Kitsilano’s Rebecca Bree is a Destination Shop Stop
Venture beyond Fourth Ave’s typical shopping scene and you’ll find this sartorial gem
March 18, 2016
When three of Holt Renfrew’s best decided to venture out on their own, something special was bound to happen. That was the case back in 2012 when Rebecca Rawlinson, Christina Nadolski, and Cynthia Mavritsakis opened Rebecca Bree (as the owner, buyer, and manager respectively). They initially bounced around the idea of an online store, but decided they would miss the feel of human interaction and settled on a brick and mortar location on West 4th and Alma.
The Point Grey-adjacent location makes sense, given both the upscale clientele (items range from around $200 to $2,500) that they serve and the rent they’re paying. “I couldn’t afford to be on South Granville or West Fourth at the time,” says Rawlinson, “and most of my clients from Holt’s lived out this way anyway.”
The store screams feminine luxury with its neutral palette, French-style furniture, and a 3-D floral wall with “Rebecca Bree” emblazoned in white characters behind a marble countertop. The goods, meanwhile, strike a balance between the more relaxed Vancouver aesthetic and eastern Canadian cultural influences—no wonder, given that Rawlinson spent 7 years living in Toronto and Montreal.
“We describe ourselves here as providing laid-back luxury,” she says. “Sky-high stilettos and heavy jewelry are a lot more Montreal than Vancouver, but here on the west coast we like to take a style and adapt it to fit our lifestyle. That’s why girls responded so well to the sneaker trend here–we are always looking for a trend that fits Vancouver’s needs.” Understanding the Pacific Northwest wasn’t something that came to the three straightaway, mind you. “When we opened, we were more novelty driven,” says Rawlinson, “but over time we’ve come to be more minimal, mainly just [shapes with] clean lines.”
Their boutique has rode out changing trends over the last few years. Where you might have seen heavily ornate jewelry in 2010, you will now see dainty, layer-able pieces by L.A. artist Ariel Gordon. More recently, the brand has released several design collaborations like Rawlinson’s sleepwear line with The Sleep Shirt.
And while it can be hard for an independent store to compete with Vancouver’s bigger retail brands (think Aritzia, Kit and Ace, and, of course, Lululemon), Rawlinson says they hold their own by carrying lines that you won’t get anywhere else, and introducing Vancouverites to brands they’ve never seen, like the brand new LumillaMingus handbag range, which Rebecca Bree will be the only store in Canada to carry. “We think we have an eye for east-coast style that is transferrable to the west coast,” says Rawlinson. “We’ve done really well since day one—it’s been a dream come true for us.”
The Rebecca Bree x LumillaMingus trunk show will take place on April 13 at Rebecca Bree from 6 to 9 p.m.
Rebecca’s Spring Picks
3680 W 4th Ave.