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Thursday 18 June 2015

Camera cliques and rumbling stomachs

I was invited about a month ago to an exclusive media pre-opening of a new Ted Baker store in Vancouver's premier downtown shopping mall, Pacific Centre. Ted who? I googled: highish-end women's and men's wear with an outdoorsy store decor, founded in London. Hm. Expensive clothes? Me? This might be interesting. I'm a woman of passion and curiosity after all. 

What to wear, what to wear!? I farked some clothing special. This is one of the pieces.
Bag and a Beret, Mel farks her tank maxi dress
A black maxi tank dress. Turnip Head surrenders to the universe. Me too. My sole too, on my right shoe, which was held on with clear packing tape. See what I mean? Chaos.

But at the last minute, I decided to wear something more colourful - you'll see it below - although I did wear these shoes after fixing them with Gorilla Glue.

And here it is. Ta-dah! The Ted Baker store, which opened today, Jun. 17. My best shot of it: the change rooms at the back.
Change rooms at new Ted Baker store in Vancouver
I'm invited to all kinds of things from blogging, usually taking place in Los Angeles or New York or Toronto. I don't give them a thought, but this event was local and what clinched the deal was it promised...
Free Private Breakfast! 
It's my favourite meal of the day!! Ah, but I am so naive. How could I not know that sophisticates never put food in their mouth at public events, let alone admit to eating? At least in Vancouver.

The "breakfast" consisted of a couple of pieces of sad fruit stuck on a limp stick. And some people were wandering around with mason jars filled with reddish liquid with a piece of soft bacon stuck on the rim - maybe bacon, not sure, meat-like-looking substance. No idea really. I didn't get close enough to see because the servers were going for the women in pleats and stiff fabrics and the men with facial hair. I could have tackled one, servers, not the pleated women or the hairy men, although I was in a pissy mood because I hadn't even had my breakfast coffee yet!

So I fixed my sole for this?! View from the change room area to the store entrance.
Pacific Centre Mall Ted Baker store
Never has the silent clique clique clique of snapping cellphone cameras been so deafening. The only thing that saved my ass big time was the champagne in my orange juice, which I didn't even know was in there until I started feeling more relaxed about the shite-situation I had stepped into.

Let me say again: I had been excited about the free private breakfast for weeks, WEEKS!, and told as many people as I could about it. Suzanne of her blog HERE guessed they would serve truffles and cocaine; O thought maybe expired olives on soggy crackers. Me? I envisioned waffles, syrup, fresh berries, whipped cream, toast, eggs, marmalade. It's a hearty outdoor theme after all. Nyunh. I reasoned, if they gave us bad food, wouldn't they worry about bad reviews? Heh.

Aside from the food, I knew I was in trouble at reception when I complimented the woman on her blue lipstick. She looked at me and said, it's part of the event, as in "are you such an idiot you think I would put this on for real?" And a 20-something woman checking in around the same time, when asked if we were together, replied with slight alarm, No!, and scurried away to create a safe distance. Why would I put myself in this kind of situation?

Despite being a two-hour affair, I fled after less than 15 minutes. All those weeks of anticipation wasted.
Melanie Kobayashi goes out for breakfast after Ted Baker opening
The left photos are from the cafe afterwards, where I had - guess what? Breakfast! And coffee. Left, top to bottom: fake laughing, ready for the bucket, and showing you that, yes, I am an idiot for going there with such high expectations.The right photo is me in the concrete box after I got home.

The Ted Baker clothes? They were okay. Nice. Hundreds-of-dollars nice, whatever that's worth. They had some bold, beautiful, colourful patterns - on the hangers of course, nothing like that on real people. Good gawd, no! Other stores opening were Kate Spade, Hugo Boss (with their glued-together suits), B2 shoes... Having said all this, I know some cool blogging women who do wear Ted Baker with wonderful aplomb, thrifted and new. And the store was attractive and clean, as you can see.

So, so much for my dream of becoming an overnight top-flight, world-class fashion critic. Not. happening. Clearly. But I thank the Ted Baker team for inviting me to this out-of-body experience.
Cartoon by Melanie Kobayashi, Privilege
Inspired by a woman I saw at a coffee shop a couple of months ago
In the end, sometimes the free breakfast is the most expensive one. Gorging on nothing then feeling sick.

And to Ana of the The Panties Project, whom I met on the way home when I was feeling like a freak and a pariah, Thank you! She compared me to Iris Apfel, whom I adore. Ana is a filmmaker and artist with real passion. It was perfect timing to be reminded that such people exist. Kind of like how Patti ran into Judith in New York. And when I got home there was a card in the post from my friend King Richard, who lives not far from me, which said, "Keep calm, you are simply fabulous."

My work is under control again. All systems go. Time to catch up with you!


  1. Oh, what a disappointing breakfast (your description of what you expected to find made my stomach rumble).

    I quite like the tree stump chair in the changing room.

    Your long black dress is gorgeous, and I adore the colourful outfit you decided to wear to the event.

    I hope today starts off a lot better for you (with breakfast and coffee). :)

  2. You are truly fabulous! I love both your outfits, and what a shame about the blue lipstick.

  3. That graffiti tank dress is feckin' fabulous and the multi print number divine. Shame about the breakfast, what a let down.
    Ted Baker stuff is nicely made but it turns up so regularly in charity shops only a loon would buy it new. xxx

  4. "I surrender to the chaos"! Yes!
    Your colourful number is wonderful as well.
    I did like their change rooms, but maybe they'd better stop calling it brekkie if there's no food!
    These poncy types are weird.
    Glad you were able to find your tribe in the end :-D xo Jazzy Jack

  5. You are awesome (esp. when you are hungry). You do remind me of Iris, with her/your singular style and beauty. Phooey on the limp fruit.

    Funny, I am nervous about showing my raggedy ass around *you* and the other fabulous women at the upcoming Vancouver Blogger Meet-up. Loan me a tee? xoxo

  6. I've gone to a couple of these kinds of events in the past and always feel like I don't belong. FWIW, I think you looked fabulous, both in the black and the color. Have fun in July, Greetje told me she's going to so you guys are in for some real fun!

  7. I am sad to hear this, but not too surprised. They always promise more than they deliver at these things. It is too bad you weren't at the store by my house, there are 2 guys that work there that are really fabulous. They dress very funky and are quite nice.

    The poor saps didn't know they had a famous person amongst them. Miz Baggs should have taken them all down a notch.

    I LOVE both your outfits. Surrender to the chaos is especially wonderful since it is a Melanie original. How did you do the design on the dress? It looks perfect!

    I've always feared that should I ever be invited to such an event (not that I ever would be) that I would stand out like a turnip head in the middle of a bunch of genetically altered fruit.


  8. I have received invitations to things like this, but mostly in New York and Toronto. The only one I have attended here was the opening of the new Le Chateau store a year or so ago (and I haven't been back since). Inevitably, the events are full of 20-something bloggers swanning around in their tiny dresses and skyscraper heels, and I just end up feeling old and annoyed.
    I love breakfast too, and that is terribly misleading to invite someone to a private breakfast, and give them limp fruit on a stick (that whole sentence sounds very dirty now that I re-read it). I would have happily gone for waffles and eggs and bacon, etc. with you.

    That dress is bursting with awesomeness and chaos - you're going to have a whole line of clothing soon ;)

  9. What a perfectly horrible experience! I'm sorry that your fabulousness was lost on those Michael Kors purse carrying sheep.

  10. Just the idea of a 'private breakfast' would've scared me away. Who has those? And what are they? Well, thanks to you, now we know. yuck. What a brave sole you are, Melanie, to take Ted up on his invitation. At a shopping mall?! Will we be taking a field trip there in July? At the least, we can get your autograph. Meanwhile, your chaos black dress is a rad Mad Max-i! Looking forward to a public breakfast with you soonish...

  11. ah yes - i remember...
    ...why i was happy to leave the city and move to the country. at least the food is more substantial here ;-)
    love the turnip head dress - did you paint it or it´s printed??
    and of cause your colorful pattern mixing - absolutely gorgeous!!!! your friend king richard is totally right!!

  12. You look totally divine whether in slinky black or technicolor.

    Ted Baker clothes have their moments but as Vix said you'd be a loon to buy retail when you can buy pre-loved. Far better to save up for some lovely Paul Smith duds imho.

    As to brekkie and the random serving of - if you had an invite surely you should have had some fashion buffet comestibles? They served drinks in jam jars? Ye gods ....

    I like the changing room rugs.

    Tra-la-la xx

  13. Love the honesty of your story.
    Had I been there, you would have been the first person I befriended. Sheep are boring.

  14. If the breakfast had been fab, you might have been tempted to say more positive things about the event than suits your integrity. So, really, hunger was a giftšŸ˜‰

  15. How dare they not feed my little Melanie!!!! No amount of expensive togs can make up for a measly non existent breakfast. I have no doubt that you were the chic-est person there. Lurve your most serene of dresses. And everybody knows that blue lipstick is for every day. Duh.

  16. LOL...I was waiting for this post Melanie. I'm relieved you escaped relatively unscathed, although I imagine as soon as the door closed behind you, you ran willy nilly to Cafe A. Aaaah...respite. Another blogger I follow attended the opening of Ted Baker {a different event?}. Her post featured a lovely white Ted Baker dress, some twirling, and lots of bokeh. Pretty yes, but...

    Thanks for keeping things real, refreshing, and entertaining.

  17. say what? The coolest person at the event gets ignored? You were just to fab. Off to google this "Ted Baker" person

  18. Hahahaha he! Sorry to laugh at your shitty experience, but... Oh it's funny! The sad fruit on a limp stick sounds awful, as do the manners of the folk in attendance. I don't often set foot in stores like that, so I can't really comment, but it looks kind of just average to me... Ted Baker clothes can be OK, but way too pricey for my tastes. Vix is right, they do turn up in the charity shops here, so if labels are your thing, you can find that stuff far cheaper.
    But really, I would far rather see you in your fantastic black "I surrender..." dress, or the wonderfully colourful collection of prints in the outfit you eventually wore. Ted B doesn't come close!
    I hope you had the most massive breakfast after you fled from the fashionistas. Coffee, more coffee, and extra waffles please! xxxx

  19. Damn, dude. That sucks. Well, you dressed to kill. Leave all of those silly corpses behind. Hehe. Love the mixed print ensemble at the end of the post. Expert!

    - Anna

  20. Brilliantly honest !! Yup, never any real food. Ever. Just squeeny things on sticks or in teensy glasses or doll sized macaroons...

  21. I read this this morning while I ate my toasted frozen waffle (with raspberry jam). What a lame breakfast, and it sounds like the place was full of posers, dude. I've thrifted Ted Baker ties for L, but nothing ever for me.

    You look shmashing in both outfits, but I love the giant black maxi dress of awesome.

  22. I totally love that first 'I surrounded to the chaos' dress....but the second colourful outfit is equally look great in both!

    I never been to any kind of store opening...I wonder what it is like!

  23. For beate grigutsch, to answer your question, I painted the dress with acrylic paint. Painting white on black takes a long time to get a clean and professional finish, as you may know, but I don't have the proper equipment to do it another way. I enjoyed the process though.

  24. For beate grigutsch, to answer your question, I painted the dress with acrylic paint. Painting white on black takes a long time to get a clean and professional finish, as you may know, but I don't have the proper equipment to do it another way. I enjoyed the process though.

  25. Your honesty is appreciated.

  26. What a disappointment! I have been at one such type of event in London and yeah, the food and the folk there were kind of like you described. I like that that you tell about the experience with humour. You looked fabulous, by the way, in that colourful skirt and top.

  27. I applaud you for even going, Melanie! I'm glad you managed to escape with your sense of humour and incredible style intact. And that you got a decent breakfast afterwards. How can they even call it breakfast when there's no Real Bacon involved?

  28. buuuuu, no breakfast, no coffee!!, that sounds like hell!!! now I know what to expect if I ever go to any of these fashion breakfasts!. I've gone to a pair of fashion events and there were a lot of food, particularly because nobody was eating, except me, and then they were looking at me reproachfully!.
    And I love your 'i surrender to the chaos' dress!!, I would wear it with enthusiasm!!, I'm ready to embrace the chaos indeed!! mwahaha
    You look gorgeous, love your hair, love your little glasses (so cool) and love your fabulousness!!
    besos & chaos

  29. I laughed over the champagne and orange juice situation! *sorry* - being offered a free breakfast sounds smashing, free food is alluring, the fruit on sticks would have been lovely if skewered into a tin foil pineapple, blooming amateurs! - glad you finally got some lovely food, and by goodness I love both of your outfits, loooove you, your hair and those dang fine glasses and I find blue lipstick brings out the blue in ones eyes x x x

  30. What a load of over-hyped uptight bs! You rock that you left after a few minutes. (and thanks for the link over at my blog - I really dig your hair, and outfits).

  31. I am not trying to flatter you. I honestly think you are so much more creative than the people in ready-made clothes. You are original, genuine, authentic. I love both your outfits. You looked fabulous, absolutely fabulous. And I get your frustration. Good of you to leave and get a proper breakfast.

  32. Honey, I feel your pain. Had I been there, I would have INSISTED on the turnip-head dress. I would have also insisted on fleeing to the closest diner for steak AND eggs AND potatoes AND toast AND pancakes. And coffee. BUCKETS of coffee.

  33. Awesome outfit and screw the vapid insecure 20 somethings. You drop it like it's hot!

  34. This is one of the best reviews that I've read of "such" an event, ever. I know that you were the most interesting person in the room (I'm including both of your outfits of course, even though you only wore one). Yes, you are "simply fabulous."

    Meeting up with Patti in NYC was a major highlight of my NYC adventure. Unforgettable, I must say!

  35. They promised breakfast and then that? Well that blows. Is bacon as a garnish for drinks even a thing? wow I am so out of touch. Can't even imagine that one! And contaminating the champers with OJ, well omg. Positively the last straw.
    You looked fabulous, but. Take some comfort in that!

  36. I don't know, they lure you in, the b*rst*rds with free breakfast and then they have the gall to offer fruit? Fruit? And on Sticks? Who the hell calls that breakfast? A pox on them and their poxy sticks. I sincerely hope your second breakfast nourished you nutritionally and spiritually and maybe eased your creative soul.

    You're in a class of your own. You don't need promises of breakfast.

    The print of your skirt is truly outstanding. I'm certain you outwore everyone else there.

  37. I love your honesty and humor! I liked both of your dresses and you are fabulous in both outfits packing tape and gorilla glue and all. I stole a Ted Baker man;s shirt from my boyfriend which he got in a consignment shop and did not pay a gazillion dollars for. I actually like his mens stuff better than the woman's. You are the best and I am glad you came away knowing that.

    Accidental Icon

  38. The comparison with Iris is very relevant! And even though you did not appreciate the non-breakfast you got a great post!

  39. Too bad about the breakfast...but at least you got to write about it. Have a nice day.

  40. You looked supa cool!

    Yeah, I've been there. Much anticipation and then a disappointing reality. Feeling hungry and/or thirsty at events. That sucks. Good idea to leave so soon and get yoself a decent breakfast.

  41. Your articles are fun to read, even if the stories aren't ;) Great outfits. Love the black dress !!! The 'Boho' idea is fantastic - colour and pattern matching right down my street. Margot


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