders are calling a curated selection of toys and books to complement the Redfish clothing line including Petit Bateau, Steiff Germany, Raplapla from Montreal and Playsam Toys from the U.K.

Christine Vancouver

Christine Vancouver has returned to Ambleside, if only for a short while.

The internationally recognized luxury lingerie company founded by Christine Morton, of West Vancouver, has opened a pop-up shop at 1471 Bellevue Ave., next door to the bustling coffee house Crema.

Morton, who for many years operated from West Vancouver, moved her studio and showroom to a new location at 821 Powell Street last year. Opening the temporary retail shop earlier this month is giving Morton a chance to reconnect with former clients. "I am so enjoying having a shop and seeing all my old customers, I hate to shut it down," the designer said in an email. "I think I must have made half of the North Shore's wedding dresses."

Christine Vancouver counts celebrities among its fans. Oprah once wore the label's lilac silk pyjamas on the cover of her magazine and Cameron Diaz wears one of Morton's silk robes in the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting, now showing on the big screen.

At the West Van shop, customers can find the label's signature silk and linen pyjamas, chemises, gowns, robes and caftans at discounted prices, available for a limited time only. Also in store is the camisole and short set in silk and Chantilly lace featured in InStyle magazine's May edition.

The boutique is set to close on June 2. After that, lingerie lovers can continue to shop for their favourite styles online at www.christinelingerie. com.

lchristensen@nsnews.com

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