Nfld. & Labrador

Poppy dresses fight Christmas creep, honour Remembrance Day

Two Newfoundland stores have designed unique displays to remember veterans and delay the start of 'Christmas creep.'

St. John's and Mount Pearl stores using thousands of poppies to mark November 11

Cyndi Corbett-Dawe explaining some of the work that went into Ever After Bridal Boutique's 2,000-poppy dress. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Two stores in St. John's and Mount Pearl are getting 'dressed up' for Remembrance Day.

They say they want to respect the November 11 ceremonies and the people they honour.

Jewelry store Whink on Water Street has banned Christmas merchandise until after Remembrance Day for the past three years.

You know what? This is politically incorrect.- Kim Paddon

"Typically with retail, Christmas, it always gets pushed earlier and earlier every year," said Whink's owner, Kim Paddon.

She believes it's disrespectful to start celebrating the "festive season" before Remembrance Day is done.

"One day I said: 'You know what? This is politically incorrect. Let's do something. Let's give back to the community and that's where it kind of led to the poppy dress idea," said Paddon.
This year Whink used poppies, maple leaves and packing paper to create one of its Remembrance Day dresses. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Every year the store makes a donation to the Royal Canadian Legion and buys hundreds of poppies.

This year Whink combined the poppies with maple leaves and packing paper to make two elegant dresses.

Always extravagant

"We always try to make it extravagant and every time we do a new creation it just seems like it gets bigger and bigger.," said Paddon.
Kim Paddon owns Whink (art, jewelry, things) on Water Street, St. John's. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

She said the reaction from clients has been completely positive.

Paddon said she doesn't have a problem with Christmas but she believes there'll be plenty of time to celebrate it later.

Bridal boutique remembers too

Ever After Bridal Boutique in Mount Pearl is also marking Remembrance Day with a full-length gown made of more than 2,000 poppies.

"The inspiration for the dress came from a picture I saw of a storefront in Europe and we wanted to recreate it here in honour of our veterans ... to show them that we don't forget and to let them know that we know that we are free because of them," said the owner of the Topsail Road store, Cyndi Corbett-Dawe.
Poppy dress designer Cyndi Corbett-Dawe says she already has ideas for next year's dress. (Mark Quinn/ CBC)

The reaction to the dress has been good. One client even asked to try it on. Corbett-Dawe said the dress they made this year wasn't  designed to be worn but she's promising that will change in 2017.

"Half way through making this one, I came up with another one so absolutely there will be another one but I think next year we will do it on an actual model," said Corbett-Dawe.


Mark Quinn

CBC News

Mark Quinn is a videojournalist with CBC's bureau in St. John's.