Take a fabulous photographer, a wondrous collection of turn of the century fashions, a motivated “A” team and a grateful impresario; add one of Vancouver’s best-kept secrets and mix. The result is “Vancouver’s Roedde House 1910-2010”: a stunning series of photos of Edwardian gowns photographed by Jonathan Cruz, during an incredible day at in Barclay Square that resulted in even more incredible photos.
The day was one I will never forget: magical, with everyone wanting to make the gowns, the house, the shoot, nothing but perfect. It began with us on deck at Jonathan’s studio at 7:30 AM, where Myles was at work with Tia’s hair and wigs, David was setting up, Sofia was being enchanting while Maureen and Annalissa watched. Jonathan took pictures of Eric Hamber’s design students, everyone was smiling and the day continued from there, as we moved to Roedde House and enlivened it for hours as Jonathan took shot after shot of Tia. Beginning in a spectacular collection wedding gown, complete with dozens of hand-sewn pearls and ending with at the piano in a flapper era dress, while David Wilkes and Myles Lepham, who had been working non-stop to make all of this possible, watched from the sidelines.
“Magical” does not begin to describe the day for me. I was-and continue to be-knocked out by the generous donation that Jonathan made by making the day possible, his invitation to Myles and David to join him in donating their day…and everyone’s willingness to do so. Tia, who posed endlessly with grace and poise, also gave her time as a professional model and I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the collection’s dresses.
Jonathan, whose energy equals his talent, turned my request for “ a few photos, please” into an event that saw a community of Vancouver’s talent, including Jonathan, model Tia Spowart, hair artist Myles Lepham and stylist David Wilkes combine to donate their time and professional skills to this shoot, done on site at the 1893-constructed home of Gustav and Mathilde Roedde. Attributed to Francis Rattenbury (the architect of the BC Legislative Buildings, the Empress Hotel and Vancouver Art Gallery), Roedde House is a restored and furnished house museum, one of the finest of its kind anywhere in Canada. My task was to write a handbook for area secondary school teachers that would somehow “lure “them into visiting the house and bringing their teenaged charges with them. The” mission” evolved slowly until I visited Eric Hamber’s fashion design program, where the students design vintage dresses, and where student Daisy Leung was named to represent Canada at a world skills competition. That visit, seeing Jonathan’s stunning photograph of Chloe at the CNIS gala and discovering the boxed vintage gowns tucked carefully away in Roedde House led to my request for a few photos.
As the “impresario” writing Vancouver 1910-2010: A Roedde House Handbook, I am totally knocked out by what a community coming together can do.
Thank you , Jonathan and “A Team” for a unforgettable day. (Thanks also to Gabriela and Dan Ax , Avocado Films).
The pictures speak for themselves.