I haven't been able to indulge in as many Olympics festivities as I want to because of work, but when I received an invitation to brunch at the beautiful Birks flagship store in downtown Vancouver, along with a chance to meet two-time Olympic medallist in mogul skiing Jennifer Heil--well, how could I say no? This is how I found myself trekking downtown last Thursday morning and braving the crowds on the streets.
Part of Birks's commemorative Vancouver 2010 collection, this heart pendant ($150) is a luxe keepsake of the Games.
Birks is arguably one of the most prominent jewellers in Canada and was founded by Henry Birks in Montreal in 1879. (Personally, I like to think of Birks as Canada's answer to Tiffany's.) Given the company's impressive history and Canadian heritage, it seemed natural for them to partner with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games as the official luxury jeweller of the Games--the first time a partnership of this nature has existed in the history of the Olympics.
Additionally, Birks hired Canadian mogul skier Jennifer Heil (2006 Winter Olympics gold medallist; 2010 Winter Olympics silver medallist) to be their official brand ambassador for the Vancouver Games. Heil, as it turns out, had a hidden interest in designing jewelry, and collaborated with the jeweller to create a special sterling silver collection for the Games.
Jenn Heil's special collection for Birks
The collection's pieces feature chains of varying lengths and thicknesses interspersed with five silver circles of varying size and texture. One circle, symbolizing Heil's dream, is linked to four circles embodying each of the values necessary to achieve that dream: courage, team, joy, and focus. Symbolism aside, I found that, in person, her collection struck the right balance between chunky statement piece and delicate femininity. The silver tone and relatively simple design motif make them highly wearable and versatile--no wonder the collection keeps selling out!
The beautiful bracelet!
While a cheerful sort of pandemonium ruled the streets, inside the gilded glass doors of Birks, the atmosphere was hushed, luxurious, and elegant. Jewels winked and sparkled from their lit cases as guests made their way up the spiral staircase to the waiting area. The crowd was a mix of fashionistas, media, fashion editors, and PR folks. Everyone mingled and admired the special-edition sterling silver Olympics pieces as they sipped on pomegranate mimosas and coffee and enjoyed hors d'oeuvres.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Flare magazine's editor-in-chief Lisa Tant again after meeting her at the Wear Else event! As you can see, she was dressed to cheer on Team Canada.
Although the mingling was fun, the biggest highlight of the brunch was when Heil took the podium and spoke about her partnership with Birks and her experience of the 2010 Games so far. Grinning, Heil recounted how the ski hill reverberated with the sounds of cheering Canadians on the day of her silver medal win. Two surprises then ensued. First, the CEO of Birks presented Heil with a beautiful ring as a congratulatory gift. Next, both of them unveiled two new additions to the collection: a set of stacking bangles and a set of stacking rings!
I finally worked up the nerve to ask Jenn Heil if I could have a picture with her and she said yes!
A big thank you to the wonderful folks at Birks for hosting this event and inviting me!