By Joshua Langston
The only thing I LOVE more than a great pair of designer shoes, is a great pair of designer shoes for less. When I received an email about the leading off-price American retailer Marshalls opening up in Vancouver I became swept with excitement. Their stores are always very thoughtfully merchandised and well lit, two things that will always make or break my shopping experience. I headed off into the evening Lyndi Barrett of STYLEcalling and fashion stylist Claudia Daponte for the media preview: a night of trends, cocktails, bites and most importantly, shopping.
(Side note: I just moved and I had cut myself off from shopping all together…. but I also know when to recognize a great deal and find ways to justify the level of necessity.)
We arrived at the store to beaming smiles from their staff. Within moments I had some fabulous bites from Culinary Capers and a crisp glass of white wine in hand. Well played. We had arrived just in time for the spring trends presentation with stylist, contributor and fashion personality Luisa Rino.
Luisa curated four looks from items found within the store. Instead of identifying obvious trends, she broke the outfits down according to a Vancouver neighborhood: Main St, Gastown, Yaletown and Kitsilano. I appreciated how well she captured the spirit of each of the neighbourhoods.
After the informative presentation, Luisa was out on the floor offering advice and styling tips to the media as they shopped. While shopping around the store I ran into my dear friend Peter aka The Starving Stylist. With a brief glance we looked at each other and both said, “SHOES!” at the same time.
I became somewhat dumbfounded when I hit the men’s shoes section. They had a ton of fabulous Dolce & Gabbana dress shoes (unfortunately not in my size or they would have came home with me). Out of the corner of my eye I saw my vice: retro style high tops. They were NIKE Mach Force high tops in all white with Coral details. With only one pair left in my size I clutched them for dear life and kept walking around the store. Normally when I’m in shopping mode I won’t answer when my phone beeps, but this time it was a picture message from Lyndi with the caption Tom Ford. I opened the picture and had a “clutch the pearls and find something to hold me up” moment. TOM FORD. I ran as fast as my vintage Louis Vuitton creepers would take me and was hit with a barrage of ladies shoe porn. Balenciaga, Prada, Fendi, Gucci, Rachel Zoe, a ‘casual’ shoe game that I NEVER expected.
While I dragged my jaw across the women’s shoes department I met Tamara Robbins, The PR Manager of TJX Canada (Winners, Homesense, Marshalls). I told her how pleasantly surprised I was by the brands and prices I was seeing around the store. She joined me (and my dragging jaw) for a walk around the ladies department and then we saw them: Giuseppe Zanotti nude sandals. Without hesitation I announced loudly “THESE shoes could ACTUALLY bring world peace”. (Maybe that was the wine…)
Clutching my shoebox as if someone was going to take to away from me, I headed to the sunglasses section, because I love me some shade. And…WOW. I’m pretty sure I tried on about 50 pairs of sunglasses. The selection of sunglasses included brands like Armani, YSL, Chloe, Michael Kors and Ray Ban, It was really hard to not grab as many as I could carry and run for the check out. I fell in love with a pair of Chloe oversized cat eyeglasses, in a gorgeous milk chocolate tone with nude detailing.
I managed to talk myself into only justifying the High Tops and the Chloe glasses, telling my concerned friends that they were a “housewarming gift” to myself. Apparently housewarming gifts are meant to be household items, but let’s be honest I’d rather have new shoes than a crock-pot. Who cooks anyway?
Thank you to Samantha Geer of Avenue Communications, Tamara Robbins of TJX Canada and Luisa Rino for such a fabulous evening.
Until next time… Joshua