I spent a day in Vancouver last month. It was a long five hours to travel over the east coast (which included a lay over in Minneapolis and subsequent conversation with a flight attendant who suggested I turn my Apple Airport off in order to acquire the free Wi-Fi.) But the marginal agony was well worth it, if not for the tidbit outlining airports vs. Airport, than certainly because when I stepped out of a car in Gastown, in Vancouver, greeted by a large turquoise awning and a jumbo-sized sticker of The Man Repeller logo sprawled across a shop window, I felt pretty fucking fancy.
As I sat down at a table in the restaurant situated directly next door to an inviting boutique that promised hours of real-world-absence-this-world-presence, I saw a chandelier-umbrella hybrid hanging from the ceiling. Naturally, I instagrammed that shit–if not because it was cool then certainly because I tastelessly called it a “chanderbrella” and that deserved recognition. Geo-tag rightfully dubbed the place Secret Location and commenters wondered, “why can’t you just tell us where you are, asshole?”
I wanted to tell them that Secret Location is where I was but when I stepped out of the dining room and into the boutique–a sea of Maison Michel Hats, Gio Diev lady tuxedo shoes, man-getting Anthony Vaccarello offerings I don’t trust as far as I can throw, kitschy clutches made from Lego, black brogues equipped with fur caps (all too reminiscent of a certain Jim Carey ca. Dumb & Dumber, Simone Rocha clear, plastic raincoats, perfect for a profound booty call, and the most majestic collection of vintage gold jewelry–I didn’t really know where I was either. How could a place this…advanced exist so far from New York?
When I met the store owner, it all made sense.
In a fire engine red bob with blunt, straight across-the-forehead bangs that she had just colored and neon yellow pumps purchased for “I don’t know, ten bucks, somewhere in Italy,” Carey Melnichuk was obviously that rare breed of fashion partisan, dissecting what the outer layers of the industry suggest and injecting the individuality and intellect that permeate it more esoterically.
Gio Diev heels from SL.
It wasn’t about fashion, it wasn’t about style, it was about distinction and mindfulness. Secret Location is the infrequent gem that successfully allows portals like fashion and style to drive a far deeper conversation and perhaps more importantly, to not only acquiesce that it’s okay to be different but to encourage it.
It took about an hour to wholly digest the large size of the white-floor, white-wall boutique–thumbing through every rack strategically distanced from the one before to ensure no square foot went frivolously used. A large table in the middle of the room contained a myriad of interesting books.
“But will you open in New York?” I asked Carey while flipping through one book titled Surreal Objects, chronicling the most bizarre objects in the world and yet not including my lazy eye.
“A Secret Location? No. But something else, maybe. Every store deserves its own identity,” she told me and as we agreed, the shop doors opened and herds of well dressed girls and men came in to indulge in the secrets of Secret Location too.