A Vivoscene Featured Article by Brian Miller
The Vancouver glitterati were in full attendance at the spectacular re-opening of the newly renovated Ermenegildo Zegna store in Vancouver, BC tonight, September 24th. Zegna, is of course, known worldwide for the elegance of their men’s wear. Any man who has ever worn a Zegna suit will tell you there is nothing like it. Zegna is both a premium and an affordable brand, in the sense that a Zegna creation never goes out of style. The famous dictum “clothes make the man” should be amended to “clothes transform the man”, for the experience of owning and wearing Zegna is incomparable. As was the splendid evening organized by the Harry Rosen firm under the direction of the CEO, Larry Rosen, and the Western manager, Michael Peters.
Italian culture is celebrated chiefly for excellence in three areas: fashion, food and music. The triumph behind this very special evening was to combine all three elements by providing the invitation-only crowd with Zegna fashion, Italian food and wine from the noted Tuscan restaurant CinCin, and a moving performance of three arias (by Puccini and Donizetti) by the young and very talented Vancouver opera star Rachel Fenlon.
Larry Rosen has long been known for his success in the business world as the leading retailer of upscale men’s wear in Canada; what is lesser-known but equally interesting is his passion for music. Prior to Fenlon’s performance, Larry Rosen spoke eloquently of his family’s forty-year association with the Zegna family. It’s obvious he cares deeply about both the quality of goods carried in his stores, and about enjoying life and music. It’s refreshing to see a business icon such as Rosen transform a business into a passion, and a store opening into a cultural event.
Oh, that gorgeous white piano: it’s a $180,000 Fazioli, proving once again that Italian design is the pinnacle of achievement. Not only was the sound of that piano something to behold, the store’s acoustics were superb and bode well for future events. We would love to see such musical flair incorporated more often into stylish retail occasions. It’s live music, after all, that truly moves an audience, and those in our younger demographics are far more predisposed to sophistication and experimentation than we normally credit.
The young soprano Rachel Fenlon, a recent graduate of The University of British Columbia and a current member of the Vancouver Opera, delivered a performance that was beyond expectations, proving that she has the chops to take on her upcoming important role as Mabel in the December 2012 production of The Pirates of Penzance. Her voice is warm and lovely, and she possesses a natural acting ability that by turns rendered her demure, flirtatious and reflective. To say she charmed the audience would be an understatement. She has the makings of a major star. What distinguishes her is her ability to project without strain, and she did so with a great sense of controlled dynamics that perfectly suited her material. Donizetti and Puccini are, after all, the most romantic of composers.
Fenlon has been featured as a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Czech Philharmonic, the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Vancouver Bach Choir, and City Opera Vancouver. Some of her solo Oratorio credits include Handel’s Messiah, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, and Beethoven’s Mass in C, as well as a concert performance of Lisa in Lehar’s Das Land des Lächelns with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
What is intriguing to us is the delicious combination of arts, culture, business and opera that organizer Courtney Beckett flawlessly assembled. The intimate atmosphere of the store was a perfect setting for a brief but powerful musical event that complemented the Zegna brand perfectly.
Kudos to Zegna for kicking off the fall season in Vancouver in truly grand style!