Nordstrom YYC Opening Gala

Nordstrom YYCNordstrom is finally here! I arrived at last night’s gala event via a long walk in high heels through Chinook Mall — and managed to arrive at the door without the red carpet. But there were still 5 fresh faced new Nordstrom employees to welcome me to the soiree.Nordstrom YYC OpeningInside, both levels of the upscale fashion retailer’s first foray into Canada were jammed. 1800 people partied around the purses, jewelry, skincare and clothing. Important brand alert:  Nordstrom has the Calgary exclusive on Kate Spade apparel.Nordstrom Family in CalgaryUpstairs, the restaurant Bazille was converted into a VIP room for friends and family. And it was a family event — three generations of Nordstroms are in Calgary to help guide the opening. The family takes an active role managing the 275-store chain.Jim Pattison CalgaryJim Pattison, West Vancouver kazillionaire and all-around good guy, told me he was returning home from Chicago, but decided to have the plane drop him off in Calgary so he could join the party — he’s old pals with the Nordstroms. I recognized the Order of Canada pin on his lilac-accented lapel, but not the other one. Turns out Jim is also a member of the Order of British Columbia.Mayor Naheed Nenshi at NordstromYou know Nordstrom is a big deal when you find the Mayor of Calgary at the opening. The last time I bumped into Naheed Nenshi, it was during his heroic handling of the Calgary floods. Now, after our emergency response center recently re-opened to deal with the aftermath of our September snowstorm, it’s nice to see him at something a little less sweaty and more social.Nordstrom YYC OpeningOutside the VIP room, liberally-poured Rose enhanced the shopping experience.Casey WagarCasey Wagar, lover of all things fancy, was loving his Chardonnay.Nordstrom YYC OpeningPhoto ops were everywhere, including with the 30 live mannequins on display throughout the store.Fraser Abbott, Hotel ArtsFraser Abbott was on hand to quality-check the delicious edibles provided by Hotel Arts’ Chef Duncan Ly.Cynthia Moore and Jay SkellyBumped into the amazing Cynthia Moore, who’s jetting off next week to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, just one year after kicking flesh-eating disease in the you-know-what. Meanwhile, Jay Skelly of Holt Renfrew swears he was no spy — just an innocent partier.Nordstrom YYC OpeningNo Scandinavian reserve here. Erik and Julie Nordstrom mingled with Beth and Terry Drayton, enjoying the party (with some particularly fabulous cowboy boots in the background). And they should — the evening raised $180,000 for Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and United Way of Calgary.Nordstrom YYC Opening GalaMore of those mannequins, trying to make those white pillars look good. Sprinkled throughout the contemporary Nordstrom decor, they’re a structurally necessary holdout from the previous Sears space.Sean Jones Nordstrom YYC OpeningTucked in between the escalators and the shoes, Toronto-based recording artist Sean Jones sang to throngs of adoring women…Sean Jones Nordstrom YYC Opening… who didn’t mind one bit when he jumped off stage to dance with them. I’m sure Nordstrom appreciated the fact he sang the “Forget you” version of Cee Lo Green’s hit tune.Nordstrom YYC OpeningThis security man’s job is just beginning… because the opening party continues tomorrow, bright and insanely early, with the Nordstrom Chinook Centre Pre-Opening Beauty Bash.  On Friday, September 19 from 7:30-9:30 am, enjoy complimentary consultations and demos at the main Nordstrom entrance in the mall. Expect to see hot makeup brands including Butter London, Dolce & Gabbana and Tom Ford. Everyone’s invited.

Meanwhile, let’s gloat a little, Calgary. Ottawa and Vancouver are next in line for Nordstrom Canada, but they’ll have to wait til next year. Welcome to town, Nordstrom!Blue Besos

Upcoming Women of Influence Event

Now that our rude winter awakening is over with in Calgary, fall is in the air. It’s time to network. How else are we going to show off our outfits inspired by Vogue’s massive September bible?Lori Bacon

Lori Bacon’s outfit may be water-resistant. After all, she is the president and owner of Swimco, a Canadian retail success story based on a bathing suit narrative. She’ll be at the Westin next week to help entrepreneurs build brand legacy and growth strategy. I’ll be there, so expect Blue Besos to go from niche to mainstream in, oh, the next few weeks, after listening to the wisdom of Lori’s 30+ years of entrepreneurial experience.Women of InfluenceIn addition to listening to Lori’s presentation, plan to participate in a mysterious-but-intriguing-sounding “Connecting Activity,” enjoy some Q&A action and a glass of wine, all in a tight two hours! The event is September 24. Get your tickets here. I hear they’re selling out fast.

Blue Besos

Venus in Fur Opening Night

Stephen Avenue, CalgaryCalgary’s downpour last Friday made the normally buzzing Stephen Avenue a desolate place. Perfect for the opening night of Venus in Fur, presented by Alberta Theatre Projects!Venus in Fur Opening NightFrom the nosebleed section on the Martha Cohen Theatre, aka Tier 2, I had a wonderful view of the stage. Even the cheap seats are fab in this room.Venus in Fur Opening Night… although the leg room is a little tight. But I forgot about my knees jammed up against the railing as soon as the lights went down. Plus you’re allowed to drink during the performance. Although alcohol wasn’t required to make things interesting  — I was riveted. Promoted by a saucy photo of a woman in thigh-high boots held up by garters, you expect this provocative play to be purely about pleasure and punishment. But it ends up being much more complex and intriguing, and will get you talking about a multiple of social issues beyond sex, to gender politics. The cadence of theatrical delivery makes it easy to watch. Just when it starts to get really serious, there’s a comic break that cuts the tension. Tim Campbell, Amanda LismanActors Tim Campbell and Amanda Lisman accept a champagne toast after the premiere, with Artistic Director Vanessa Porteous behind them. Apologies, Amanda , for catching you on the way to a blink and obscuring your baby blues. Not only is she beautiful, her performance, switching between wildly different characters, was thrilling. Go see this play!Chicago Chophouse Stephen AvenueAfterwards, we stopped in to the new-ish Chicago Chophouse, next door to the theater complex, across from the skating rink (which, I’m pleased to say, despite our snowstorm last week, is still in liquid form). They didn’t balk at our 10:30 pm arrival, and we proceeded to have a fantastic meal. A surprising Caesar salad — the lettuce seemed more bibb than romaine — was light and lovely, with strips of The Best Bacon I’ve Ever Had alongside. Filet mignon was served a perfect medium rare.

Even though it was Friday night, the place was kind of empty. Although I think the cavernous heritage room in the Burns Building (no relation, unfortunately) would be hard to energize even if the restaurant was jammed. I humbly suggest filling the empty white walls with murals, Ayn Rand style. Chicago Chophouse has a cool Art Deco thing going on, but it’s not quite there. Although the decor was the perfect backdrop for our formal black attire.Blue Besos

Calgary Home+Design Show Giveaway!

When the weather in Calgary turns to snow, like it has here for the last ridiculous three days, do your thoughts turn to interior design? If you’re anything like me, they probably just turn to interior calorie intake. But now you can combine both desires, in one decadent giveaway bundle.Calgary Home+Design Giveaway on Blue BesosThe Calgary Home+Design Show is next week, September 18 – 21, 2014. To whet your whistle, the good folks at the show are combining forces with Blue Besos to give away a fabulous bundle featuring goodies like spice tins and cooking classes from Ruby’s Kitchen, IKEA gift cards, mini chalk paint cans from Interiors to Inspire and tickets to the show and more…Calgary Home+Design Giveaway on Blue Besos… like these artisanal marshmallows from Fiasco Gelato. That’s artisanal marshmallows. Just making sure you’re paying attention.

Wanna win? Email me:  tiffany [at] bluebesos [dot] com. Y’all know I’m writing it that way to deflect those dastardly spammers, right? Tell me your fave Blue Besos post. Whoever wins the race to the inbox wins the bundle!Blue Besos

 

UPDATE:  We have a winner! Janelle tells me my interview with William Shatner is her fave Blue Besos post so far. Thanks for all your emails everyone!

Diner En Blanc — Calgary Edition

Diner En Blanc CalgaryFor most of the 2500 guests who attended the oh-so-elegant Diner En Blanc, it was beaucoup de travail. Pulling together a sensational outfit, tout en blanc. Waiting until the last-minute communique for the muster point. Traveling en masse par l’autobus to the secret location. Carting chairs, tables and gourmet picnics up to the field at Pumphouse Park.Diner En Blanc CalgaryBut after setting everything up,  it was oh-so-worth it. Especially if you could flaunt your white on white coordination down to the bag you schlepped your meal in.Diner En Blanc CalgaryStarting in a Parisian park 26 years ago, Dîner en Blanc is now an international exposition of all the best Frenchie things:  joie de vivre, friendship, elegance and gallantry. Held in approximately 50 cities around the world, this was Calgary’s second time at the enchanted evening rodeo, where diners gather in a secret location, by invitation only.Diner En Blanc CalgaryThose who attended the Parisian-themed pop-up picnic courtesy of major sponsors avoided the shlep, sitting down to a beautifully appointed table in a prime location close to live music, complete with service and gift bags. This was despite Core Value Number Four listed in the lengthy rules and regulations of Diner En Blanc International, which states that “There are no VIPs and no VIP spaces at a Dîner en Blanc® event.” However, I am pro VIP, as long as the list includes me. Nordstrom, Indochino, Telus, RBC, Evian and Alliance Française … sign me up!Chef Michael Noble Diner En BlancChef Michael Noble didn’t have to agonize over his white outfit – Diner En Blanc was just another day on the job. He created 600 picnic bags of gourmet edibles that could be pre-ordered, all in the name of The Nash Restaurant and Off Cut Bar, his new venture that will open in the old National Hotel in Inglewood next month.Diner En Blanc CalgaryAnother person who didn’t spend the day shopping for her outfit was the lovely Miss Treena, who went green while wearing white, recycling her wedding dress for one more fabulous night.White CorsageMy own moment of white glory was this corsage. And pourquoi pas? Diner En Blanc makes prom style chic. Diner En Blanc CalgaryPolo players always have plenty pairs of white pants at the ready.Diner En Blanc Calgary jason gogoArtist Jason Gogo, one of the event’s hosts, superbly attired as usual, distracting from the fact that the champagne was rose.Diner En Blanc CalgaryIn a city whose claim to fame is hosting the largest rodeo on earth, it was lovely to see the enthusiasm for an evening devoted to elegance. A votre sante, Diner En Blanc!

Blue Besos

Calgary Polo History

It’s a cloudy day here in Calgary today, with thunderstorms looming. I’m worried that polo might be postponed this evening, but for the most part, it’s been an incredible summer, weather-wise and polo-wise. Simon the polo ponyIn fact, Calgary has a long history of amazing polo. I’m standing with a piece of it in this photo — my horse, Simon, has been playing in the area for decades. For those of you who missed it in this month’s edition of Calgary Polo Style, here’s my article on our local Sport of Kings:

Deep Roots in the Old West

Calgary polo had its beginnings as the sport of cowboys

Polo is known as the sport of kings, but in Calgary it would be more accurate to call it the sport of cattle ranchers. Long before organized rodeo blazed a trail through the Canadian West, polo was a cowboy sport.

Formed in 1890, the Calgary Polo Club is the arguably the oldest in North America with consecutive annual play. Thanks to Southern Alberta’s passion for horses, the club not only survived two world wars and the Great Depression, it flourished. Even though the local equestrian community kept the sport alive in typical low-key cowboy style, there have been plenty of bold-faced names along the way.

Alfred Ernest (A.E.) Cross, best known for being one of the “Big Four” cattlemen who founded the Calgary Stampede in 1912, was a polo lover first. He established the Calgary Polo Club in 1890, along with several friends from the exclusive Ranchmen’s Club. Although his A7 Ranche is said to be the oldest ranch in Canada still in the hands of its original owners, Montreal-born Cross was more than a cattleman. His professional pursuits included the brewing business, the film industry and politics.

Not to be outdone, Henry Bruen Alexander, the first president of the Calgary Polo Club, built some of downtown Calgary’s most impressive sandstone buildings. His real estate legacy includes the Alexander Block, which still stands on Stephen Avenue.

Calgary polo was also buoyed by many of the remittance men who came to Wild Rose Country to expand their fortunes. Originally from England, Colin Ross was one of those “drawn to the profit potential in western Canada’s burgeoning cattle kingdom,” according to the Historical Society of Alberta. After using family money to invest in property in the foothills, his obsession with polo led him to be known as a millionaire polo player. In 1907, the Los Angeles Times raved about his unbeaten Calgary team, which traveled across North America to meet rivals’ challenges. 

All of these men most likely played at Owen’s Race Track, in today’s Elbow Park. It was rented by the Ranchmen’s Club for polo games and “manly sports,” duly noted in the Minutes of Ranchmen’s Club Committee in August, 1895. Also in the minutes, and true to polo-party form, gaining approval for a license to sell beer was a top priority. And despite the official written record, the manly sport of polo wasn’t limited to men. As early as the 1920s, a women’s team organized in both Kamloops and Calgary traveled to the first international women’s tournament in New York.

As the city of Calgary grew and developed, the Polo Club hopscotched through several pieces of real estate, including fields in Hillhurst and Chinook Park. In 1959, Jim Cross (son of A.E.) helped the club put down its final roots by providing land in Okotoks.

As the club settled into its new surroundings, the aggressive sport of polo continued to attract aggressive business leaders. Mr. Charles Hetherington, President and CEO of Panarctic Oils Ltd,received his USPA rating in Calgary in 1959, eventually serving as Canadian governor for the association. Playing into his 70s, his enthusiasm still infuses every game played at the Hetherington Field at Calgary Polo Club.

Meanwhile, history marched on — so much so that it alarmed Fred Mannix Sr., an avid player since 1957. Mannix commissioned author Tony Rees to write a book about the history of polo in Calgary. Interviews with “old-timers,” as Mannix fondly calls them, not only led to lost trophies, but a wealth of material that couldn’t be limited to Calgary. The book, now proudly displayed on many a coffee table, became a much larger project, ultimately titled Polo, The Galloping Game: An illustrated history of polo in the Canadian West.

Some of the players featured in Rees’s book are still on the field. With its 10-player dynasty, the Roenisch family is particularly noteworthy. Clinton “Kink” Roenisch started playing in 1933, at age 44, instilling a passion for the game throughout his clan, continuing to the fourth generation with Daniel, who plays as a 3-goal professional at the Calgary Polo Club today. Daniel benefits from double Southern Alberta polo DNA:  not only was his dad, Rob, a 5-goal professional at his peak, his mother Julie was the top-rated female player in Canada with a two-goal handicap and the first woman ever to play in the U.S. Open. She also helped to bring serious women’s polo back to the club for the first time in half a century.

Besides ensuring past history was duly noted,Fred Mannix has helped power the future of Calgary polo, by passing his love of the sport to his sons, Fred Junior and Julian.

The brothers compete in the World Polo Tour with their team, Alegria. 22-year old Julian, rated four goals, wears Alegria’s maple-emblazoned team jersey for North American competitions, leading the team to victory in the US Open this spring.

Fred Junior takes over for matches played in the mecca of polo — Argentina. A rare combination of patron and pro, 29-year-old Fred is one of the world’s best players, rated six goals in North America and nine goals internationally. Perhaps, after making Team Canada when he was just sweet sixteen, the stage was set for this Calgarian to make history. In a sport that only a few hundred Canadians play, he’s the first in 76 years to compete for the coveted Argentine Triple Crown. He’s the second Canadian in 120 years to compete in the Argentine Open. This summer he’s back on home turf, training for the forty-goal polo waiting for him this fall in Argentina.

Besides the local ranchers, pros and CEOs, the Calgary Polo Club has had no shortage of visiting VIPs. Actors Tommy Lee Jones (Men In Black, The Fugitive) and William Devane (Knots Landing, 24) have played in club tournaments. Flames goalie Mike Vernon traded his hockey stick for a mallet a few times. Jetting in from England, Prince Charles took time out from Stampede to take in a match and the professional head of the British Army, Charles Guthrie, stick and balled at the club. Lady Patricia Mountbatten Brabourne has also been a recurring field-side fan.

As the historic Calgary Polo Club plays its 2014 summer season, those bold-faced names, along with all the unsung heroes of the sport and the club, continue to write and rewrite the story of polo in Calgary.

To read the full issue of Calgary Polo Style, look for it at the Glencoe Club, Ranchmen’s Club, Bankers Hall Club, Silver Springs Golf & Country Club, Eau Claire YMCA, Calgary Winter Club and Bearspaw Country Club.Blue Besos

Polo Style Magazine Launch

Calgary Polo Style MagazineI’ve always said that polo is a stylish sport, but now you don’t have to take my word for it — Calgary Polo Style makes it official.Anders Knudsen Red Point MediaThe launch of the new magazine (brought to you by the folks behind Avenue) took place at the Calgary Polo Club, natch, with cocktails and the Canadian Open. Anders Knudsen of Red Point Media offered up an athletic bowl-in for the 20-goal game.Calgary Polo Style MagazineHis brogues were made for bowl-ins.Fred Mannix Calgary Polo ClubNot many people in Calgary realize that polo is played here all summer long, just half an hour south of the city. Seven fields are just waiting for folks to roll up backwards in good ol’ gas guzzling SUVs and tailgate while taking in a game, like those watching Fred Mannix in jersey number 4 trying to keep an eye on the action behind him, without getting steamrollered in the process.Rich Roenisch bronzesFred Junior and the other players were motivated by Rich Roenisch’s beautiful bronze trophies.Ranch House Calgary Polo ClubThe Ranch House had plenty of seating on its grand balcony overlooking the field, but I found it easier to avoid wardrobe malfunction by standing. Shoulders back!Miles Durrie, Calgary Polo Style MagazineThose in the know, like Miles Durrie, Editor of Polo Style, always seem to end up on the berm, where the height offers fabulous viewing … and great acoustics for all those swear words in Espanol. Calgary Polo Club playersThe berm is also where The Men Of Polo tend to hang out if they’re not playing…Calgary Polo ClubCalgary Polo ClubCalgary Polo ClubCalgary Polo Club … with their eagle eyes on Julian Mannix, keeping his focus despite the pressure from the opposing team.Tory Burch WedgesBack to footwear. It’s important to make the right choice for a night that includes a divot stomp. Wedges work wonders for the ladies, especially when they’re Tory Burch.Divot Stomp Calgary Polo ClubThe divot stomp is really just a jaunty half-time opportunity for a fashion show on the field.Calgary Polo Club StyleThis Calgary Polo Style reader shows his support in style.Anne Evamy, Anders KnudsenCalgary Polo Club President Anne Evamy talks speech strategy with Anders. They’ve got both the verticals and the horizontals covered.Calgary Polo Style MagazineBesides cataloguing the good life surrounding my favorite sport, Calgary Polo Style puts players in the spotlight. Not only did I make the official roster (yes, you’re reading that right, I’m a minus one — and I’m in good company)…Calgary Polo Style Magazine…I may have written an article or two for the magazine. Now that I’m a writer, instead of a television journalist, I spend a lot less time on my hair.

If you didn’t receive a copy in the mail or with your Globe & Mail newspaper, check out the free stands at the Glencoe Club, Ranchmen’s Club, Bankers Hall Club, Silver Springs Golf & Country Club, Eau Claire YMCA, Calgary Winter Club and Bearspaw Country Club. Congrats on the launch, Polo Style!

Blue Besos

Nordstrom Stampede Social

Nordstrom Stampede SocialNordstrom doesn’t open until September, but the party’s already started. Good strategy. Any store that hosts a Stampede Social will fit in to the Calgary way of doing things just fine.John Bailey NordstromJohn Bailey, PR Manager for Nordstrom, came in from Seattle for a little boot-scooting fun in Cowtown. When Chinook opens in Calgary, it will be the first Canadian location for the century-old American department store. Welcome to town, John! And don’t worry, that’s not The Thing on your shoulder, it’s just my hand.Sebastian BravoBecause Nordstrom’s Stampede Social was at Hotel Arts, I had to stop in to Yellow Door Bistro to say hi to the man with the coolest name in the city: Sebastian Bravo. He’s spreading good karma with Mealshare, adding “buy one give one” items to the Yellow Door menu.The Bloggity Blog DudeMeanwhile, back at the party, Mike Morrison of the Bloggity Blog showed off his Stampede style with his new Paul Hardy cowboy shirt. Check out Paul’s CS Mercantile boutique at Stampede here.Hotel Arts pool And –aaah– the pool. Hotel Arts has wisely located a bar just steps away. With this Stampede heatwave, it always seems to be time for a cold one. Nice drinking with you, Nordstrom — looking forward to shopping with you!Blue Besos

Paul Hardy’s Stampede Style

Paul Hardy CS MercantileDon’t be fooled by his “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us” look — Paul Hardy’s just getting his cowboy on. Which is only appropriate, since the internationally renowned fashion designer has partnered with Calgary Stampede to take souvenir shopping to a stylish new level.

The richest rodeo on earth initially asked him to design a private label, but Paul declined after realizing their store wasn’t quite up to his brand standards: “They don’t like me saying this, but they were catering to the carnies.”

Them fighting words only whet the whistle of Stampede execs, who then asked Paul if he’d like to be the creative director of all their product merchandise. Opting to become the Oprah of favorite western things, Paul agreed, and CS Mercantile was born.Paul Hardy CS MercantileUnder Paul’s direction, overt Calgary Stampede branding has been dialed down. Instead, he opted for a subconscious association with Stampede colors of red, white and black, traveling the globe to find exclusive items he felt reflected Calgary culture– ie, ones that can exist outside the ten days of Stampede, like this gorgeous, subtle wolf scarf. (Shopping hint:  they’re rolled up in that basket to the left).CS Mercantile home decorPaul believes Stampede style is more urban western lifestyle than costume, hence the home decor items. “Everyone in town has a small section of their closet that is western apparel for ten days,” he says. “But as Calgary evolves, becoming a global center of finance, we’ve become a lot more cosmopolitan and a lot more diverse in our culture. People are starting to interpret Western in their own way.”Paul Hardy CS MercantileYou can still find souvenir T-shirts, but they’re interspersed with paintings by Calgary artist Jane McCloy, inspired by the historic photography of Edward S. Curtis. Coincidentally, in his mission of curation, Paul sourced other products inspired by Edward Curtis’ photos, including Pendleton blankets, coffee table books and a belt buckle.Paul Hardy Calgary StampedeEven though the buckles aren’t officially Paul Hardy designs, his collaboration has influenced almost every aspect of the CS Mercantile collection, from graphics design, to packaging, to piping on shirts.Paul Hardy CS MercantilePaul’s fave belt buckle. Mine too!Paul Hardy CS MercantileBesides the high-end fashion items, there’s a whole bunch of novelty going on, with prices on rubber duckies and tattoos that dip below ten bucks.Rubber Duckies CS MercantileTattoos CS MercantilePaul Hardy CS MercantileMeanwhile, if you have a few more doubloons in your saddlebag, Paul has some of his own jewelry for sale, at a lower price point than usual.Paul Hardy CS MercantileYou can find CS Mercantile at the Grandstand until July 13th, with the online store continuing in virtual foreverness. Will we be seeing a future Paul Hardy-curated trading post off Stampede grounds, in the wild west of Calgary retail? Paul hints that there’s a possibility he may soon have another place to hang his hat.Blue Besos

Parade Marshal William Shatner

William Shatner Calgary StampedeCaptain Kirk, Denny Crane, Bill — whatever you call him, the 2014 Stampede Parade Marshal has arrived in Calgary. Note those suspenders he’s wearing, because they’re a style statement.William Shatner Calgary StampedeFacing the media today before he faces the throngs along the parade route tomorrow, William Shatner took all questions. Including my urgent fashion query.

ME:  ”What will you be wearing tomorrow?”

BILL:  ”Black underwear. And suspenders.”William Shatner Calgary StampedeLuckily Stampede President Bob Thompson swooped in to give Bill a belt buckle, which will add a little more coverage.Beautiful Bill Shatner

This isn’t William Shatner’s first rodeo. He’s won a few buckles in his day, breeds horses and has ridden just about every style imaginable. Of course, I had to ask him if he ever played polo. Nope. “I like my knees,” he says, telling me he has a few friends who have taken a beating playing the sport. But he’s ridden polo ponies. “They’re indefatigable. They never stop. They just keep going.” My horse Simon says Bill is right.William Shatner Calgary StampedeBill charmed us all. Even us hardened media types. See you at the parade!Blue Besos

About Tiffany

About Tiffany

I'm a model, journalist, short-time polo player and long-time fashion addict...

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