Nordstrom 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, 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.Because 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.Meanwhile, 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.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!
Don’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.Under 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).Paul 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.”You 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.Even 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’s fave belt buckle. Mine too!Besides 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.Meanwhile, 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.You 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.
Captain 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.Facing 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?”
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.He charmed us all. Even us hardened media types. See you at the parade!
The first game of Calgary Polo Club’s 2014 season was the perfect time to debut the official team jerseys of… wait for it… Team Blue Besos! In Club League, we’re assigned new team members each week: three regular players and a professional. Even though these guys may be my mortal enemies next week, last night they were the best teammates a girl could have. That’s super-pro four-goaler Big Joe Henderson, from South Africa, on the left. Moi and Simon, next. Doug Byblow playing his inaugural Calgary game. And Francesco Galdon, whose Argentinian heritage means he has polo in his DNA.Simon can barely contain his excitement about our new shirts.Just look at them! Kudos to Cal-Crests Ltd. The Calgary custom apparel company did a stylish, speedy job.The same Blue Besos dream team plays again this Saturday at 11am, in a Club League round robin: 6 chukkers of fantasticness. For fans of either polo or tailgating: come out and enjoy both at the Calgary Polo Club. Gracias for the superb team photos, Heather Lilly!
If you saw President Obama up against the Confederate flag, would it stop you in your tracks? On a recent meander through the Calabasas Fine Arts Festival (yes, the Californian region of recent Bieber and Kardashian renown), this painting compelled me to ask the artist what the heck it meant. Which, it turns out, is the whole point of Kaleo’s “cerebral pop art” — and so integral that he’s trademarked the phrase.
“I really love pop art, in and of itself,” says Kaleo. “But I wanted to create layers and do something that actually gets people to think, rather than just enjoy the image. I wanted to evoke more emotion.”
Scars and Bars certainly rouses a reaction. Some folks love it. Others have told him that he shouldn’t have put Obama on the Dixie flag (!!). For Kaleo, who grew up poor in Pasadena, the love child of a European-American mother and a Hawaiian-Spanish-Puerto Rican father, the dialog around this piece makes its own statement. “It shows far we’ve come since the time of the Dixie flag to have a black president elected… and yet how far we still have to go.”Besides being thoughtful, down to earth and charming, Kaleo is a natural hustler, faux-hawked and hawking his art at fairs around LA. He’ll hit ten in total this year, all while promoting his brand through every social media channel going. Celebrity obsession juxtaposed against a commercialized image to tell a story that’s in our collective consciousness? I’m in! After viewing the “Images of Irony” in his tent gallery, I had to see more.When Kaleo invited me to his studio in Santa Monica, I didn’t expect it to be at the Real Office Center on Arizona. As he gives me a tour of the space for small companies, I start to understand why. With Kaleo in the house, besides being a business incubator, the Santa Monica ROC location is also an artist incubator — although Kaleo seems to have the exclusive. His art adorns almost every surface in the building. Real Office Centers CEO Ron McElroy commissioned the tables, above, and bought other pieces to infuse the cubicles with a creative vibe. Kaleo, whose name means “the voice” in Hawaiian, grabs a Starbucks under his Start Ups Brewing custom light box, where the mermaid’s lei winks at both his Hawaiian heritage and to ROC’s new Honolulu location.Then, it’s down to Door Number Bruce Lee: Kaleo’s studio in the basement parking garage.Why use a drop cloth? Then you’re just cleaning up the magic.Inside, Kaleo takes off his sunglasses and gets to work. His latest series, “Positive Pop” gives iconic commercial slogans an inspirational angle. It’s his top seller.Kaleo didn’t take a direct path to this studio, where he works while standing, under the apoxy resin Mona Lisa gaze of three presidents. After playing college football, he jumped into music industry. He got signed, but didn’t quite make it… and ended up becoming a gold broker. Just when he was agonizing about losing his soul to a job that paid well but gave him no intrinsic satisfaction, he had an inspiration for his “Images in Irony” series. He stockpiled canvases for a year before approaching a gallery. Now, with galleries in London, Dubai and LA, Kaleo’s following his bliss. He plans to dress that bliss with his new line of Artwork by Kaleo T-Shirts, launching soon. If you’re in the Bu, July 26 & 27th, hobnob with him at the Malibu Art Show. Living the dream, Kaleo, living the dream!
Calgary Stampede is just two weeks away! Time to start planning your alcohol stops as you make your way to the grounds, because your belly needs a baseline of inebriation before you walk through those turnstiles. Bar C, a CRMR restaurant located on 17th Avenue at Fourth Street, is perfectly located for this purpose.Just when you thought bacon couldn’t be mixed into another surprise gourmet combo, Bar C introduces their Cowboy Breakfast Cocktail. Normally, I’m not much of a mixologist. If I take it up a notch from my usual red wine, I like my tequila or vodka straight. But I have to admit, even though I was disappointed the bacon didn’t spiral down the stick like the promo pics, I dig this drink. Tequila, liquid smoke, bacon-infused maple syrup and cherry bark bitters combine to make it taste like Stampede. Egg whites are added to make it the most important meal of the day.In case we see another rainy start to Stampede season, check out the alley patio behind those cast-iron boiler room doors (taken from the Underwood Building on First Street) seen in the top photo. Cozy and covered, it’s the perfect place to sip your breakfast. The special cocktail is only available July 3-13. Come and git it!