Bellissima Fashions has been around since the ’80s, but it’s no longer the store from where you might have bought your grad dress. Bellissima Fashions has shifted from formal wear to include casual, trendy wear that takes customers from the office to social events. The changes began during the pandemic when sweatpants became part of the work-from-home uniform, and Bellissima adapted to stay relevant.
“We didn’t want to be like other brands who proclaimed their clothes give women confidence, or empowered women,” says Kacy Chow, director of marketing, sales and business development for Bellissima. “Those statements in themselves implied that women lacked confidence and they were powerless. The Bellissima brand is about embracing the woman as they are, and our clothes are a vehicle to express our personalities and strength. The confidence and power comes from within the individual, and the clothes help project their inner beauty. Our style is who we are – not what someone says we should be.”
Viviana Shaneman founded Bellissima Fashions in 1981 because she wanted to share her passion for fashion with Canadians and make great style more accessible. Each product the store carries is sourced for its uniqueness and top-quality materials which set them apart from fast fashion brands. Supporting local and keeping up with trends is also important to Bellissima, which is why the store carries a mix of Canadian and international brands including Frank Lyman, Joseph Ribkoff and Joules.
Style is what you make it at Bellissima, and the range of fun, whimsical designs encourages customers to be creative and expressive. Bellissima’s best-selling items at the moment are bright moto jackets in hot pinks, neon yellows and bold blues, as well as embellished jeans and fun graphic tees.
“There’s always a little bit of fun, a little bit of flash, and something special,” says Cheryl Barr, director of styling, buyer and visual experience. “We really love looking for products that have special details, something that you wouldn’t find everywhere else.”
Bellissima Fashions opened its first store in Calgary and now has 12 locations across Western Canada, including four in the Edmonton region, including St. Albert and Sherwood Park.