fashion magazine
Girl's Guide to Pretty
Photography by WAYNE MAH -
Walking into Violet Boutique feels as though you've stumbled into a bright Parisian apartment filled with beautiful and feminine clothes. You just want to sit down, take in the lovely floral scent and spend a few hours trying on dresses while listening to Billie Holiday singing softly in the background. When Genevieve Allen opened Violet in October 2009, she wanted to create a comforting space to encourage woman to come in and have a "girly experience."

Finding the perfect space to build her dream was not a simple task but she lucked out with a beautiful space on South Granville that suited her Parisian taste. Allen smiles sweetly as I compliment her on the store. We are seated on the couch while the evening sun shines through the rear French doors and across the hardwood floors. Her little dog Beatrice, a King Charles Spaniel, wanders over to say hello. Allen looks like she's out of a 1940's romantic film. Her hair is loosely pulled back and she has rosy cheeks and pretty pink lipstick. "I hope we have a niche here" she says looking around "I feel very strongly about helping women feel good and taking pride in themselves. Even if you are just going to the grocery store it's nice to put on a little lipstick."

Although she first attended Emily Carr, Allen always knew she wanted to open a boutique. Working at Misch as a store manager, she learned skills that would build the foundation to open her own store. Four floral scent Violet candles sit along a pretty vintage dresser - a find off Craigslist. Displayed amongst the candles are unique earrings and necklaces from designers both local and international. One favourite is Vancouver designer Shereen De Rousseau who designs long necklaces with antique charms and beads collected during the designer's travels. If you begin to feel that there is a little bit of Paris in Violet it's because Allen has had a long lasting love affair with the city. Admiring the boutiques and lifestyle of French women provided an inspiration for the philosophy of the clothing at Violet. "It's a very unique sense of personal style. Nothing feels contrived."

Violet stocks a variety of separates, denim and dresses along with the beautiful accessories that will help put together any girly look. "I'm attracted to different textures and anything with strong quality. I love silk, colour, print and anything whimsy with a bit of sense of humour." While the items are at a higher price point, Allen feels it's important to make the experience of her store accessible to all woman. To do this she adds the extra touches that make Violet more personal such as fresh flowers in store and sharing her beautiful finds and inspirations on her blog. The boutique also offers personal shopping services to build a client connection. It works well and seems to attract a wide variety of women, especially mothers and daughters out shopping together.

Having been opened over two years now, Allen is happy with the direction the store is headed. She has established designers - including locals Dace and Ashley Watson - and tries to bring in a few new lines every season. "I think we are on a good track." Violet Boutique at 3012 Granville Street or check out their website at

Hot items

1. Shereen De Rousseau jewelry
2. Dace clothing - comfortable, easy to wear clean lines with laid back style.
3. Rachel Comley shoes - pretty and feminine.
4. Dace and Ashley Watson 10th Anniversary leather purse.