Canadian fashion at the Velvet Room Boutique in Kerrisdale, Vancouver
Credit: Davinia Yip

Canadian fashion at the Velvet Room Boutique in Kerrisdale, Vancouver

Co-owner Jessica Elliot changes the window display once a week to keep things fresh and interesting for customers.

Co-owner Jessica Elliot changes the window display once a week to keep things fresh and interesting for customers.

 

This lovely boutique in the heart of Kerrisdale combines modish Canadian fashion with old-school service


Over the years I’ve come to associate Kerrisdale with food. High tea indulgence at Adonia and Secret Garden; delicious sandwiches and simply excellent coffee at Bean Bros; and comforting Chinese fare at the Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant, which also happens to be our family’s go-to place for big celebration dinners.


Many others, though, flock to Kerrisdale to satisfy a different type of appetite: the one for a stylish and versatile wardrobe that stands out and lasts. And for that they rely on the savvy know-how of mother-daughter duo Deborah Richardson and Jessica Elliot of the Velvet Room Boutique.


“Our clients come from everywhere. Sometimes they call ahead to make sure we have certain things available before they make a cross-town trip. The regulars drop by at least twice a week.”


And there’s a good reason for that.


The Velvet Room Boutique in Kerrisdale, Vancouver

One of the boutique's specialties is dresses for all occasions, from casual day-to-day to cocktail receptions to more formal events—and all designed and made in Canada.


The Velvet Room boasts a meticulously and selectively assembled stock list that shows off the most exciting talents in Canadian fashion and accessory designs—more than 60 lines in fact, including Vancouver favourites such as Carlie Wong, Wanny Tang, Cici, Davie & Chiyo and Bronsino. Deborah and Jessica are very knowledgeable about the industry ("I sat down the other day to make a list of Canadian designers and came up with 250," Deborah says. "And that's just off the top of my head!"), and from the pride that they exude when talking about the store, it's clear that not a single item makes it into the store unless they absolutely love it. Luckily, there's plenty to love.


"Canadian designers are very well aware of making their clothes wearable—unique but wearable. They know they can't do the runway, couture type style here—it won't sell—but it still has to be exciting. It has to have a twist to it. And that’s pretty much how we pick out our things,” says Deborah.


"And Vancouver fashion is right on the edge of a gigantic boom. There's been some issues with fabric supplies, but that's going to change. And in the next five or six years, more and more top designers will choose to work here."

 

The Velvet Room experience


Deborah and Jessica's commitment to carrying exclusively Canadian designs is worthy of note in and of itself, but what really sets the Velvet Room Boutique apart is their dedication to the customer.

 

The Velvet Room Boutique

www.thevelvetroomboutique.com
2248 W 41st Ave, Vancouver


True to the spirit of customer service, Jessica regularly posts style tips, sale alerts and new arrival updates on the boutique's Facebook page. Be sure to check it out!


“It's about what works for you, day to night, weekday to weekend. People want to add to their wardrobe and know that they’re gonna wear those pieces, so we show them how to make the whole wardrobe work," Deborah explains the store philosophy. "If it suits you, if you can wear it over and over again, then it’s the perfect purchase.”


Jessica describes a typical shopping experience at the boutique: “You come in, lay down your stuff, and we’ll be here for an hour. You’ll walk out with a full outfit, looking and feeling great. We’re selling the entire outfit—the dress, the shawl, the bolero, the jewellery. That’s what we do best.”

 

Deborah Richardson and her jewellery line Coral MoonDeborah Richardson designs the in-house jewellery line Coral Moon


It's a style consultation, wardrobe maintenance clinic, and girlfriend chat session all in one.

 

"It’s relationship building," Jessica emphasizes. "Our clients are super personal with us. They tell us everything—we know their dog's name, how many kids they have. It’s almost like an old-school hairdresser shop. That’s the way I like it."


And who are these clients? "Successful business women, artistic individuals, people who hold interesting jobs, younger professionals, high-school grads who want to look sophisticated... "


Basically, anyone from 18 to 80. The mother-daughter team takes advantage of their age difference to make their boutique accessible to a wider range of clients. At the same time, because they share the same taste and sense of flair, they demonstrate the importance of having classic, quality pieces in building a versatile, timeless wardrobe that grows with you.


“Oh yes, we will fight over the same piece that comes in. 'Dibs on that!'” Deborah laughs.

 

Coral Moon Jewellery


The Velvet Room also has an in-house jewellery line, Coral Moon, designed and made by none other than Deborah herself. It is an exquisite collection of wonderful hues and texture, primarily made of mixed metals (gold, silver, patina silver) and precious stones. There are also pieces made of pure brass for a heavier, chunkier look.

 

Coral Moon jewellery


Reflecting one of the boutique's guiding principles of versatility, versatility, versatility, many pieces in the Coral Moon collection are beautiful long necklaces in tones that are easy to match. You can wear them long or doubled-up, depending on the outfit.

 

"Yes, clients appreciate getting a couple looks out of one thing," Deborah says. "We design the jewellery to match the outfits we buy for the store."


The next time I head to Kerrisdale, I'll surely need to make room for more than just food!