Kicked The Dirt Up VIP Style At The Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede, 10 days of Cowboy’s, rodeo’s, chuck wagon’s, party tent’s, rides, pancake breakfasts, and let’s not forget the mini donuts…..  I have not been in Calgary during the stampede in about 10 years, so when I got invited by the fabulous fashion designer Jean Michel, to attend a day of behind the scenes day of VIP treatment – I clearly hopped on that band wagon.

We had no idea what was entailed in a VIP stampede day, all we knew was that we were getting picked at 4 pm in a private stampede limo. In reality though, when something says VIP, you know you must be in for a good time. Our chariot arrived and we were off to our stampede adventure. The day started with a beer in the Stampede head quarter office.

Of course I was sporting a Jean Michel scarf, who doesn’t wear one on the farm?!

Obviously when you are at the stampede, you sip on Calgary Stampede Budweiser.

After we had got our party started in the office, we were then met by Roc, whom was our guide for the day. He is awesome(seriously, from the moment we were introduced to himself and his wife, they were just darn awesome)!


Not only has he been working the the stampede for 39 years, he is on the board of directors, and he is a fountain of stampede knowledge. He took us straight to the ‘actual’ Stampede Headquarters. Here we thought we were at the headquarters, but we were very pleasantly surprised to see the real deal.

We were served some bubbly in the private stampede headquarter lounge, where we sat and listened to Roc fill us with endless Stampede history. I love history, and delving deeper into things to gain a better understanding of where it all began. Being in there is a very special treat. Unless you are on the board of directors, or are someone very special, you ain’t gonna be hanging out in there.

From there we were whisked off to enjoy dinner with all the chuck wagon racers.

For one of these private tents, they pay about $10 000 a day, times that by 10 days, and you have got yourself one fine looking penny. Just to get in there you have to have a special card around your neck, a wristband, and not to mention a special invite. It’s one of those places that you only get into if you know the right people.

 

The dinner was delicious, and perfect for the circumstances. Definitely reminded me of good ‘ol home cooking.


Made me feel like I was back on the farm. It was so cool being among it all. I grew up out on the land, and had ample opportunities to be on farms, so this whole experience was a nice reconnect with my childhood.

After we were fueled up, we had a chance to meet and hang out a bit with world renowned chuck wagon racer, Rick Fraser, whom just the day before was in an accident on the track and luckily dusted himself off and walked away from it. No biggie for Rick though, he was just as awesome as ever, and was right ready to hop back on the chuck wagon and hit the races.

Before the races I had to grab a snap with the Cowboy Mountie. It just had to be done.

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Rain or shine, the show always goes on.

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Photo credit to Jean Michel

I never realized how cool chuck wagon races really are, but I now have a new found appreciation for it.

Just when we didn’t think our VIP day could get much better, we were taken behind the scenes of the Grand Spectacular show.

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Where we were treated to a walk through all of the dressing areas, and a look at all the action behind the scenes, before we went up to the box for our VIP seat for the show.

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Where we were served wine and cheese, and had an incredible view of the whole show. Clearly that was ticking all the boxes for me.  Although once I seen the actual show – I was blown away!

It was much much more then I expected!

Spectacular is absolutely the way to explain it.

We were spoiled as heck all day long, we also each grabbed a snap with the lead singer of the show afterwards.CanCalgarySampede2016267VIPGrandStandShowOdegard_modifié-1

You can check out a bit of video action from the day.


The whole day was amazing, and seeing the Stampede from that angle, was absolutely incredible. I am so appreciative to Roc for giving us such a special experience, and to Jean Michel and his fab crew for the invite on the VIP day, as well as some of the fabulous photos for this article.

There is something about seeing how things really go to pull it together that makes you have a much greater sense of awe and appreciation for it. Don’t you agree?

Nature Inspired Fashion By Jean-Michel

Fashion, art, travel, nature, and scarves, are some of the most cherished things in my life. So clearly I was overjoyed when I had the pleasure of meeting Jean-Michel Gires, whom shares those cherished passions, and has combined them all to create some stunning wearable art in the form of scarves, leggings and fans.

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With an absolutely incredible life story of his own, not only was I enamored by that, I felt instantly connected with his creations.

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I love the classy packaging!

Originally from France, Jean-Michel graced Calgary with his presence for an executive position in the Oil & Gas industry. After a few years, he decided he felt too tied down, and was craving his freedom once again.

Us travelers love our freedom, what can I say?!

With his extensive travel history, having visited 102 countries to date, and 15 years practicing digital photography under his belt, Jean-Michel has extraordinary photos of natural settings around the globe that he has impressively exhibited over 20 times in various countries such as France, Venezuela, Bolivia and China.

Jean-Michel decided it was time to find a way to share all the beauty he has captured in a capacity that not only just shares it, but brings its beauty to a whole other level. This is where his silk scarves, leggings, and fans came into play.

Initially when he began brainstorming, trying to find avenues where he can pull his passions together and expose his work, he thought perhaps to transfer his photos onto curtains, cushions, and table clothes – however, it was not quite creating that spark inside of him at that moment that he was looking for.

Jean-Michel decided that he wanted to showcase his photography using women as his canvas. What more beautiful canvas could you imagine really? After a year of trial and error, the vision he was looking for finally came into full fruition, and so began ByJeanMichel.

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His idea was to enhance women’s natural beauty with a wearable form of art, with vibrant colors, printed on only the best quality materials, and accessible to all. Jean-Michel was not only looking to enhance women’s beauty, but he wanted to see the women wearing his fashion, feeling absolutely stunning inside and out.

His long time fascination with impressionist art is where he gets his inspiration for his photos. He has taken his photos from Canada’s Lake Louise, Javanese Volcanoes, Paris Boulogne France, and the White Dessert in Egypt(just to name a few), and has turned them into dazzling motifs for his apparel.

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Not only do I love scarves myself, I love that each and every scarf and motif has a story behind it. They are beautiful to look at, feel beautiful to touch, and look beautiful on. I love that when I am wearing them my fashion piece is telling a story. Leave it to the French to continually create the most amazing fashion. For me and my favorite French designers, there is Chanel, and now ByJeanMichel.

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Here I am pictured wearing the Segovia scarf made of silk crinkle. The picture for the striking motif was taken from a creek in the historical town of Segovia, Spain. It’s the eloquent patterns of the trees and leaves that create the motif. I chose this one to begin with for the fact that Spain is my other home, I have spent the better of the last 5 years living in Mallorca, Spain, so it spoke straight to my heart. Not to mention, I absolutely love the colors! Talk about feeling beautiful and chic.

With these times in Calgary being grim in the Oil & Gas industry, Jean-Michel wants to inspire people, and show them that there is life after Oil & Gas.

From corporate world executive to fashion designer, Jean-Michel breaks the barriers, and goes to show that with some ingenuity and passion, anything is possible.

Having only launched in November 2015 here in Calgary, and with many retail opportunities opening up, this is just the beginning for Jean Michel’s brand. I know I will be showing off his pieces every chance I get. Don’t you just love feeling beautiful?