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Karine Vanasse x Elisa C-Rossow: Aesthetics and Timelessness

25 Sep 2017

When they met just over 2 years ago, their connection was immediate and mutual. The same vision of fashion and aesthetics, the same desire to highlight the work that goes into making a garment—it’s no surprise that actress Karine Vanasse and designer Elisa C-Rossow wanted to collaborate on a unique and exclusive collection at Simons. 

The project really began in May 2016. After many discussions, the two partners decided on the pieces that would form the capsule collection.

THE PIECES FROM THE COLLECTION

The collection is made up of nine pieces (3 dresses, 2 jackets, 1 coat, and 3 T-shirts). Each item is numbered and available in very limited quantities at our Place Sainte-Foy, Downtown Montreal, Galeries d’Anjou, Carrefour Laval, Square One, and West Edmonton Mall stores as well as online.

“For me, Simons is an institution in Canadian fashion.
I wanted this collection to be exclusively sold there,” the designer explained. 

Each piece has a special name.

THE TILDA DRESS,
named after the British actress, Tilda Swinton, whom both Elisa and Karine greatly admire.
LE MARCHAL COAT,
named after the character Karine played on the American television drama, Revenge.
THE FOSTER JACKET,
a reference to a meeting scheduled between Karine and Jodie Foster when the Quebec actress was 19 years old. The meeting never happened, but this is the type of jacket that Karine would have liked to wear.
THE NOMAD JACKET,
named after Karine's favourite hotel in New York.

The story behind the collection's T-shirts is definitely one worth mentioning.

“Collectionner le beau” (Collect Beauty) is a screen print by Montreal artist Yannick De Serre that shows three gloves.

The idea behind the name of the T-shirt
is to express this passion for wearing beautiful clothes that are themselves works of art.
 
The other two T-shirts, L’élégance commence ici” (Elegance Starts Here) and “Qu’est-ce que tu portes?” (What Are You Wearing?), are simple in design—pure white tees that feature a single phrase. What’s special about these two pieces? The phrases were typed using Elisa’s grandmother’s typewriter. “It’s an allusion to my origins, just like my tattoos that were also designed with this same typewriter.”

THE DESIGN PROCESS

Sticking to her minimalist and monochrome aesthetic, Elisa C-Rossow presents timeless pieces in this collection, classics for a feminine wardrobe that are made of carefully chosen luxury materials. Italian cashmere, Australian merino wool, cotton-silk poplin, and structured jersey fabric with a flawless drape are what won Elisa over.

This is where the importance of the materials, their texture, and their construction comes in. 
 
Karine felt privileged to be actively involved in all parts of the design process and to participate in the discussions and decisions that brought the final product to life. Used to being on film sets, the actress saw a definite parallel between the two worlds. “At the beginning, there was nothing and now there’s something, and I know everything that’s involved in making it a reality.” The close interaction she had with the designer is very special to her. 

Both Elisa and Karine share a vision of responsible fashion consumption. “Over the years, I’ve become more aware of this issue,” Karine said. “I prefer to have fewer clothes, but to keep them longer. I invest in beautiful pieces that are well cut, well designed, and that give me a look and a confidence that I can connect with right away. Nothing’s better than the feeling of a long coat or jacket that blows in the wind as I walk!”

TIMELESS CLOTHING THAT WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME

The Karine Vanasse x Elisa C-Rossow collection comes in different shades of grey and white.

“We didn't want to do black, since it's the base colour of my regular collection. And because Karine really loves to wear grey, it made sense to opt for this shade,” Elisa explained.

This colour choice also ties into the designer's company values. In her aim to create timeless, monochrome clothing that's uninfluenced by today's trends, Elisa focused only on different shades of grey and white. No patterns or other “real” colours. “I'd be cheating if I did otherwise.”

But why the desire to create something timeless?

This preoccupation started during her studies in haute couture fashion in Paris twelve years ago. “While studying the history of clothing, I realized that we no longer respect our clothes.  We have no idea of the work the goes into the pieces we buy, use, and throw away like any other product in our day-to-day life. At the end of the 1800's, a woman might have owned three dresses in her lifetime.  And that's if she was rich! Women took care of their clothing and considered it to be important in order to enhance their appearance.”

That’s why Elisa C-Rossow creates pieces that women can wear for years and years.