I had planned for this interview to last an hour. Two hours and a half later, I was still there, trying on my 8th piece by Christophe Lemaire. Diana Taborsky, co-owner of the boutique Les Étoffes, is as passionnate as she is fascinating.
Seven years ago (already!), she opened this oasis full of curated brands with her partner, Christopher Girard. Since then, numerous labels have found homes in this space designed by Antonin Sorel: some stayed and some have been replaced.
Today, a luxurious amalgam of local stationary, Australian cosmetics, candles from L.A., jewelry from Munich and intricately fabricated clothes fill the store. As you can see, the shop takes care of your beauty cabinet as much as your closet. Here are a couple of names you should know if you’re into a simplified, balanced and cool lifestyle.
“I heard about that brand during a trip to Australia, about 6 years ago. I became obsessed with their body cream! After that, I would write to them every four months to convince them to export their products to Canada. Last September, they finally hit our shelves”, tells Diana.
The line, launched by two brothers, is strictly composed of natural ingredients (no shady chemicals!). Their elixirs, scented with geranium, chamomile or sage extracts, are bottled in minimalist containers that are also… biodegradable! Oh, and they don’t test on animals.
Maya Assouad’s journals are not made for boring notes such as your grocery shopping list. Handmade in Montreal, they make you want to write a poem or draw a portrait of your friend.
“The cover is made with lamb skin and the paper is from G.F Smith, a premium quality company located in London. From beginning to end, the process is thoroughly researched”, shares Diana, who also happen to be a big fan of those meticulously pieced notebooks.
“Mona Kowalska, the designer, doesn’t follow trends. She’s a dreamer with an extravagant side”, explains Diana, visibly a supporter of Kowalska’s creative approach.
Personally, I’ve known about the brand for quite a while, but I truly became an admirer after reading that interview with the designer on Fashionista. Even though Kowalska presents at every New York Fashion Week, she preserves an ethical production and a slow-paced and intricate way of creating her garments. She wants her brand to remain at a human scale, unlike many other designers.
With two philosophies so alike, the New York brand and the Montreal boutique were meant to create a union.
Straight from Munich, the jewelry line has made its way to the boutique. “I discovered her pieces in New York. She produces so many collections, we only have a fraction of everything she makes”, says Diana.
I totally fell for the lonely earrings, made with 18 karats gold or sterling silver. You can buy them separately to create a unique asymmetrical look.
I’m such a sucker for a nice pair of sunglasses. First, my blue eyes are blinded by the weakest sun rays. Second, every tiny detail in a frame just amazes me.
The brand Linda Farrow puts a great deal of attention in the subtle ornaments used in its timeless designs. “The golden studs on each side of the frame are actual gold”, shares Diana.
That’s it. I want a pair. What?! It’s to protect my eyes from the blazing sun, I swear ;)
Photos by Justine Paquette