At Vancouver boutique Oliver + Lilly's, the name of the sartorial game is evolution, not revolution. Oliver + Lilly's hasn't strayed very far from its classics-with-a-twist roots since owner Leighann Boquist opened shop in 2008, all while subtly forging new directions each season. On Monday evening, I was reacquainted with their offerings in the best possible way: an intimate multi-course dinner by The Farmer's Apprentice served at the shop, followed by delectable French pastries from neighbouring Beaucoup Bakery.
Over heirloom tomato salad and cedar plank salmon, with the sounds of "La Vie En Rose" playing softly in the background, Leighann took us through her inspiration for fall/winter 2014: the ease of Parisian style combined with New York cool and given a West coast twist. The shop's mainstay brands—A.P.C., Steven Alan, Heidi Merrick, Graham & Spencer—were well-represented. (One shawl collar belted cocoon coat in grey had me salivating harder than the pastries.) From this foundation of elevated basics, the Oliver + Lilly's girl would turn to a Chinti & Parker star intarsia cashmere sweater for a touch of whimsy, or patterned shift dresses from new labels Ilana Kohn and Babe New York for a break from basic black. A Reinhard Plank hat finishes off the look.
Everything was effortless, wearable, and—despite the international inspiration—quintessentially Vancouver. The price points of the clothes at Oliver + Lilly's do make them investment purchases to be worn time and again. (Proof: The Chinti & Parker skirt I bought last fall is still a beloved staple.) There's no fast fashion to be found here, but you know what? Slow, carefully considered, and much cherished are what I aspire to style-wise these days.