Like Madonna, Linda Lundström has the reinvention gene. Thirty years as a fashion designer means that she’s had her share of ups (the phenomenal success of her Laparka coat) and downs (filing for bankruptcy a year ago), but she just can’t leave fashion behind. Last March, a private investment group — which owns Eleventh Floor Apparel — acquired her line. By June, she was revamping her style vision, and this spring, she’s back with a new collection, a new ad campaign (starring Canadian model Liisa Winkler, shot by renowned photographer Chris Nicholls) and even a new name: From now on, her line will be called simply “Lundström.” “I love the process of going from zero and having nothing but a blank piece of paper — it’s thrilling!”explains Lundström from her Toronto factory. After years of running every aspect of her business, she says that it’s liberating to focus solely on designing clothes. “I focused more on the finishing and the presentation of the garment; everything has become simpler.” Simplicity is one of Lundström’s favourite words. “It’s about having the right amount of clothing — fewer but better pieces,” she says. Appropriately, her spare palette of black, platinum and cream looks fresh and modern.
A key fabric in the spring collection has a papery sateen finish. To achieve it, Lundström gave kraft paper to her supplier so that he could duplicate the shade. Given the year she’s had, the fabric and the Tuck ’n’ Tie dress made from it are highly symbolic. “At the risk of sounding corny,” Lundström says with a laugh, “I had been thinking about The Paper Bag Princess” — Robert Munsch’s tale about the princess whose kingdom goes up in smoke. It’s a story she often read to her daughters at bedtime. “I knew I had to make a dress in what looked like kraft paper,” she says, “because that’s what the princess wears at the end of the story.”