Archive for January, 2012
Vente D’atelier – Studio Sale
Today 17th January, 10am-5pm
Aujourd’hui le 17 janvier 10h-17h
5333 Casgrain #902 (entre Fairmount et St-Viateur)
Collection Automne-hiver 2011-2012 & Collections été antérieures soldées! Échantillons, expérimentations et nouveaux articles en édition limitée, exclusivement pour cette vente!
Up to 75% off original price!!!! We`re thrilled to be letting things go and move and flow and be loved by someone else. Summer 2011 Ivko on sale!
Lundi le 16 janvier et Mardi le 17 janvier de 10h a 17h
Mercredi le 18 janvier de 12h a 19h
5333 Casgrain #902, Mtl, H2T 1X3
Clothes that exude perpetual spring
Katrin Leblond has figured out the secret of earning a living from her creativity
The lady standing under the umbrella in the freezing drizzle with a tray of margaritas is five months pregnant. You wouldn’t guess it. She’s wearing a frilly empire waistline tunic and leggings under an open raincoat.
Katrin Leblond knows how to dress the part, even when the performance is a fairly crazy one. Offering St. Laurent Blvd., passersby complimentary cocktails was one of the many ideas she came up with to lure people into her store just before Christmas. I half expected a crowd, but there wasn’t one. Just Leblond, her assistant and a tray of Mexican-inspired snacks.
Nevertheless, her enthusiasm was undaunted. Some people have sales in their blood. “I just love making beautiful clothes and watching how much women enjoy wearing them,” says the owner of and principle designer for the Katrin Leblond boutique.
At age 5, she was selling unusual rocks at a stand near her Westmount home. Determined to pursue her creative impulse, she got into the fine arts program at Concordia but was marked for life when one professor told the class that only one per cent of graduates would still be making art a decade after graduation.
“I had no intention of being a poor, starving artist,” she recalls. So she set out to make fashion her medium of expression. After interning with a New York fashion designer, she worked in textile design, made costumes for Cirque du Soleil performers and co-founded a design company.
Realizing she lacked technical expertise to transform ideas into wearable items, she enrolled in night courses, but quickly decided the pace was too slow. “So I hired the best pattern-maker I could find, and just watched how it’s done until I knew how.”
In 2006, she launched her own label and the following year, opened the storefront.
Today, she employs a staff of 12 to produce a steady flow of new styles. The business was profitable from the beginning, she says. “I’ve been living off magic.”
Leblond, 36, occupies an unusual position in the fashion world. For a few seasons, she threw herself into the heady world of creating runway collections (the results are on her website), but says her enthusiasm for that path has peaked. “It takes months to prepare a runway show. You have to tie up production and really obsess on the work, to the exclusion of all else.” Designing for her own shop, she’s able to create more new designs and bring items into production according to the needs of her own carefully cultivated market.
Her ideal client is less like the starving models favoured by the fashion industry and more like, well, Katrin Leblond.
“I design for extroverts,” she says. “Women who have a certain amount of confidence, or at least who have to put themselves out there every day. Teachers love my clothes. Actors, dancers, musicians – women who are comfortable in their skin.” Her target age group is 30 to 60. “Younger women are too brand conscious. I prefer to work with women who aren’t afraid go beyond their own comfort zone.”
Montreal’s default colour – black – is in short supply at Katrin Leblond. If you can find a little black dress, it will surely have red ribbons and maybe a lime fringe somewhere. Regardless of the fabric’s weight, her clothing exudes perpetual spring. Hence, the December margaritas, inspired by a recent trip to Mexico.
She spends about 40 per cent of her 50-hour working week in the store. One of her favourite tasks is inviting a shopper to wait in the dressing room while she puts together an armful of clothes. “Often the client doesn’t know what would look and feel good until she gets it on.”
For the moment Leblond has figured out the secret of earning a living from her creativity. Of course she knows the formula will change when she and her husband, Michael Makham, become parents a few months from now. She plans to bring the baby into the workplace as much as possible. Makham runs Aux Vivres, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant a few doors further down the Main, and they live in the neighbourhood. “I haven’t given the new routine much thought at all,” she says brightly.
As for future challenges, she dreams of opening another store in Montreal, since her rhythm of production could easily provide enough fresh stock for a branch. But first things first: the baby, then the clothes that go with being a mom.
I am so in love with life, I don’t know where to begin expressing my gratitude.
To all my beloved clients and to all the women I have ever dressed: Thank YOU! You make my heart sing. When I am dressing you, I am reaching out my heartstrings and caressing your tender soul. I am giving you real loving attention. I care so deeply about that aha! moment when you see yourself in the mirror and fall in love with the women you see. I want for you to all be in love with yourselves all the time. You are so beautiful to me. Thank you for coming to the store on cold freezing rain days and hot my-AC-can’t keep up days. Thank you for seeing the value in quality sewing and local talented design. I only sell you the best. If it is in my store, I believe in it, or I made it.I thank Montreal for blue skies and sunshine in the winter. I am grateful for the inward get-a-lot-of-stuff-done time that winter provides me with. As an artistic person, I am most creative in winter.
I thank my pregnant belly for moving and growing and filling me with happy hormones. I love watching my body change. I love being fat and having big (well, bigger) breasts. I love talking to women about babies and children. I love all the hands that instinctively reach out to gently touch my belly. Every one of them is a blessing to my baby.
I love my staff and I love working in a team of women. We are so powerful and amazing. We are so lucky to live in the place and time that we live in, where I get to be an entrepreneur and we all get to be free women. I make art and I create jobs. I control every step of production, from choosing local suppliers with good hearts to retailing in a store that I built and dreamed into existence. I am manifesting this much love and beauty because I have a great team. Thank you for standing by me, believing in my art and trusting my leadership.
Thank you to my mother for encouraging my creative path my whole life long. Thank you for sending me to art school. Thank you for working by my side every weekend and making sure I am drinking tea and eating snacks. I love you.
Thank you to the goddess, great spirit, earth mother, god. Thank you for sending me so many beautiful ideas. They are endless and I will never stop manifesting them.