Secret Location: Gastown’s ultimate fusion of fashion and food
With little to no publicity, Gastown’s Secret Location has lived up to its name.
Vancouver’s first concept store has remained out of the media for nearly a week since it opened last Thursday. One week in, its popularity is growing with fashionistas, foodies and culture seekers alike.
The European-inspired concept store of boutique and cafe are housed under the same roof (1 Water Street). The two-sided, mirror-framed digital fireplace piece adds a touch of visual unity between two spaces, blending old world with new world concepts.
High-end, autonomous designers from New York and Europe are featured in the boutique, with a bit everything available — tech gadgets, art, novelty pieces, home accessories, fashion, even a selection of literature. Think miniature Holt Renfrew, with more designer exclusivity.
Surrey-native Carey Melnichuk is the owner of Secret Location. She designed the layout and decor of Secret with such artistic ingenuity that the space nearly vibrates with creative energy. Melnichuk studied textiles at the University of the Fraser Valley and a Masters of Fashion Design at Isituto Marangoni Milano, taking her skills in working with various textures and mediums and using them to create Secret Location.
The boutique also features some high-tech features: a 3-D mirror, which has a camera that captures your “rear view” so you need not twist and turn to see how you look from behind, and a Twitter camera mirror, a digital social tool that lets you take an image of the outfit you’ve just donned in order to get the yay or nay opinions from your friends, or followers.
Exclusive events are also held at the boutique, such as the upcoming limited edition vintage Chanel event, yet to be announced.
If pictures of the boutique were allowed, I’d have definitely posted them.
Coffee bar by day, lounge by night — the cafe is embodiment of transformation. During the day, the outside world becomes the art, with two full walls of windows serving as frames for Water Street activity. When the sun goes down, the bar top glows and changes colours, creating a beautifully mesmerizing effect as the light bounces off white walls.The cafe/lounge is mingle-oriented, with tables set about the room to allow guests to travel throughout the room without feeling as though they are crowding others.
Chef Marcus Bugoy, previously from the Fairmont Hotel Edmonton, brings his years of expertise to creative palette Melnichuk has proffered. His limited yet carefully crafted menu is also “user friendly,” with gluten-free options available.
Assistant general manager Tyler Clark shared with me some of Secret’s present, as well as a glimpse of its future.
“We are planning on opening five more stores [in North America] in the next five years,” he says.
He chatted with me about how the goal was to blend the worlds of fashion and food lovers in an experience unlike any other in the retail world.
Unable to resist any longer, I sat down and tried a few samplings from the menu.
After ordering a B.B Sour, my sweet tooth won me over, and I asked Joe (my server) to bring me what he thought was the best dessert. He brought over an 8-layer cherry pistachio almond cheesecake.
I cannot wait to sample the rest of Chef Bugoy’s menu this summer. Choices like summer pea and roasted apple soup with cinnamon froth and crisps, to name just one.
Melnichuk and her team certainly make being in on the secret ever so tantalizing.
Secret Location is open from 8am to midnight.
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