Inside Éditions de Robes’ cozy Yorkville pop-up is a dress lover’s dream. From a bright, poppy yellow dress with an open collar and flared skirt (one of their best-sellers) to a lilac and purple silk shift dress accented by shiny silver buttons, the emphasis is on classic, feminine styles with a contemporary edge. The Montréal-based brand is well-known in the community for its elegant designs—of which Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is also a fan—and for its attention to detail and quality. The atelier is right above their flagship store in the city’s Mile End and they make regular trips to Italy to source fabric. This pop-up marks their first expansion outside of Montréal.
I caught up with Éditions de Robes founder and editor Julie Pesant and her business partner Michel Lepage at the brand’s pop-up in Toronto to chat about designing the perfect dress and why it’s important for them to produce in Canada.
Éditions de robes SS18 collection Image by: Éditions de robes
On Designing the Perfect Dress
J: “When I design a dress, I really think about me. I think about what I love. I find out with time that what I love, it corresponds to what our customers, what women want today. I just want to design for women in 2018. You wear what is good for you and without compromise as a woman. We have to take our place in this world and with confidence.”
M: “This season, we can really talk about colour because it’s quite edgy to see those very vibrant colours. Actually, it’s edgy for us because we used to be very toned down. There are some very classic shapes in the collection but the edge of the season is definitely the colour. I think that even being edgy or giving an edge to a dress is not about going crazy. It’s just being at the right place, at the right moment with something new and different. At the same time, I think that we need to pick the most important detail and stay on that, not adding too much to the dress.”
Éditions de Robes pop-up in Toronto Image by: Nina Kebriaee
On Expanding the Brand
M: “We’re not looking at expansion for expansion [sake] or for making money. We had a lot of demand from department stores to get the line and we refused for only one reason; because we want to stay exactly who we are. We want to do things that we like and basically we started very small in Montréal to build the brand, to make sure that we understood what we were building. We don’t have a big plan. We kind of go with the flow and it’s a little bit crazy for us because we should be looking at retirement and now we’re looking at expansion but the market is there.”
J: “Our big plan is just to help women. At the end, I do dresses to help women be comfortable, confident and beautiful everyday. For me, it’s important to do business differently, to work with young people. We’re really close to our customers. We really listen. We’re always there for them. Somebody told me, ‘You cannot have friends in this business.’ No, that’s not true.”
On the Importance of Producing Locally
M: “Local production is not an easy thing because we need to restructure this industry. In Montréal, we lost a lot in the last 25 years so it’s hard to find people but at the same time, it’s very important for us and it’s also very important for our customers. They’re very sensible to that. We’re very close to our production so for the quality control, it’s very easy.”
J: “Since we opened, the mentality of the customers changed a lot. At the beginning, it was important but now it’s necessary to buy locally.”