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!
As the designer – and let's be honest, as the number-one customer of my products – I am very invested in the fit, quality, and feel of the fabrics used for each and every Diane Kennedy garment. Much like a brewer crafting a specialty beer, or a chef creating a gourmet meal, I take a very hands-on approach to the entire design process. This post is the first in a series to explain the steps and processes that take a garment from conception to customer.
Colour is a huge motivator for me, and it is certainly one of the first things I look for when choosing a fabric. My thought process often starts with the colours I want to wear and what looks good on me. Choosing fabrics and colours is definitely one of my favourite parts of my job. I love to use natural fabrics like bamboo as much as possible because I’m a big fan of how these fabrics feel on my body.
When making choices, I have three primary considerations: quality, feel, and origin. As you might know, approximately 85% of the fabric we use is manufactured in Canada. When I compare Canadian-made to what is made elsewhere, there's a very big difference. While we do choose a small percentage of offshore fabrics, we pay attention to a manufacturer’s ethics, and our decisions are also based on whether the fabrics are organic.
After choosing a collection of fabrics and roughing out my ideas, I frequently design my garments while making patterns. Unlike many designers who complete full sketches of new designs, many Diane Kennedy styles coalesce during the pattern-making process. I see the flow of the seam lines and look at how the shapes work together, and these elements play an important role in determining the finished design. The design and pattern often morph intuitively as I work.
Whether I make the pattern myself, or give it to my assistant, we always create both a plus-size and regular-size test garment before going into final production; therefore, we create two patterns for each style. My design assistant sews prototypes of the garment, and they’re fitted on a body of each size. Adjustments are made, allowing us to achieve a final pattern.
After the colors, patterns, and designs are chosen, a local factory produces a sample of the garment. Our sales agents use these samples to sell Diane Kennedy designs to retailers across North America.
Now that you’ve had a glimpse into the creative process, above is a sneak peek of the spring designs and fabrics we’re preparing for you.