“I actually hate fashion,” says Elisa C-Rossow with a laugh. She’s referring not to the craft but to the industry and its endless pursuit of the next new viral trend at the expense of, well, everything. “What I was most concerned with when I was studying fashion was that it seemed like we had completely lost the value of clothing,” she says. “[We’d lost sight of] the artistic value—that someone had an idea and designed that idea around the body.” Soon after making the move to Montreal following her graduation from school in Paris, C-Rossow founded her eponymous label as the answer to everything she wanted to change.

Timelessness—or, as C-Rossow describes it, “never on-trend without being out of trend”—is the bedrock of her luxury made-to-order womenswear line of minimalist wardrobe classics; it all comes in only black or white (summer) or cream (winter) for maximum versatility. Behind the effortless appearance of her clothing is a careful balancing equation that involves removing unnecessary details to allow the essential elements of the garment shine. “My mantra really is less is more,” she says. Every element of the garment—from high-quality natural fibres, like organic merino wool, to the actual price tags, which are made from fabric scraps that have been transformed into paper—is thoughtfully designed to ensure its longevity and minimize its environmental impact.

C-Rossow’s commitment to championing sustainable practices is spotlighted in the fall/winter 2023/2024 collection. It’s a deeply personal tribute to her mother, Betty, who died in a flood in France in 2020. Through C-Rossow’s signature pared-down aesthetic, the pieces exude a sentimental elegance that is directly inspired by her mother’s own sense of style. “The Betty coat is the best dedication to my mom because I put it on and I feel like it’s something she would have worn when I was young,” she says. The campaign, which was produced by an all-women team, even features a mom-and-daughter model duo to help bring C-Rossow’s vision to life. “I wanted to represent the unconditional love but also the complex relationship between a mother and daughter.”

Photo: Gaelle Leroyer


“Our first relationship with clothing is really linked to our moms. I remember my mom having certain rules that were old school, like never mixing black and tan. [She] always looked so polished, with her nails done and everything. She had that French-woman style—no matter what, they look impeccable without much effort. My mom really inspired the way I design: always balanced, clean, minimalist and pure. Whether you’re thin or curvy, the fit should make you feel your best. This is the purpose of clothing. When I draw and start the process of assembling, I’m always in pursuit of that emotion.”


“A big problem in the fashion industry is that there’s no consistency in legislation around sustainability. I’m often asked how customers can recognize when it’s just branding [in order] to sell [the products]. It’s so hard [to know]—even for me, and I’m in the business. Brands can come up with all these good words and everything the customer wants to see, but [sometimes] after that, if you ask questions, there are no answers. You can sell anything with good branding, but we should be judging companies by the amount of garbage [they produce].”


“I’m really proud of how my company has evolved—of the fact that I stuck to my values. And those values [are] even stronger [now]. The difference between me at 22, when I created my brand, and me at 37 today is that I can communicate more clearly. I gained credibility with my clientele and within the industry, but the biggest evolution is that I’m more confident in what I do. I wake up in the morning and I’m excited. It’s really cool to still be here 15 years later.”