CANADIAN DESIGNERS ON THE RED CARPET: ERDEM / ROMONA KEVEZA

From home and abroad, Canadian designers along with the likes of Dior and Balenciaga, on the red carpet for the SAG Awards/2015. BRAVO!!

erdem sag awards jan 2015 1

erdem sag awards jan 2015 2

romona keveza sag awards  2015

romona keveza sag awards  2015 2

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN DESIGNERS ABROAD, CANADIAN DESIGNERS IN THE NEWS, CANADIAN FASHION, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN CONTENT: CHATELAINE FEBRUARY 1959

CHATELAINE FEBRUARY 1959 001

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN FASHION, CANADIAN FASHION MAGAZINES, CANADIAN MANUFACTURER, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN CONTENT: FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

ALFRED  SUNG FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

ALFRED SUNG
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

HILARY RADLEY FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

HILARY RADLEY
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

JACQUELINE CONOR FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

JACQUELINE CONOR
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

LIDA BADAY FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

LIDA BADAY
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

LOUCAS FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

LOUCAS
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

MARISSA MINICUCCI FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

MARISSA MINICUCCI
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

MECHEL DESJARDIN FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

MICHEL DESJARDIN
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

RON LEAL FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

RON LEAL
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

ROSS MAYER FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

ROSS MAYER
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

WAYNE CLARK FASHION SPRING SUMMER 1996

WAYNE CLARK
FASHION
SPRING SUMMER 1996

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN FASHION, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN CONTENT: VOGUE AUG 2014 / TANYA TAYLOR

TONYA TAYLOR VOGUE AUGUST 2014

TONYA TAYLOR
VOGUE
AUGUST 2014

TONYA TAYLOR VOGUE AUGUST 2014

TONYA TAYLOR
VOGUE
AUGUST 2014

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN DESIGNERS ABROAD, CANADIAN FASHION, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN FASHION EVENTS: L’OREAL FASHION WEEK SPRING 2008

L'OREAL FASHION WEEK PRESENTING  SPRING 2008

L’OREAL FASHION WEEK
PRESENTING
SPRING 2008

L'OREAL FASHION WEEK PRESENTING  SPRING 2008

L’OREAL FASHION WEEK
PRESENTING
SPRING 2008

L'OREAL FASHION WEEK PRESENTING  SPRING 2008

L’OREAL FASHION WEEK
PRESENTING
SPRING 2008

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN FASHION, CANADIAN FASHION ORGANISATIONS, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN CONTENT: ELLE DECEMBER 2014

ELLE  DECEMBER 2014

ELLE
DECEMBER 2014

ERDEM ELLE  DECEMBER 2014

ERDEM
ELLE
DECEMBER 2014

HELMER ELLE  DECEMBER 2014

HELMER
ELLE
DECEMBER 2014

LAURA SIEGEL ELLE  DECEMBER 2014

LAURA SIEGEL
ELLE
DECEMBER 2014

MIKHAEL KALE ELLE  DECEMBER 2014

MIKHAEL KALE
ELLE
DECEMBER 2014

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN FASHION, CANADIAN FASHION MAGAZINES, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN DESIGNERS: JOHN WARDEN ca 1965

JOHN WARDEN CHATELAINE APRIL 1965

JOHN WARDEN
CHATELAINE
APRIL 1965

JOHN WARDEN CHATELAINE APRIL 1965

JOHN WARDEN
CHATELAINE
APRIL 1965

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN FASHION, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN DESIGNERS ABROAD: DEAN AND DAN CATEN D2 SQUARED

BoF Exclusive | Video

BoF Exclusive | Inside DSquared2 at Twenty Years

By Imran Amed 14 January, 2015

In our latest ‘Inside Fashion’ interview, BoF’s Imran Amed sits down with Dean and Dan Caten, the Canadian twins behind cult Italian label DSquared2, to chart their trajectory from the suburbs of Toronto to the helm of a business which turns over €210 million and, this year, celebrates its 20th anniversary.

LONDON, United Kingdom — Dean and Dan Caten are used to celebrating anniversaries together. Brothers in business and identical twins, these two have followed perfectly parallel paths, studying together, landing their first job as co-creative directors at fashion house Ports 1961, and sharing the wheel at the helm of their Milan-based brand DSquared2, which this week marks its 20th anniversary.

“Things are just falling into place right now,” Dan Caten told BoF, during an exclusive video intervew in their home in London’s Notting Hill.

They certainly are. Today, the DSquared2 business turns over €210 million per year and has expanded from its origins in menswear into womenswear, accessories, childrenswear, eyewear and fragrances, as well as Ceresio 7, a restaurant in Milan. Next month, DSquared2 will open a store in London’s Conduit Street and the label is poised for rapid retail expansion in 2015, both online and off.

Svelte, with chiselled features, salt and pepper hair and smiles that reveal glistening white teeth, Dean and Dan grew up the youngest of nine siblings in Willowdale, Toronto. After a semester-long stint studying fashion at Parsons in New York, the brothers got their first real break when they joined Ports 1961 (then called Ports International) as co-creative directors. “It’s always, always better to work for someone else and to learn,” said Dan. “My boss used to always say, make your mistakes on my money. Because then when you’re ready, you’ve already made the mistakes you need to.”

The fledgling DSquared2 launched in 1995 before a series of early high profile collaborations with music stars including Madonna and Christina Aguilera propelled the label into the global mainstream. “We really, really appreciate the energy and support that we’ve got from the celebrities that we’ve worked with,” said Dan.

Womenswear — the first of many expansions into new product categories — came in 2003, following a DSquared2 collaboration with Madonna. Three years earlier, in 2000, the brothers had worked with the star on the music video for “Don’t Tell Me,” and were commissioned to design 150 outfits for Madonna’s Drowned World tour. “We didn’t do women’s yet, so we added a few things that were men’s things adapted for a woman,” said Dan. “Two seasons after we started women’s.”

The label’s first womenswear collection was launched to the tune of stardom, with models including Naomi Campbell and Karolina Kurkova walking in a theatrical catwalk spectacle for what was still, at that point, an emerging fashion brand.

“We had casting over €750,000, which, naturally, we didn’t have [the money for] at the time,” recalled Dean Caten, who, along with Dan, lent on the enthusiastic personal support of the models themselves. “They came out of a plane and we had fans rush in underneath the plane with cameras, screaming, so when Naomi comes out they’re all screaming her name, taking pictures. She’s like, ‘You need to have fans at every show. They give you such a big energy instead of a boring front row that doesn’t event clap.’”

But much of the “big energy” that drives the brand comes directly from the brothers themselves, who see the creative direction of the label — from its youthful focus on denim and bold slogans to its current embrace of more mature categories including elegant men’s tailoring and opulent gowns — as an extension of their own changing identities. “The evolution comes with time,” explained Dan. “When we started the company when we were young; we were in a different kind of headspace and the things we were doing… I mean, the company really reflects us and our lives. Always keeping ourselves in mind and tailoring to our own needs, the brand has just matured as we matured in age.”

As the label has grown, some things haven’t changed. DSquared2 remains privately owned and the Caten brothers maintain a style of management that reflects their own bond. “It’s not an employee-employer relationship,” said Dan. “We always say that we’re the Dsquared2 family.”

One way in which the label has evolved is via licencing deals. While shoes, bags and accessories are produced in-house, a large proportion of the business is now done through partnerships. “We saw the pros and cons of not everything being under the same umbrella,” said Dean. “It’s like a pizzeria or a restaurant. You pick one thing, you do it great; that’s the pizzeria. In a restaurant, you have to do a lot of things great… The perfume people, they have to be outside, because they know the perfume.”

Physical retail is a key component of DSquared2’s evolution and a critical tool in the company’s brand communications arsenal. “The whole push with retail comes from the image of the brand and the way people perceive who we are,” explained Dan. “As the brand has matured and has changed over the years, it’s our responsibility, also, to put the message out the way we want it to be understood, because some people have a misinterpretation of who we are and what the brand is. So by doing our own retail stores, we can communicate exactly the message that we want to communicate; we have the look of our stores, we have the trained people that understand the brand and the product.”

Last year, the company opened its first US store in Los Angeles, having decided to focus its retail efforts on the American market after learning that most of its online shoppers we’re based there. In 2015, DSquared2 plans to bolster its eight-store presence in China.

“I think, the Chinese market — there’s just a huge potential. We are opening stores, we’re just not opening them at the rate that we wanted. So we’re taking tender steps into the Chinese market,” said Dan, of what the brothers both agree has proved a challenging market for them. “We have to be really precise about where we go and who we go with.”

“We came from a little suburb and everything was against us. ‘How are you going to go from there to there?’ Our father was the first person to say that,” recalled Dan, looking back at the trajectory of the business he and his brother have built. “And you know what, we’re just going to go there. And we’re going to shoot for there.”

Twenty years later, are they “there” yet?

“You know what, just now, twenty years later, we’re ready [to start],” he said. “We’ve built our foundation, we’ve built our company, we’re financially set in certain ways, we have everything kinda lined up. Now we have the machine, we need to start pumping her and making her run.”

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN DESIGNERS ABROAD, CANADIAN FASHION, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN RETAIL: LA MAISON SIMONS

SIMONS 26 11 2014 3

Given the company’s aggressive expansion plans, which are not without risk in today’s competitive marketplace, the fifth-generation retailer now considers himself more of an entrepreneur than an heir. “I think there is a place in the market for a real company that’s in Canada and has Canadian values,” he says. Among those ideals, he adds pointedly, are reinvesting profits made in Canada into Canada.

SIMONS 26 11 2014 1

Quebec fashion retailer Simons has ambitious designs on the rest of Canada


Nathalie Atkinson
Quebec City — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 28 2014, 12:00 PM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 25 2014, 4:59 PM EST

When La Maison Simons, the venerable Quebec-based department-store chain, opened its outpost in West Edmonton Mall two years ago, it was the company’s first store outside its home province. That foray, though, was just the beginning for the 175-year-old retailer, merely the eve of the next phase of Simons’s ambitious national expansion. Two years from now, five more stores – four outside Quebec and the fifth across from Ottawa in Gatineau – will be completed, if all goes according to plan. The combined extra retail space will encompass some 485,000 square feet.

The first of these new stores is to open at Les Promenades Gatineau in August, followed by West Vancouver’s Park Royal Shopping Centre in October, then Square One in Mississauga in March 2016, Ottawa’s Rideau Centre in August 2016 and The Core in Calgary in March 2017.

The schedule is as ambitious as the design schemes for the stores themselves, if Edmonton is any indication. There, avant-garde fitting rooms feature social-media-connected screens, while an undulating lighting installation by architect Philip Beasley, titled Aurora, evokes the Northern Lights.

For all of this activity, however, La Maison Simons, which is a retail institution in Quebec, remains relatively unknown in many quarters of the country. To understand what it has to offer in an increasingly crowded retail market, which is seeing glamorous American department stores such as Nordstrom and Saks venture north, it helps to see where and how Simons began so many years ago, in Quebec City’s Upper Town. During a recent visit to the provincial capital for a prearranged tour of the chain’s historic ground zero, the chill off the St. Lawrence River is cutting and I experience firsthand why Simons, born inside the walls of Old Quebec, was for decades one of the largest knitwear importers in the country. Geography, as they say, matters.

Peter Simons, 50, is the CEO of the privately owned family company; his younger brother, Richard, is the vice-president of buying (neither of their sisters is involved in the business). “Our plan,” Peter Simons says when I meet him, “is to stay a private company as long as we can. How long is long? I don’t know.” Another goal, Simons adds, is to continue expanding until the company has 20 stores across Canada (including at least one in downtown Toronto), although he admits that “it was a very different business when my brother and I started – we were doing $12-million a year.” (In 2012, that figure was more like $300-million, according to reports.)

SIMONS 26 11 2014 2

The first stop on my tour with Simons is Place Ste-Foy in the affluent Quebec City suburb. It was here that his father, Donald, now 85 and retired from the company, situated a second store in 1961. A 2009 renovation and expansion has doubled the size to an airy 100,000 square feet; today, it doesn’t so much anchor the shopping centre as beckon customers from their cars as they drive by – the dramatic facade combines reflective blue glass, titanium, black granite tiles and rough stone.

Inside, it’s ultra-sleek, all glossy white and chrome, with mirrored details and glass walls. We breeze by designer brands such as See by Chloé, Marc by Marc Jacobs, InWear, Vivienne Westwood and Carven. A dizzying array of patterns define the private-label hosiery.

The store has just opened and dozens of cheerful associates are tidying their departments. As we pass, they wave or glance up to smile hello, apparently used to seeing the boss. He, in turn, knows most of them by name.

Technically, Simons isn’t a department store – it doesn’t sell stand mixers or living-room suites – but a retailer of fashion and home decor. Within these categories, the breadth of the selections is staggering. In men’s wear alone, there’s both a snowboard and outerwear section and a White Shirt Bar, plus sections showcasing international designer brands such as Z Zegna, Filson and Paul Smith. Simons’s own brands of suiting come in regular, fitted and semi-fitted silhouettes, to suit a range of body types, tastes and budgets.

The idea is for multiple generations to shop under one roof, the different house brands offering something for everyone. Of those labels, Twik is the trendiest, aimed at the fad-mad under-25 set who might otherwise shop at H&M, while Contemporaine is for chic 30- and 40-something careerists. Another exclusive house brand is Le 31, taken from the expression for dressing up. They all date back to the 1960s, when Donald Simons saw that the youthquake and, later, Expo 67 were influencing shopping; the store added European designers like Courrèges and Lanvin to the mix and modernized for the times by creating its own contemporary collections.

SIMONS 26 11 2014 3

“We aren’t going to localize our assortments – with a store our size, it’s like a menu,” Simons says in reference to the planned new stores. “We have a really complex assortment and it relates to the way people buy and what they want because they are very diversified and sophisticated today – they know how to put together the $20 T-shirt with a $1,000 jacket. They are shopping that way, with very variable needs. Our assortment allows us to service multiple markets like that.”

As we walk through one suiting department, Simons runs into a long-time employee. They joke about having worked together almost 40 years ago, when Simons was a teenager and started working part-time on the sales floor, in men’s socks and underwear, under a certain Madame Girard (who Simons still sees every year at the company Christmas party).

On our way back to the original store in Upper Town, we make a pit stop at the restored Fontaine de Tourny, a 19th-century French fountain that Simons donated to the city for its 400th birthday. At the store itself, which now encompasses three annexed adjacent businesses, including the former Empire cinema and an original Birks shop, there are tasteful geometric touches that evoke the one-time theatre’s Art Deco facade and incorporate its marquee; inside, the look is modern, with back-lit walls and a catwalk. The executive and buying offices are on the third floor and a fourth houses design studios for the house brands. There are photo studios, too; an upcoming e-commerce expansion will put their entire inventory online (about 50 per cent of it is available now).

“Our DNA was really in importing,” Simons says as we walk past tidy stacks of colourful knits to his office. “My great-great-grandfather sailed across the Atlantic for buying – two weeks there and then back. He crossed the ocean 72 times.” These days, Simons does a similar amount of travelling – it just comes with frequent-flier points. The following day, in fact, he’ll be off on a combination scouting, buying and leasing trip.

SIMONS 26 11 2014 4

Given the company’s aggressive expansion plans, which are not without risk in today’s competitive marketplace, the fifth-generation retailer now considers himself more of an entrepreneur than an heir. “I think there is a place in the market for a real company that’s in Canada and has Canadian values,” he says. Among those ideals, he adds pointedly, are reinvesting profits made in Canada into Canada.

To that end, Simons is adamant about participating in the economy not just as an employer but as a kind of artistic patron, commissioning elaborate designs for his stores. To work alongside established architects Lemay Michaud and McKinley Burkart, for example, he has chosen the emerging Toronto interiors firm designstead. For the Park Royal store in West Vancouver, Douglas Coupland has been tapped to create a showpiece installation.

Similarly, Simons grows animated when talking about the fashion business and the ways, big and small, that the company might stand out from the retail crowd and positively affect the future.

For instance, he sees potential in the talks the firm is having with Bionic Yarn, a startup fronted by Pharrell Williams that recycles accumulated plastic from the ocean into eco-thread for high-performance textiles (it has already been used in collaborations with Timberland, Moncler and G-Star RAW).

“I’m gonna be honest with you,” Simons says later, over lunch in the city’s Old Port. “Forget the next two years of new stores. We’re 175 years old – we don’t think in two-year increments. We’re thinking in 50-year increments.”

When we were at the fountain, there had been too much caked ice and snow on its plaque to properly read the inscription, a poem that Simons had commissioned from celebrated Quebec author Marie Laberge, so I look it up when I get home. Its theme, which could be Simons’s, is the meeting of the past and the future.

One passage reads: “Loyal and proud, strengthened by our past, forever courageous and determined never to die.”

Follow Nathalie Atkinson on Twitter: @NathAt

Posted in CANADIAN RETAILERS, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN MANUFACTURER: REIGNING CHAMP

WHILE WANDERING THE EATON CENTER IN TORONTO, (IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME IN THE CITY…)

20 11 2014 238

INSIDE CLUB MONACO, THE RALPH LAUREN OWNED AMERICAN CHAIN, STARTED BY CANADIAN JOE MIMRAN NOW OF JOE FRESH, A DISPLAY OF A CANADIAN MADE PRODUCT,

20 11 2014 237

I HAD NEVER HEARD OF “REIGNING CHAMP”, SO A LITTLE EXPLORATION ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB, AND PRESTO, A CANADIAN COMPANY, BASED IN VANCOUVER SINCE 2007

REIGNING CHAMP 1

(ON A PERSONAL NOTE, I GREW UP RIGHT BEHIND THE PARK ON THE TOP OF THE HILL, IT’S QUEEN ELIZABETH PARK, OR LITTLE MOUNTAIN AS WE KNEW IT…SO I DEVELOPED A CERTAIN AFFINTIY WITH THIS COMPANY IMMEDIATELY.)

REIGNING CHAMP 2
“RESPECT THE DETAILS. MASTER THE SIMPLICITY.” NICE MANDATE!

REIGNING CHAMP 3

(IT ALSO TURNS OUT THE FACTORY IS JUST A COUPLE OF BLOCKS FROM MY DEAREST FRIENDS HOME.)

REIGNING CHAMP 4
REIGNING CHAMP, HAND BUILT IN VANCOUVER B.C. AND AVAILABE INTERNATIONALLY.

VISIT THEIR WEBSITE FOR MUCH MORE.

http://www.reigningchamp.com/

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN FASHION, CANADIAN MANUFACTURER, CANADIAN RETAILERS, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off