Who Says Montreal Girls are not Stylish?

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

MONTREAL- I woke up this morning in a pissy mood. It didn’t last long, but I kept thinking of a comment I read somewhere (I’m ashamed, but it was on The DailyMail). It was criticizing one of our fashionista Godmamma‘s, Jessica Mulroney‘s, fashion style and her status as a stylist.

First of all, for us, the golden children of this beautiful city, Jessica was a well-known stylist in Montreal – the city of a thousand bells. I’m not speaking as a fan but as a journalist. I am writing a fact. The beauty in the fashion scene of Montreal is that we have this New Yorker edge, with a touch of European class. We celebrate diversity and audacity. Sometimes I wish I was as daring as Jessica, but I’m forever a minimalist CBK girl (Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy). I writing a quick shoutout to Maestro Matt Berman!

Ok, back to the story…..

For me and probably others, when we attack in a mean-spirited way, one of us (and us for me is a woman, a human being, a hard worker and in this case, a fellow Montrealer), we get protective, our mamma bear coat and the Rocky Balboa (I know, he is my ultimate hero) gloves go on and we fight back.

I won’t do a Kanye of myself because I’m a very proud woman. I don’t believe in fighting fire with fire and being a total ass. But, I do get it. We don’t share the same taste in fashion. That’s the beauty of it though. A good stylist is someone who understands this. They see the different tastes of someone and can be creative without changing their style. We do have fun with fashion.

Why so serious?

Using writing to bully someone and posting mean posts; that I am against it.

I do respect constructive comments. You may not be a fan of a particular fashion house, stylists, fashion magazine or designer, but let’s not go into the judgmental territory.

Fashion is a big playground, for everybody.

Stylists, fashion houses and designers like Jessica, Zoë Bedos-Trudeau, Catherine Malandrino, Di Carlo Couture, Marie Saint-Pierre, Eve Gravel, Denis Gagnon, DUY, Mackage, Philippe Dubuc, Valerie Dumaine and many more are making their marks and they all bring something special in this big playground that will call fashion.

Montreal fashion, for me, is like Micheal Jackson‘s first solo album, Of The Wall (my favorite!). It is the template for the storm that will come.

And Canadian designers, Canadian stylists and (Hell ya!) us Canadian lovers, are starting to show the world, you may or may not like it, but let’s conquer the world by storm.

https://www.mackage.com/ca/en

http://www.valeriedumaine.com/en/

https://evegravel.com

https://www.dicarlocouture.com

http://catherinemalandrinousa.com

https://www.mariesaintpierre.com/ca_en/

http://duycollection.com/Duy/duy.html

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A nice chat with Fabrice Tardieu

I’ve always been very proud of my Haitian heritage. I’m even prouder of when I discover some of the most inspiring Haitians having success in their endeavors and are proud to showcase our beautiful culture.

Speaking of inspiring Haitian entrepreneur, I have the chance to have a fun and really cool chat with one of the most famous designers in America Fabrice Tardieu. He is passionate, insightful and clearly very smart.

Let’s discover this classy and fabulous human being.

Sab: You were born in Haiti, The Pearl of the Antilles and you went to Paris to continue your college education. Could you tell us about your experience of leaving Haiti to go to France to discover the city of light?

FT: Moving to Paris on my own at such a young age was very challenging and scary.

But at the end, it is certainly the best thing that could have happened to me professionally. It opened my eyes on so many different levels. But the most important was the different cultures it exposed me to. I believe one of the reasons my brand is successful today is because I am able to understand what each market is looking for and feels comfortable buying. Therefore, I design collections that are understood by the North American, European and Middle Eastern markets due to my understanding of their cultures. 

Sab: After college, you were an intern for Giorgio Armani and you did work for the fashion house after your internship. What is the biggest lesson from this once in a lifetime experience?

FT: My biggest lesson from Giorgio Armani has been:

  1. To always Design a collection that has a very strong identity that is recognizable from a mile away.
  2. Distribute to a minimal number of places while maximizing sales
  3. Always be on top of everyone from the assistant designers to the warehouse guys.

These were the main guidelines from My first brand shirt Bogosse back in 2004 and today 14 years later I am still applying the same rules.

Sab: Did it come naturally to mix your artistically side with your analytic side together?

FT: My business side is actually what put me in touch with my artistic side. God gifted me with the talent of understanding what people would like to wear. I, therefore, became a designer without ever learning how to even draw. It has always been something I visualized. My talent has been to be able to communicate these visions into others and bringing them into life.


Sab: I find it inspiring that we see more and more Haitian designer like Stella Jean and yourself making some waves in the fashion world.

In our culture, our parents want us to be the greatest doctors, lawyers, engineers you name it out there. Even if we may have some artistic aspirations, they will strongly recommend you to put that aside.

Do you feel that slowly but surely, this mentality is changing since more and more artistic Haitians artists are having success in their field?

 

FT: I think that we do see more and more young kids of Haitian descent take an artistic direction. I believe it is a bit more accepted now due to social media. What I mean by that, more and more people have access to information and can clearly visualize success stories. Whereas in the past if you didn’t read an article or was told about a brand or an artist etc… you would have never known about them.

Sab: A quick Haitian food questions for you:

a) Griot ou Lambi?
b) Riz djon-djon ou du riz à pois?
c) Accras ou pâté?

FT: Accras for appetizers, griot with duri ak pwa to finish with lambi and duri djondjon.

Sab: I could eat Lambi with duri djondjon all day, every day.

FT: That’s right I EAT LIKE AN ANIMAL!

Sab: I love asking this question. What would you tell to the young 19 years old aspiring fashion designer if you could go back in time?

 

FT: Never take the word NO personally. Keep trying until no becomes maybe and maybe becomes YES!

 In fashion, you get turned down constantly by buyers, manufacturers, banks, etc… It is one of the most challenging business in my opinion. You can only succeed at this if you are truly passionate about it and NEVER GIVE UP!

Thank you, Fabrice, for this opportunity to have a quick chat with you.

 Most welcome….

https://www.fabricetardieu.com

Fabrice Tardieu

Kate Spade is still shining like a bright star

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

Learning the news of Kate Spade’s death was unexpected and so sad.

Her name has been part of my repertoire since my “not so glamorous” teenage years in the nineties and into my early twenties.

I was always curious about the next handbag she would create, even as the minimalist kind of girl that I am.

But yesterday, when I learned the sad news of her death, I was reminded of when one of my high school classmates decided to end her life her first year in college. This classmate had everything going for her: beauty, perfect body, great hair, a sweet boyfriend and the status of one of the popular girls in school. At the same time, she was sometimes moody and seemed so sad.

Everyday, I would walk to school and our paths would cross. We walked the last 2 min to school together. She could sense that I was shy to talk to her. I would always give her my biggest smile, but then look down and walk faster. She would acknowledge my smile and my shyness.

There is not a day I don’t think of why I didn’t made the first step to being her friend.

She was my aunt’s neighbour. I still remember that dreadful February night when she called my home to talk to my mom who later told me that a young girl had died. She didn’t know I went to school with her.

By the time my mom was about to tell me the news, my best friend from high school had sent me an MSN message (yes, it was before Facebook messenger and texting).

I went to my room and picked up my high school yearbook, turning straight to the page her picture was on. I was numb. I cried.

I couldn’t go to the funeral because I felt so guilty about not reaching out to her. And I managed, with time, to face it but let me tell you, I struggled a lot afterwards.

Yesterday was a sad day.

But suicide is happening everyday. When someone is famous, we tend to be more aware because it is broadcasted across every form of media. But I would like to say, out loud, my thoughts about a specific thing I saw that made me so mad.

Why are outlets like TMZ, etc. are taking pictures of the body on a stretcher leaving the apartment building?!

I really get super mad about seeing a picture like this (by accident) because it is on the front page. Like when my classmate died, the local newspaper didn’t send a photographer to take a picture and put it on our Wednesday issue.

You get my point.

It’s a painful moment for the family and friends and everywhere you will go, this picture will be on every news outlet, tabloid and so on. It’s so awful and such a lack of respect.

For the young girl that lost her dear mom, for the husband that lost his wife and the mother of his child, to her family and to her friends, my thoughts are with you.

And to the tabloids, get the hell out and show some respect. Damn it!

In a way, she is still bringing lights into our life and she is forcing us having this really difficult conversations about depression and anxiety. Maybe this tragedy will save more lives.

For anyone that is struggling, please, please, please, we are here for you and there are some incredible organizations that are here for you. You are not alone.

We are not alone.

http://www.depressionarmy.com

https://www.nami.org

https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

Totally Fashion Friday

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

It’s been a while since I wrote a fashion Chronicle.

Today is your lucky day! The warm weather is slowly coming and along with it more smiles since we had one of the crappiest Winters ever.

Ok, with those pictures, you will said probably not but wait…

To mark the season of hope, aka Spring, I’m rocking my fabulous Totally Tala fringe earrings!

Yes, it’s damn true. You can even see it.

I have to be careful because Mr. Whisky seems to want rock them too.

Tala is a pure artist. With her creation, you can see the artistry in her and she is not afraid to be bold.

Here a picture of her sister rocking those earrings too.

Actually, I really love the fact that she is a daredevil regarding fashion.

I’m more the minimalist type, but I wish I was more willing to be bold.

But with those earrings, I feel bolder than ever! And, it’s such a good feeling.

Tala will officially launch The Totally Tala website in 2018 and you will be able to see her products. I’ve got my eye on a special fringe bag.

For all the fashionistas and the fashionisters (new word I just created), get ready to be totally swept away by this cool artist.

Totally Tala Website

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Written by Sabine Démosthènes

I have loved fashion since I was young, from the time I realized it was a thing.

Watching my sweet Mamma glamming up for our ritual house parties in the 80s, while she likely wished she was more of an Alexis Colby Carrington because she was a fierce and career-oriented woman a that happen to be a fashionista rather than a Kristle Carrington from Dynasty, our favorite show, was a joy for me.

I was in awe of all of her stilettos, pearls necklaces, giant gemstone rings, and dresses. I couldn’t wait to play with them. I wasn’t the only one in that situation.

My mom worked a 9 to 5 job in a clothing manufacture earning a hourly wages while going back to school to have a better career for herself in the 80’s.

She worked so hard during the day. She wasn’t a lawyer, a journalist, a doctor, or a scientist, but she did her best to provide us with the essentials. And yes, fashion was part of that.

I never took my mom less seriously because she loved to have fun with her style and enjoy it. It was the  contrary. I admired her more for not taking herself too seriously and she encouraged me to have the same disposition.

In the 80s, everyone had fun with fashion. From executives (those shoulders pads – uh uh!) to the neon leggings seen on fitness enthusiasts.

Women like Oprah, Jane Fonda, the girls from Salt’N’Pepa and Madonna, even my gym professor and elementary school principal (I loved Mrs. Nantel’s red suit) were having fun with fashion.

In the 90s, Grunge and the streetstyle of Hip-Hop were in full bloom. It was the decade of my ultimate fashion mentor’s style!

I’m still into it today, dressing like her, it is so me now.

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy! The minimalist goddess of all time.

Did we judge her like we crucify some women today for their wardrobe?

No!

So why do we do it in 2018? I read article that said, for example, you are a prominent human rights barrister, you cannot enjoy being creative with your outfit without being judged for not taking your role seriously.

What the heck?!

I find it ridiculous. People must have nothing better to do.

My clothes shouldn’t speak to my accomplishments but actually, my accomplishments should speak for themselves.

For an example, Diana, Princess of Wales had fun with her wardrobe, but it didn’t stop her from being considered the Peoples’ Princess.

I remember a few years ago, at a convention, I had my Gucci eyewear mixed with a Club Monaco T-shirt and a black pencil skirt. Simple, classic. I was given the look: “OMG you are so materialistic for showcasing your sunglasses”.

Someone actually came up to me and commented.

I wasn’t happy about it at all. I was thinking, I’m not judging anyone, why they are doing it to me?

After that, did I stop wearing my eyewear? Or, if I wanted to wear nice clothes, did I think twice?

Hell no!

We are so lucky to have the opportunity to have fun with fashion. Yes, some things can be pricey and some people may think we are pretentious. But, maybe try to take the time to learn about someone personally and then, maybe you won’t say or write such stupid things.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s not be those cynical, sad people that have nothing better to do than judge a book by its cover without reading it.

Let it be.

Boss Ladies

I couldn’t wait to buy the first Elle Magazine under Garcia’s leadership yesterday. I was literally like a little child in a candy store!

It’s a brand new era for women all around the world. We want to stand up for each other by supporting each and everyone of us (in both small and big ways).

Her editorial was raw and real.

Why “raw”, do you ask?

She wasn’t shy to mention that she was devastated when she was dismissed as ELLE’s fashion director. But, she never settled. Her creativity and determination is refreshing and we can feel it while reading her first essay as the new Editor-in-Chief.

Nina Garcia

I have always been an ELLE lady over a Vogue one. I want to learn more about a woman’s journey rather than looking a thousand pages of publicity.

I love fashion, but I love having some discussion or an interview mixed in. A worldly, fashionable and intelligent woman can read about the next trend and discover the journey of a courageous woman, all in the same magazine.

Nina Garcia is the right woman to take Elle into a new era!

Nina Garcia Quote

I was happily surprised to discover Katrina Lake,the founder and CEO of Stitch Fix (please come to Canada!!). We are the same age and her path to become one of the most promising entrepreneurswasn’t smooth for her, but she never gave up and she made it.

I was so inspired by the end of this article that I actually got the little boost of confidence that I needed. I’m crossing my fingers that Stitch Fix could deliver to Canada.

Katrina Lake

Hmm, maybe I should suggest it.

I saw a nice ad featuring Coco Rocha. I just love this beautiful human being. Her positivity, her spirituality and her just beautiful nature is so nurturing.

I kept smiling while slowly turning the pages.

And then, the main event – La pièce de résistance!

A sit down interview, or should I say a conversation, between two people who were reconnecting while talking about International Women’s Day, the Climate Summit, their children (and grandchildren for John Kerry), violence against women and the willingness to make our voices heard as individual, especially right now in 2018.

Angelina Jolie and John Kerry

This is the best issue I have read in 2018 so far!

The pictures were perfect and so were the articles such as “The Hero We Need”, referring of the Black Panther movie, Ava DuVernay’s “Women in Hollywood” article and Teddy Quinlivan’s essay on being a beautiful transgender model.

Teddy is wow!! She is fearless.

It was a beautiful March issue that I will cherish in my collection.

I can’t wait to see what Nina will show us in April.

http://www.elle.com

https://www.stitchfix.com

Written by Sab Demosthenes

Our Canadian fashion Godmother. Her name is Jessica Mulroney.

Our Canadian fashion godmother. Her name is Jessica Mulroney.

She is sassy.

She is the ultimate cool Montrealer girl.

You know what, she is our fashion godmother.

Jessica

You may have known her already for her segment on the CityLine with one of our favorite TV personality Tracy Moore.

Jessica and Tracy

But let me introduce you to the talented, fashionable and cool Jessica Mulroney.

The first time I read about Jessica was around 2008. I was a die-hard Hello Magazine. I couldn’t wait to buy my copy of Hello during the lunch hour and eating at a nice Italian restaurant looking to Queen Mary Boulevard. I remember the magazine issue talking about Ben and Jessica’s wedding like it was yesterday. I was alone at the restaurant and next to me, Richard Garneau was having lunch. Richard Garneau was our ultimate sports anchor. He gave so much flavour commenting ice skating competition to the Olympic hockey finals. That Friday was magical.

I still wanted to keep my cool but I wasn’t shy reading my Hello Magazine and reading the love story between two people. I got a really soft spot for romance.

Ben and Jessica

I was so taken by the simplicity of Jessica’s dress and I found her to be so beautiful. During that moment, I was curious about this Montrealer fashion style. As the years passed by, I did see more and more her fashion sense. And I liked it. She can be bold but elegant.

My style has always been minimalist with a preppy touch. But I always admired women that take some fashion chances.

Jessica is Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau fashion secret weapon.

For the bride to be, she is a bridal expert. She is collaborating with Kleinfeld and The Bay to help some brides finding their perfect wedding dress.

Kleinfeld

What I like with Jessica is that she is showcasing our Canadian fashion brand. And for that, I say a big amen!

Brand like Sentalar (I will get one of their coats in 2018), Erdem, Judith and Charles, Lucian Matis, Di Carlo Couture, Birks, Aldo Shoes and many more are on the map.

Talking about Meghan Markle look, I was really happy to see Sentalar coats on her during this past weekend.

Meghan Markle

I know that some people may have hoped for a bigger extravaganza look but I love the simplicity of this look. It’s very CBK (Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy).

With the three looks we have witnessed, she is still the same woman that loves our Canadian brand and she isn’t shy of showing it.

World Vision Event

TORONTO, ON – MARCH 22: Jessica Mulroney and actress Meghan Markle attend the World Vision event held at Lumas Gallery on March 22, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

So today, I dedicated this Chronicle to Jessica Mulroney. She is inspiring, she is super cool like I wrote earlier and I’m joining her and many Canadians to showcase our beautiful fashion sense. We have the best of both worlds.

Jessica oxford

We have the chicness of the French Couture fashion and an audacity of a New Yorker.

Thank you Jessica for being a fashion strength in Canada and surely, you will rock this world.

Jessica M 2016

Jessica Mulroney Instagram

Sentaler Website

Lucian Matis Website

Di Carlo Couture Website

Maison Birks Website

Aldo Shoes Website

Written by Sab Demosthenes