Every once and a while, I find myself craving an escape from the city. A recent weekend getaway took me to Gabriola Island. It’s a lovely, peaceful place, perfect for reflection and relaxation. With a foundation of mainly sandstone, Gabriola features incredible rock formations on almost every beach or water access point. It's a perfectly sized island to explore over about three days – and explore I did!
There’s a very high concentration of artists living on Gabriola, and their studios are dotted throughout the island; however, I was in search of natural beauty and found it. I wanted to share my three favorite places on the island.
The most spectacular place I visited was called Malaspina Galleries. You may assume that this would be some kind of art gallery, but it’s actually a natural wonder carved by the ocean. It's a wave-shaped tunnel that you can walk along, if you're brave enough to clamber around a corner with a steep drop to the ocean right beside you!
Elder Cedar Forest
Gabriola is an extremely lush place, carpeted with thick ferns, moss, and salal. In particular, the Elder Cedar Forest is an emerald wonderland. Mushrooms and fungi were everywhere, which I think also speaks to the superior air quality. The vegetation was noticeably greener and fuller than on the mainland. We walked through the entire forest until we were sabotaged by a raging stream. Undaunted, we retraced our steps.
Drumbeg Provincial Park
With gorgeous arbutus trees and deciduous species coated in reindeer moss and lichen, Drumbeg Provincial Park is an exceptionally beautiful spot. We walked out on a peninsula and were surrounded by gorgeous views: snow-capped peaks on one side, tranquil bays on the other, and incredible rock formations all around. I was there at a relatively low tide and was able to walk out on flat sandstone rocks. Little pockets on white shell sand, sculptural logs, ocean detritus... It was the perfect place for a picnic lunch.
As you can likely tell, I had a delightful weekend, and highly recommend a visit to Gabriola. I’d love to hear your favourite places for rest and rejuvenation!
We’re excited to announce a new addition, just in time for holiday gift-giving – welcome Barefoot Venus to the Diane Kennedy collection!
Who doesn’t love luxurious skin care? Whether you use deliciously scented hand soap or indulgent bath oil, these products can add a wonderful pick-me-up to your day. When you have someone on your list who hard to buy for, a lovely gift set with lotions and creams is a thoughtful reminder to take time for self-care.
So how did we choose Barefoot Venus skin care? First of all, their products are all made in Kelowna by three beautiful sisters. As a Canadian company, we want to support our fellow Canucks whenever possible. Also, Diane Kennedy is a small business founded by an entrepreneurial woman, so partnering with another female-run company just made sense.
The final deciding factor was the products themselves. We pride ourselves on our ecological, ethical fashions, and Barefoot Venus’ philosophy is an ideal match. Their skin care line celebrates natural ingredients and scents, with no paraben, propylene glycol, or synthetic colours. We know our customers care about the fabrics that touch their skin – they want softness, breathability, and sustainability. We suspect you’re equally discerning about the soaps and lotions you use, and we knew that Barefoot Venus would meet your high standards.
When you’re in our studio, be sure to sniff and appreciate these Canadian-made delights. We are also offering selected gift sets on our website. If you would like us to send something directly to someone special, let us know so that we can package it with extra care.
I hope you’re making good progress on your shopping list, and are taking good care of yourself during this hectic season!
As you likely know, the Diane Kennedy studio is located in Vancouver. Specifically, we’re in “East Van”, which is a hotbed of inspiration. There’s an amazing concentration of talented artists and creative people working in our area, not to mention lots of craft breweries and new restaurants.
Every year in November, a collective of painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, weavers, potters, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers, from emerging artists to those internationally established, open their studios to the public for the annual Eastside Culture Crawl. This four-day visual arts festival attracts an audience of more than 35,000 studio visits. It's always a pleasure to attend and see the spaces where all these imaginative people work.
This year, I was especially excited to visit a longtime friend, Karen Lorena Parker, who is also a former DK model. I couldn’t resist digging up this photo of her from our Spring 2008 collection!
This incredibly talented woman is now a full-time painter who does everything from sweeping landscapes to commissioned fashion illustrations.
In January 2018, Karen was chosen to illustrate the Special Edition box of Lindt Chocolates for the 75th Golden Globe Awards.
It was wonderful to re-connect with this incredible artist.
Denna Erickson is another of my favorite local painters. Denna specializes in using oil on wood and plaster. Her paintings consist of personal symbols and organic shapes layered in glazes of luminescent color.
I own one of her original works, and seeing it my home every day reminds me of how important art is in my life. Being in Denna’s studio was a concentrated dose of inspiration!
I was very excited to visit the studio of Megan Majewski this year for the first time. She has a very unique style; her cute and creepy art shows a world of twisted girls, forgotten pets, and other sweet but “formerly living” things.
I'm doing some redecorating in my living room, and Megan’s prints will be featured prominently.
Events like the Culture Crawl help keep my creative juices flowing, and remind me how important it is to support local artists and businesses. We’re all likely to do a lot of shopping over the next month or so – remember that your spending has power. Buy local, and encourage the small businesses that make our city vibrant and unique!
Diane Kennedy shoppers have a multitude of reasons for buying our clothes. Some appreciate that our garments are ethically made in Canada, in factories that are close to us, right here in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Others choose DK because we use high-quality fabrics, 80% of which are also manufactured in Canada. Aside from these excellent reasons to buy our products, we know that colour is big priority for many of our customers, and that’s why this blog is all about colour.
We know that everybody loves black – it's always the number-one best-selling “colour”. Why? Black is basic. It goes with everything and it's slimming… but as a designer, a vibrant colour makes me happy and evokes a mood that black never can. Colour really speaks to me, and I often find myself craving colour.
Our second-best-selling colour has always been Raisin, a beautiful, deep purple. This year, we've added a lovely new shade called Reign; it's a slightly darker purple and is skewed somewhat towards navy. If you've never tried adding purple to your wardrobe, Reign is a great way to start. It has a subtle richness that brings life to blacks or greys.
Teal is another wonderful fall colour. You may wonder why I chose two different versions of teal for our fall collection. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the image above shows the distinct appeal of each shade. Both colours are so gorgeous. Our original Teal leans towards the green spectrum, whereas our new Moroccan colour is more of an ocean blue. Both are so captivating – how could I choose just one?
Our palette choices really focus on classic fall colours, and are not about chasing trends. The best fall colours are classics for a reason; however, once in a while, I come across the shade that offers a fresh nuance on a classic. Merlot is a flattering hue that we've offered previously. This year, our collection includes a variation that we've called Oxblood, although the name may not do this colour justice. Some might call it cranberry, but I feel like beetroot might be more accurate. It's is a cool shade of red with a magenta cast, and wow, is it striking!
Now is the time that I start thinking ahead to next fall. Rust and mahogany are calling to me, as well as mossy greens. Let me know which colours would you like to see in Autumn 2019!
Autumn is so glorious this year, it's a joy to be outside and photographing fall outfits against this stunning backdrop. One reason for this shoot is to introduce you to our new social media manager Kim Palmer. The other is to show you some photos of our newest arrivals.
We spent the day at one of our favorite Vancouver parks called Momiji on the PNE grounds in Vancouver. It's a hidden gem, tiny but peaceful and full of Japanese Maple trees in every shade of gold, green and red. They look beautiful all year but especially after this uncharacteristically hot summer. The leaves are on fire!!
Back after a long absence is the perennial favourite Recharge Vest. Kim is wearing it over the Illusion Tunic in Moroccan blue and matching Rejuvenate leggings. If you're short, dressing head to toe in one colour is a great way to visually lengthen yourself. Kim is tall at 5'9" and even commented that because she's tall she prefers to break up her height with different blocks of colour.
Kim looks smashing in our new Persuasion Zip Jacket. This lovely, heavier weight fleece topper has a soft brushed finish of cozy fleece on the inside making it super soft and comfy.
The Alchemy Tunic is an asymmetrical beauty that looks great over pants or leggings. Available in two colours; Black and Purple in the softest and most luxurious medium weight sweater knit.
The new Tempt Tunic is another recent arrival in a gorgeous Heather Forest colour. With two roomy pockets for all your treasures, it's a winner and the perfect match for the Smarty pant in Black/ Forest stripe.
We think Kim looks fantastic in these outfits, you'll be seeing more of her. We're very excited to have Kim join our team!