Eliza Faulkner lives and works in Duncan, a small town on Vancouver Island, 100 kilometres from Vancouver, and some 4,300 kilometres from Toronto, the closest fashion capital in Canada. Yet, by the looks of her collection, one would assume Faulkner frolics in urban metropolises, far away from West Coast’s rather casual take on fashion. She didn’t come out of nowhere, of course. This Central Saint Martins graduate honed her skills working in the London studios of Erdem, Zandra Rhodes, and Roland Mouret. The designer will be making her Toronto Fashion Week debut this October, and her signature Le Sportif aesthetic is bound to garner positive notice from the tough first row of Canadian media.
Growing up on Vancouver Island, do you remember the moment you fell in love with fashion?
I can’t say I remember a precise moment. My mother made all of my clothes as a child and growing up I spent a lot of time in her sewing room and at fabric stores so that must have had something to do with. As a teenager, Tom Ford was in his heyday at YSL and Gucci. That might be when I really fell for fashion.
If you could time-travel to any era or a place to experience its style and culture what would it be?
18th century at the Palace of Versailles, hanging out at the Petit Trianon with Marie Antoinette and Madame de Polignac. We would frolic in the fields in exquisite gowns and eat the most divine pastries all day long.
Do you have a fashion hero?
My fashion hero is Tom Ford. Especially when he was at Gucci and YSL.
Do you believe there is a strong identity to Canadian fashion?
Lumberjack plaids, RCMP uniforms, puffer jackets, Cowichan sweaters, Lululemon, and toques are what come to mind when I think of Canadian fashion. So, yes, in a way we do have an identity. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s there. In terms of Canadian contemporary fashion, I think it’s a work in progress.
When searching for inspiration, I…. Play!
Your signature theme is sporty. Are you a sporty person yourself?
No, I wouldn’t consider myself sporty. I appreciate the aesthetic and the functionality of athletic wear and I love the whole sportsluxe trend -- especially sneakers with everything -- but the idea of playing a team sport makes me really uncomfortable. Having said that, I do exercise but I prefer things like dance, yoga, and pilates.
Aside from your own collection, what’s on your fall shopping list?
Phillip Lim loafers, some Hendrik Lou knitwear, camouflage jeans from R13, and a burgundy lipstick.
What can we expect for S/S 2014?
The collection is a lot softer than last season and quite feminine. The linens are from Austria, and are absolutely luscious. They almost have an organza-like quality to them. The collection as always is a hodgepodge of ideas: think Little House on the Prairie meets urban hipster, with some sporty silhouettes thrown in there.