Designer David Dixon celebrates 20 years

By Ally Dean

Born and raised in Toronto, David Dixon studied fashion at Ryerson University and launched his label a year after graduation. Twenty years on, his evening wear has been worn by Coco Rocha, Meg Ryan, Nicole Kidman, Linda Evangelista and Katie Holmes. A core belief in fashion evolution (not trend-based design) and a commitment to luxury comprise his recipe for success.

I design for authentic, aspirational and smart women,” David tells Hello! “I want to create pieces that become highlights in a memory, like the dress you wore when you got engaged.”

The gentle and gracious designer plans to celebrate his milestone with a runway show and time with loved ones. “My family has been instrumental in shaping, supporting and defining my career. This anniversary is quite an intimate affair for us all.”

Photo © Getty

Congratulations on celebrating twenty years! Do you have anything special planned to commemorate the moment?

My 40th runway show, it’s become a family reunion! My sister is making sure the models are getting fed, Glen [my brother] is working on the lighting and my nieces and nephews are putting programs on the seats. My family has been so instrumental in shaping, supporting and defining my career; it has become quite an intimate affair for us all.

What can we expect from this year’s collection?

Joan of Arc inspired me; she represents a strong woman who stands for what she believes in. My designs for are for women like that. They may not be riding on horses into battle but they are modern-day crusaders for equality and humanity.
You’ve dressed so many celebrities, is there someone who made you star stuck?
Celebrities never phase me, whether they are singers, actors or performers, when I meet them they’re not in character and are really quite ordinary. When I dressed our first lady, Mrs. Harper, that’s the only time I’ve been star stuck. The secret service came in to sweep the studio beforehand and it felt so official and was more intimidating than any of the celebrities I’ve worked with.
Photo © Getty

What was the most important piece of advice you received?
That advice came later in my career and it was from Bonnie Brookes. I had a meeting with her in 2009 when we were doing, it was actually ‘Barbie turns 50’ She told me to envision where I want to be and work myself backwards. It changed how I approach things and made more aware of my goals and what I need to do to achieve them.

Is there a moments that stands out as an I-made-it milestone?
I’ve never felt that I’ve made it or arrived, design is a constant evolution for me. I still get nervous before a [runway] show–seriously my anxiety shoots through the roof– and I’m always relieved to see people actually show up.

What’s the key to keeping that excitement?
I mentor at Ryerson University, and love being around fresh minds and fresh perspectives and getting out of my element where we talk about creative– what’s happening in the fashion industry and culturally–and what inspired us but they have nothing to do with my vision.

Speaking of the younger generation, are your two sons interested in design?
I don’t know if they will go into design, but they are very creative. They grew up backstage and would come to my studio. One day I came in and the way they had folded and draped fabric on a Judy was so Comme des Garcons, there is definitely creativity there.

Looking forward, what’s next for the brand?

Evolving my line, working with more accessories, and hopefully being able to be part of more memories with my clients.

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