Secret Location

by Leandra Medine
November 30, 2012
READ NEXT

A secret within a secret, dun dun dun.

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?”

In a Maison Michel hat from Secret Location

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.

REPLIES
  • Maria Onorio

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG,what you write,your pics,your wardrobe…

    Maria Onorio
    http://Www.thelastillusion.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/FashionAgony Fashion Agony

    Those YSL heels look amazing!

    xoxo
    Fashion Agony blog

  • fashmongers

    Love those heels, can’t wait to see how you wear them

    http://fashmongers.wordpress.com

  • style-squared by z&m

    THE SECRET LOCATION BOUTIQUE HAS THE BEST STUFF EVER!EXPECIVE-BUT CRAZY GOOD!!!

  • monkeyshines

    wonderful styling!

    Bises,
    monkeyshines
    http://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

  • Guest

    I have to admit, at first, though i’ve read about your blog before, i wasn’t intrigued because MR is essentially a fashion blog and I was thinking, oh no, Not Another Fashion Blog. OK, that’s not entirely true. the name ‘Man Repeller’ did intrigue me and got me jealous. That you had coined the term first, pissed me off because those two words are probably the best two words in whole english dictionary that describes me (in a fashion sense and, every other sense out there. Ask my two ex-husbands).

    Anyhow, its a complete different story now. I am a fan of yours and MR, but curiously its because you write so well. You really do. You just happen to write about fashion. Mostly only fashion. And that’s ok. i guess.

    I think you know you can write and I’m hoping you’d write about some other things besides fashion. Maybe? I don’t know. Fiction? A book of some sort? Seems a waste to have such a talent that reads so effortlessly only to spend it on blogging about clothes.

    OK, about this latest entry.

    I didn’t like how you said at the end of paragraph 3 ” How could a place this….advanced exist so far from New York?”

    I think you’re a bit more worldly for that kind of statement. Its not really your style. The sentence implies that NY is the centre of the universe (fashion or everything). Which you know isn’t true. There’s a big world out there outside new york. You’ve been to many of those places i’m sure. And let’s be honest, Canada isn’t THAT far.

    Far is Malaysia, or Thailand or Laos or New Zealand. Places btw that are interesting and have’advanced’, as you put it, or as i put, different interpretations of fashion.

    Anyhow, that’s it.

    ZB.
    zoubahar@blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/ZouBahar Zou Bahar

    I have to admit, at first, though i’ve read about your blog before, i wasn’t intrigued because MR is essentially a fashion blog and I was thinking, oh no, Not Another Fashion Blog. OK, that’s not entirely true. the name ‘Man Repeller’ did intrigue me and got me jealous. That you had coined the term first, pissed me off because those two words are probably the best two words in whole english dictionary that describes me (in a fashion sense and, every other sense out there. Ask my two ex-husbands).

    Anyhow, its a complete different story now. I am a fan of yours and MR, but curiously its because you write so well. You really do. You just happen to write about fashion. Mostly only fashion. And that’s ok. i guess.

    I think you know you can write and I’m hoping you’d write about some other things besides fashion. Maybe? I don’t know. Fiction? A book of some sort? Seems a waste to have such a talent that reads so effortlessly only to spend it on blogging about clothes.

    OK, about this latest entry.

    I didn’t like how you said at the end of paragraph 3 ” How could a place this….advanced exist so far from New York?”

    I think you’re a bit more worldly for that kind of statement. Its not really your style. The sentence implies that NY is the centre of the universe (fashion or everything). Which you know isn’t true. There’s a big world out there outside new york. You’ve been to many of those places i’m sure. And let’s be honest, Canada isn’t THAT far.

    Far is Malaysia, or Thailand or Laos or New Zealand. Places btw that are interesting and have’advanced’, as you put it, or as i put, different interpretations of fashion.

    Anyhow, that’s it.

    ZB.
    zoubahar.blogspot.com

    • Leandra Medine

      Yes, fair enough and I appreciate your thoughtful critique. Maybe “advanced” isn’t the right word or maybe I *do,* quite selfishly give too much credit to New York as the epicenter of worldliness. What I meant was ultimately that I was very impressed by how…avant-garde the store’s offerings rendered in a city, that its own inhabitants have dubbed “the official home of yoga pants.”

      • http://www.anorexicescapades.com/ BougieHippie

        Don’t apologies for YOUR writing or word usage It’s YOUR site, your point of view and creative license. I love YOUR blog you have a stellar audience that like YOUR words and content. Don’t let someone tell you what to write on YOUR site. They could always find a site that writes about exactly what they prefer to read. I think its rude/disrespectful for someone to tell you what to write about according to them.

        • Leandra Medine

          I so appreciate your defense! But I want this comment section to be an open forum for anyone to express an opinion and as such won’t and dont want to reprimand any criticism that is thoughtful!

          • Sam

            Leandra, you are the coolest of the cool. Impressive, inspirational and probably awesome to hang out and have dance parties with.

          • Catherine and Greer

            I think you answered that really well Leandra considering it was a negative comment. However, what has been ignored is that by your acknowledgement of how you used to think of New York as the centre of the fashion world, you are giving Canada a kudos and sending the message that you have discovered that there is great people and fashion everywhere. It was just a funny line, which has now been over-analysed.

            This gal may be a fan of your writing, but she forgets that the common denominator of all your writing is your humour! And humour means recognising a stereotype (thinking New York is the one and only great fashion location) and then putting a spin on it to blow it out of the water.

            I liked the article! And I’m so excited for your book!

            http://girl-hunting.blogspot.com.au

          • Sara N.

            i agree! part of being from new york is being a caricature of someone from new york – so statements such as the aforementioned one are not to be criticized but taken with a grain of salt! loved the post, what a read (as always)!

            http://stylesaranwrapped.tumblr.com/

          • Gabrielle Pedriani

            “part of being from new york is being a caricature of someone from new york ”
            This is maybe my favorite line written anywhere ever. There’s so much I want to say about it, and so much I won’t.

            Cheers, Sara :)

    • Rini

      I’ve never added to a blog before but your comments really make me want to say something zoubahar… You sound like a fuckin’ asshole’. Anyhow, that’s it.

    • Sonsy

      I’m from New Zealand and New York is still the center of the universe.

    • Divya Keerthika

      Her talent would have been put to waste if she dint write, period. But she does and that is whats important. What is so fundamentally wrong with writing/blogging exclusively about fashion, which by the way isn’t just about pieces of garments but rather about personification and individuality *i do realize i’ve used ‘about’ 3 times*. Its obviously her passion and she is following it. I’m sure, even you, when decided to pick an aforementioned piece, would spend 5 minutes at the least to do so. And that, is your involvement with fashion. As for the extent of involvement, to each their own. Moreover how is fiction in any way more important than fashion? Seriously, fiction?! Its not even real.

    • cheche

      Ugh. Fashion is fashion. No matter where the shops are or well-dressed people are, the epicenter of fashion relies on every individual who considers fashion passion. Debated the Milan and Paris for fashion weeks and well-dressed people, I might be in a humble farm in the awesome third-world country Indonesia and still read the oh-so-pricey Vogue though I can’t even afford those designers’ catalogues. I might even call my overalls the epicenter of fashion. My Secret Location might even be across my farm in the oh-so-humble thrift store and still think I’m the center of fashion.

  • Gada

    “Carey Melnichuck 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.”

    Really like this sentence. Very well done entry. Carey sounds amazing as does Vancouver.

  • http://twitter.com/TheInsurist The Insurist

    Vancouver can definitely surprise you now, can’t it?

  • Jenaly Enns

    I have to say I was a bit upset when I found out your were here and I didn’t even know. I would have love to have met you!!!

    http://www.inmydreams.ca/

  • Denisa

    Like always you write great post and I like that pics too. Have a nice day.

    http://www.fashiondenis.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/nina.trendsurvivorpapaioannou Nina Trendsurvivor Papaioannou

    Love your Maison Michel hat. Now, I know why Kirna told me this was the one item she would get for 2012 to update her wardrobe!

    xxx

    Nina

    http://trendsurvivor.com

  • linda_famularcano

    Oh how I love your posts! Secret Location sounds fantastic! xx

    http://thecurvygirlinthecorner.blogspot.com

    P.S. Liked this on Bloglovin ;)

  • The Urban Promeneur

    I strongly hope you retained an electronic version of Careys appearence in another pixel version, por favor? You made it so hard to not wanting to take a look on her style this day!!!

    http://THEURBANPROMENEUR.blogspot.com

  • PICK A NAME

    It’s amusing how readers, fans, onlookers, etc. somehow always feel the need to criticize/judge everything when they are in no place to do so. Truth is, anyone that reads the Man Repeller frequently and still feels even the slightest bit offended that she implied “NY is the most advanced city” in a recent entry shouldn’t resort to immediately writing a comment before getting to know the fucking blog. spend a good 15 mins stalking the Repeller behind this blog and you will learn quickly just how fucking obsessed she is with NY. and what exactly is wrong with that? If you do read such opinionated phrases (like the one Zou Bahar seems to have an issue with) in papers like the NY Times for example, I get how you would feel the need to post a short “WTF comment” and express to the writer that thats not really accurate or how biased it sounds, BUT THIS IS NOT THE NY TIMES, and therefore, not every sentence has to be diplomatically phrased. I believe that a big part of the reason why a shit ton of people have this site bookmarked on their iPhones is because her writing is something we don’t get from other journals, blogs, or papers.

    also, sorry for the sporadic F-bombs — insertcringedfaceemoji.

  • Inspirareland

    Good hat and good shoes!

    http://www.inspirareland.tumblr.com

  • Tanja Trutschnig

    I have to say it again… I think we two
    got seperated at birth! ;) I’m following your blog from the other side of the
    world… Austria! People, especially guys here always make fun of the things
    I’m wearing! If my clothes had feelings they would need therapy because of
    mobbing. Well and I will probably never get a boyfriend because my clothes are
    men repelling too. This is why I’m now in a serious relationship with my
    walk-in-closet! I love your blog, videos and everything you do and how you do
    it… it’s so fun and entertaining. I’m already so tired of all the other
    fashion bloggers doing this high-fashion-posing while running a “street
    style blog”. I’m always trying to get some fun in my blog by making a
    parody of me and my life in Austria… A farmer’s girl, dressed like she’s
    going to a fashion week! :D I always tell my mum that I really love here but I
    just feel like I’m born in the wrong place. A farm in Austria!? Not really the
    best basis to start a fashion blog. But my motto is: “you don’t have
    influence on your background but you have influence on your future!!”
    Maybe we will meet one day at the Lincoln Center in NY for a RTW show… ohhh I
    wish! If you want see my parodies check out my blog… I just launched it. I
    comment of you would mean a lot to me… but you probably get this a lot!! But
    I’m sure you never heard it from an Austrian fashion bloggers though :D ;) BTW
    Peter Pilotto is Austrian too… so we already have some successful
    “fashion exports” and I love the Nicholas Kirkwood for Peter
    Pilotto you
    own… I love his designs not only because he is Austrian, his patterns and
    textures are amazing… they do all the talking for you right?!? Yes I know you
    well ;) as you can see I could talk hours to although I’m not even talking to
    you I’m just leaving a comment on your blog you will probably not even
    recognize! Wow and now it’s really getting awkward therefore I better stop I
    don’t want anybody to think I’m a freaking stalker! Haha but maybe I am?!!

    http://www.typicalstoffy.com

  • Tanja Trutschnig

    I have to say it again… I think we two
    got seperated at birth! ;) I’m following your blog from the other side of the
    world… Austria! People, especially guys here always make fun of the things
    I’m wearing! If my clothes had feelings they would need therapy because of
    mobbing. Well and I will probably never get a boyfriend because my clothes are
    men repelling too. This is why I’m now in a serious relationship with my
    walk-in-closet! I love your blog, videos and everything you do and how you do
    it… it’s so fun and entertaining. I’m already so tired of all the other
    fashion bloggers doing this high-fashion-posing while running a “street
    style blog”. I’m always trying to get some fun in my blog by making a
    parody of me and my life in Austria… A farmer’s girl, dressed like she’s
    going to a fashion week! :D I always tell my mum that I really love here but I
    just feel like I’m born in the wrong place. A farm in Austria!? Not really the
    best basis to start a fashion blog. But my motto is: “you don’t have
    influence on your background but you have influence on your future!!”
    Maybe we will meet one day at the Lincoln Center in NY for a RTW show… ohhh I
    wish! If you want see my parodies check out my blog… I just launched it. I
    comment of you would mean a lot to me… but you probably get this a lot!! But
    I’m sure you never heard it from an Austrian fashion bloggers though :D ;) BTW
    Peter Pilotto is Austrian too… so we already have some successful
    “fashion exports” and I love the Nicholas Kirkwood for Peter
    Pilotto you own… I love his designs not only because he is Austrian, his patterns and
    textures are amazing… they do all the talking for you right?!? Yes I know you
    well ;) as you can see I could talk hours to although I’m not even talking to
    you I’m just leaving a comment on your blog you will probably not even
    recognize! Wow and now it’s really getting awkward therefore I better stop I
    don’t want anybody to think I’m a freaking stalker!

    http://www.typicalstoffy.com

  • http://lasaloperie.blogspot.com/ Isa

    You make this place sound so incredibly appealing. On my list for if I ever go to Vancouver!

    http://lasaloperie.blogspot.com.br/

  • http://twitter.com/SophieLewis423 Sophie Lewis

    Wow I would love to visit this store. The owner sounds like such an intersting person. Hope you had a great time in Vancouver; I love your denim jacket and hat!

    PS. dont ever stop writing about what you love because someone wants you to “write about some other things besides fashion”! xx

    http://scattergirll.blogspot.com

  • dutch girl in gastown

    I live in Gastown where “Secret Location” is located. All the locals find it a pompous eyesore. It’s always EMPTY. Why does no one shop there? Because there are far more interesting local independent shops that carry one of a kind, gorgeous, unusual, cutting edge ,cool pieces rather than pretentious overpriced items SL carries. As for the restaurant/cafe…..again….it’s dead every day/night. On the weekends, when every single restaurant / bar is packed and has lineups, SL is a ghost town. Its’ cold boring interior doesn’t appeal to anyone. It’s a shame you didn’t blog about all the wonderful places in Gastown instead. Likely because you weren’t paid / flown down to write an advertising item for them. Gastown was recently voted as one of the most stylish neighbourhoods in the World: http://www.complex.com/style/2012/10/the-50-most-stylish-neighborhoods-in-the-world/gastown. Be a rebel and explore – find stylish places instead of being paid to write about them.

    • Angry women

      Wow…someone is angry.

    • Lucinda

      No-one shops there because the staff are so rude and basically ignore almost anyone
      who dares to venture inside. Haven’t they ever seen ‘Pretty Woman’?!!

      • Ariaeus

        Read my review (by Ariaeus M.) on Yelp.ca about this store. We did not find the sales associates rude but the store manager (a guy) is extremely unprofessional and rude. Which store manager ever calls a long-time customer to tell her that she can no longer shop at their store because that customer returned a pair of shoes (because the manager was so unaccommodating about her very reasonable request?) As I said in my posting on Yelp, I really hope the owner (Carey Melnichuck) does something about this unbelievably rude and unprofessional manager.
        Ms. Melnichuck: Your father did not make his successful construction business with these type of managers. All this type of managers ocan do for your business is runing it.

        • Ariaeus

          CORRECTION: The second last word should be “ruining”!!!! :-)

  • Rachel

    “It wasn’t about fashion, it wasn’t about style, it was about distinction and mindfulness.” What a great way to sum up signature style! Thanks for sharing your “secret” and another thoughtful post. http://www.fawkeshunter.com

  • http://www.styleclouds.de/ Styleclouds

    The heels are amazing! xo, Christina

    http://www.styleclouds.de

  • The Garage Starlets

    Love Gio Diev! We did a post on his work a while back. He is a great Bulgarian shoe designer that lives and works in NYC. Wish to visit this store one day.

    http://www.thegaragestarlets.com/

  • Laura
  • Lace and Chiffon
  • Divya Keethika

    i dont understand! i jus posted a reply to Zou Bahar, went back n came again n its gone!!

  • Opposite Lipstick
  • http://Theclovenheart.com/ The Cloven Heart

    Leandra (if I may speak to you on a first-name basis) you are an incredibly stunning woman. It’s been a pleasure to follow you over the past couple the years that I have and to watch your writing grow. I was so absolutely wrecked when I discovered that you’d been in my backyard and I missed it. Missed it! I’m still planning the outfit that I would’ve worn and the words I would’ve said to let you know that I really do appreciate your presence on the interwebs. Other people will continue to make their idols and ask you for “just one word of advice” in which they will attempt to steer thier life in a direction that will garner the same connections and attention. Thier actions, their expectations, are not your responsibility and I hope that you don’t feel like you have to live under the weight of that. You really are a treasure and I look forward to celebrating your continued successes and crying over your failures — cause we’re all gonna have them. That is all I have to say about that. In retrospect, upon actually seeing my girl crush, I probably would have just stared at you — dumbfounded, tripped and spilt wine on my shoes. Now that just would have been uncomfortable for everyone.

  • Gastowngirl

    What a great event and greet meeting you! I live in Gastown and love the Secret Location The clothes are amazing. Nothing like it in the city. If you want a one of a kind piece, this is your spot! My husband and I eat here on the weekends and Friday and Sat nights are very busy! Nice to see something different in Vancouver where those of us who appreciate fashion and good food can visit all in one stop.

  • vittoria gallacci

    Beautiful hat!

    Vittoria from 5 IN THE MORNING

    http://vittoriafiveinthemorning.blogspot.it/

  • 98989

    girls and men?

  • Saint Allison

    LUV that classic chapeau! xo/Allison

  • Disappointed Vancouverite

    So I finally visited Secret Location yesterday and wanted to see the store for myself. However I found the staff to be very condescending. I went to pick up a bag and a sales associate in white gloves came running over saying she “would show me the piece and assistance is required as each piece is one of a kind”. I’ve shopped at many places and in many cities, but never had someone treat me in this way. I was very disappointed in the service and the uncomfort I felt the entire time I was in there. The shop is usually empty. Even the high end stores like Holt Renfrew who are much larger in scale and the name brand carried do not treat customers in such a way. Very disappointed least to say!

SHOW MORE COMMENTS