Designer Rachel Fortin and I have a history. I modeled for her Rachel F. Fall/Winter campaign back in 2012, shot by the talented Jimmi Francoeur. She and partner Mathieu Mudie also own one of my favorite boutiques LOWELL. I recently had the chance to speak to her store`s manager, Julien Thibodeau for a post that is coming VERY VERY VERY soon on the blog.
When they asked me to collaborate for their exclusive collection with the Barcelona-based shoe company, Maians, I was pretty ecstatic! Just the thought of these two joining forces was amazing. On one hand, there is Rachel F., specializing in leather goods and mastering the art of a well tailored handbag. On the other, there is Maians, honing their shoe crafting skills through classic handmade products and super comfortable designs.
The result of their complementary craftsmanship? An impeccable XL handbag and the cutest espadrilles. Read about how this project came into place and how it might just happen again (yesssssssss)!
How did this collaboration happen?
Rachel F. : We discovered Maians at a trade show in NYC. Last summer, we started selling their products at our boutique LOWELL. Over time, the brands’ presence significantly increased and Maians had the idea of creating an exclusive mini collection. We said yes right away!
Maians : We love Rachel F. leather products, so making a shoe+handbag duo seemed totally logical.
What was the creative process like?
Maians : We picked one of our shoes and adapted it to Rachel F. SS15 colour scheme. After that, it was a matter of designing a coordinated handbag, which we called BARCELONA. Both brands’ spirits were kept intact through the whole project.
Rachel F. : The mix of colours – the ideal balance of summery and feminine – was already part of our SS15 collection. And quite frankly, the whole team at the office is basically in love with those hues.
What are the materials used in the handbag?
Rachel F. : It’s a mix of cowhide and high quality cotton duck. That type of canvas has been produced in the U.S. since the middle of the 19th century. It’s super robust and because of its special weave, it’s water repellent.
And the shoes?
Maians : All of our shoes are made out of cotton and naturally vulcanized rubber, a technique exclusive to the brand.
What was the best aspect of collaborating with a brand from overseas?
Rachel F. : We design handbags, so being able to imagine a shoe and then holding it in our hands was amazing! Moreover, they’re really summery wedges, so using the Catalan expertise was simply perfect. Barcelona is all about summer, right?
What’s the secret of a good handbag?
Rachel F. : A bag that becomes more beautiful as it ages. An object that you carry proudly seasons after seasons. It also helps if you can wear it in multiple occasions: at work, at a business meeting, for a drink or at the park… That’s when you know you got a great handbag!
What’s the definition of a good shoe?
Maians : It has to evoke the desire to be worn. It needs to be versatile, comfortable and of excellent quality.
Is there any resemblance between Montreal and Barcelona?
Maians : Barcelona is a such vibrant city that loves celebrating art, music, food and culture, just like Montreal!
Can we expect another collaboration?
Rachel F. : Certainly! We’re already discussing it with Maians :)
LOWELL, 5364 boulevard St-Laurent, Montréal
Soon on www.maiansfootwear.com
Photos by Naomie Tremblay
How do you like the result of the Rachel F. X Maians collaboration? How would you wear each item?