Sitting at their kitchen table in the university apartment they shared, Chloé and Parris Gordon had a radical idea: to go into business together and launch their own fashion brand.
Five years later, and the 20-something sister act is enjoying an unprecedented level of success on Canada’s style front. The filles behind Beaufille may have changed their name from Chloe Comme Parris last year, but they’ve remained true to the cool-girl aesthetic that is so coveted by Toronto’s trendsetters.
As they gear up for their Fall/Winter 2014 show at World Mastercard Fashion Week, HELLO! Online caught up with the Gordon girls, who dished about their family bond and what’s it’s like working with a sibling.
Last season’s collection was inspired by the renaissance and mob wives of the 1960s. What was the inspiration for Fall/Winter 2014?
PARRIS: We went in a similar direction where there is a uniform and a code of dressing. ‘Gangs and tribes’ is the running element to the collection, but it has still similar silhouettes and a tough-girl edge.
Can you describe your favourite piece?
PARRIS: For me, it’s an elegant A-line dress that you’ll see in one of our custom prints – that is my favourite custom piece.
CHLOE: My favourite is a big, navy blue trench coat that’s decorated in hardware.
What’s it like working with your sister?
PARRIS: I think it’s great! We are working together because of our relationship growing up. We’ve always been very close and we bond over creative things. It’s a pretty natural process. We each have different inspirations and share the same as well, but working together adds a lot of depth and possibility to the work. Two heads are always stronger than one.
CHLOE: Because are we sisters, and we have the same taste, we don’t have to be communicating and showing each other things every hour of every day to end up creating product that’s similar. It’s really nice – we’re able to be independent within our own mediums because we’re blood.
Did you always know you wanted to design together?
PARRIS: We started to really think about it around age 15, when we started thinking about our future and our careers. We really wanted to do something creative together and we didn't figure out what that was until we were both in university.
What was the deciding moment?
PARRIS: It was after I had finished my first year and Chloe had finished her third. We had both finished some bodies of work and we just said, ‘You know what? We have some product. We have friends at our school who can shoot it and we have friends in graphic design who can do our website. Do we want to do this?’ It was literally a conversation at our kitchen table – we were living together at that point – and that’s how it all began.
CHLOE: I don’t even think we knew what we were doing. It wasn't just a specific moment, either – it had been brewing for a while. At one point we just sat down and said, ‘This is really cool. Let’s try this out.’ It was about so many things coming together and the timing being right.
What does your family think of your success?
PARRIS: They’re really happy and they definitely like to brag about us! They’re really impressed by what we do and the risk we took by starting this. We’re really lucky – they’re incredibly supportive.
CHLOE: It’s really exciting for our mother, who is heavily involved in the line, because she’s watching us do what she loves as well. I think a mother and two daughters collaborating in this capacity is really exciting for any parent and we all have a lot of fun together. [Laughs]
Is your mom coming to the show?
CHLOE: Definitely! She’s always there decked out in Beaufille. She has great personal style and can pull of some pretty wild things.
If you could dress any celebrity, who would it be?
CHLOE: I love what Elizabeth Olsen is doing. I think she would be a really cool person to dress.
PARRIS: She’s the talk of the town, but I think Jennifer Lawrence has a rad personality and definitely fits the type of person we design for.
Can you describe the kind of person you design for?
PARRIS: She’s someone with a tomboy side to them – effortless and never overly put together. She has a appreciation for finer things and art, but is totally relaxed at the same time.
Finish this sentence: You would never be caught dead wearing…
PARRIS: A cowboy hat.
CHLOE: Sneaker wedges. They’re gross. They’re a trend that really caught fire, but they’re kind of a weird concept, to be perfectly honest. It doesn't make sense; you’d never be in a running shoe when you’re at an event that calls for heels.
Do you pay attention to the trends?
CHLOE: Not really. We don’t think, ‘We have to do this because it’s in,’ but as a designer, you have to pay attention to the trends to an extent. We’ll pay attention to what’s going on, but it will never be a deciding factor in what we make – it may just give us some direction, like for colour stories, for example.
Are you looking forward to Spring yet?
We’ve definitely started brainstorming. Our muse is usually the same, and the look of Beaufille is the same, but we have different inspirations driving the look of each collection. The fit and the style doesn’t change too much.
What do you do to unwind after the show?
PARRIS: We usually have a big dinner with family and friends and a couple of friends. Then we’ll take a half-day the next day and get right back to it. We’re workaholics so we don't usually need too much time in between.
CHLOE: You have to keep moving. You can never get too relaxed, because then getting back into the swing of things can be challenging.
What’s next for you guys?
PARRIS: The goal is to create collections that would be recognized by publications and boutiques that we really admire and respect, like Barney’s, Bergdorfs and Lane Crawford. There’s a lot to accomplish and I think we are marching down that road. Each season we get closer to that.