World MasterCard Fashion Week kicks off! Meet Beaufille designers Chloé and Parris Gordon
When I arrived at Chloé and Parris Gordon’s studio Friday afternoon, Chloé was on the phone calmly handling a rather urgent problem. The Toronto-based design duo’s spring/summer 2014 show was three days away and the shoes that
Dr. Martens had sent that afternoon were the wrong sizes. “My sister will join us in a minute,” explained Parris. “She’s just dealing with a little issue we’re having.” Little? Instead of a fashion tantrum, which wouldn’t have been unwarranted, the sisters were surprisingly mellow. It’s their sixth collection, and Parris assured me that they have the routine down. “There’s always going to be some hurdles, but we’re prepared for that. We just deal with them and move on.” At this point, Chloé joined us. “Sorry about that,” she said. “The Toronto store is sold out of the styles we want to use, and the ones they shipped from Portland won’t work. We’ll get it figured out.” I suggested that perhaps the models could go barefoot, as that look might suit the designers’ “badass muse” that we’ve come to know.
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“Not this time,” said Parris. “This season, our muse has evolved. We were very inspired by
Elvira Hancock, who was Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in
Scarface. She’s very polished, very put together—at least on the outside. She’s still a badass underneath.” As with
previous collections, the sisters twinned this modern influence with a historical reference point. For this season, it’s the Renaissance period, which is rather fitting given that the pair has undergone their own “rebirth” this year when they
changed their name from Chloé comme Parris to
Beaufille. “The Rennaissance was a natural fit for us,” explained Chloé. “It reflects our new direction—our own rebranding—but also the imagery from that period was really inspiring. We were especially struck by the more religious iconographic elements and how there was a natural link to the mobster world and its connection to religion.” There are two prints this season, which their mother designed, and they have also introduced embroidered embellishments that are emblematic of that time. But what they’re both really excited about—and too coy at this point to reveal—is the hardware and jewelled elements that Chloé designed for the pieces. “The way the clothes are connected and held together is completely different,” noted Parris. “It’s a new way of constructing clothing. It’s not just about putting on a button or a buckle or an embellishment; it’s about making these elements part of the functioning garment.” “It was a really intense collection to make,” laughed Chloé. “There was a lot of hammering!” I asked if they could show me some of the pieces, but unfortunately the clothing hadn’t arrived back from New York. In fact, the collection had been held up at the border that afternoon, explained Chloé. She appeared to be handling this setback with the same admirable restraint she had with the shoe snafu. “We have a good relationship with FedEx, so we were able to sort things out,” she assured me. “I’m looking forward to seeing the clothes again. We finished the collection in July and I can’t even recall all the looks. I hope we don’t want to make any changes when we see them again!” I suggested that it’s like a multiple-choice exam: They should resist the urge to make any last-minute switches. “Yes, go with your instinct,” she nodded. Just the kind of badass advice you’d get from Elvira.
Beaufille shows Monday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the World MasterCard Fashion Week. The ELLE Canada team will be blogging daily about the best in Canadian fashion and beauty. Be sure to join us on Twitter and Instagram for the latest from David Pecaut Square.