They first met as 12-year-olds attending the same school, where Eran Elfassy says Elisa Dahan was “an annoying brat,” but since then the design duo behind Canadian outerwear staple Mackage have built a successful business one chic coat at a time.
Launched in 2009 on the premise that outerwear should be as stylish as the pieces housed beneath, the wildly successful Montreal-based label has garnered fans that include Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna.
Luxe fabrics like leather and fur are often blended in uniquely fashionable unions, and the brand’s down coats are actually able to avoid making wearers look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
The longtime friends found inspiration for their Spring/Summer 2014 collection in the reflection of light on mirrored surfaces, hence the pops of metallic silver, but for fall they’ve turned to a role we’ve all been forced to take on in recent months: That of winter warriors.
And there’s no reason we can’t be stylish all the while!
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What can we expect from
your Fall/Winter 2014 collection?
ED: We like to stick to neutrals and play on details so, because it’s fall, you won’t see the pops of colour that you saw in spring. You’ll see army green, black, navy – a lot of combos. It’s actually more a question of mixing interesting textures and fabrics than colours.
What was the
inspiration for the collection?
ED: To sum it up, it’s really Mother Nature-inspired. It's about creating this stylish winter warrior – that’s really what we worked on.
EE: We’re older now. When we were young we would go out wearing a coat and we’d still be freezing – today we don’t like to freeze anymore. We see some people outside wearing a leather jacket or nothing at all and we cry for them. We feel like we're parents saying, “You’re not going out like that.” Today, you see some people who won’t go out of their house without a coat because it is also their fashion statement.
ED: And that really goes back to our inspiration, which is having something that’s not just protecting you, but that you’re proud to wear and makes a statement.
Are there any
particular pieces that you think people will be especially proud to wear in the
ED: I think new, fun, full shapes. I mentioned the mixing of textures, and one of my favourites is a coat that actually has four different textures in it [called LEITA, with lightweight down, knit, leather and wool]. It's a new take on a warm coat that has both wool and down, so you have a little bit of everything.
Are there any trends you’re
seeing that you’re so ready for people to get over?
ED: Although I think down jackets are super cool, I want to see wool. Wool is becoming chic again and I think down has taken too much place in the market as a trend. Wools are, to me, the next big thing.
EE: We could do wool and line them in down. [Laughs] We actually did that. We took some wool coats and we filled them with down – it’s warmer than a regular down coat.
Who would you say is
the most exciting person that you’ve dressed and who would you love to see wear
ED: I think Gwyneth Paltrow was one of my favourites until Madonna happened a couple of months ago, so that was super exciting.
EE: And she was wearing it everywhere.
ED: She sent her assistant to the store to go pick it, so she knew exactly what she wanted. It really was a big compliment.
And what about
someone you haven’t dressed?
ED: Ryan Gosling. He is Canadian and he would look amazing in our clothes!
Do you have any
ED: We always party after our shows – that’s the number one thing we want to do and this year. We’re having a big party at The Citizen so we’re super excited. We like to celebrate and have fun after the show.
What are your
survival tips for fashion week?
ED: I know it’s not the typical thing fashion people will admit to, but we always have snacks and chocolates around.
EE: We probably gain 5 lbs. We don’t have time to eat well so we just eat chocolate and candy.
You guys met in high
school. What was your first impression of each other?
EE: I think she forced me to be her friend.
ED: We were always being disruptive or drawing on our desks or doing something wrong, so we must have been fairly close since day one because we always got in trouble together. [Laughs] We liked being the rebels. First of all, he had long hair to his shoulders. Plus, we had a uniform with a cardigan and he always had to have these cool sweaters to put over his uniform.
EE: You remember Fresh Prince back in the day, how he [Will Smith] would put his blazer on inside out? I would do that – I would put a t-shirt on instead of a shirt, put a shirt on top of it, and then turn my cardigan around.
ED: And since we had a uniform, I was known to have about 50,000 pairs of shoes because that was the only way I could define my style. I might be accused of being a shoe fanatic.
What kind of shoes
are you wearing these days?
ED: Saint Laurent shoes lately. Right now, I’m coveting a pair of Givenchy floral pumps that I need to have.
Now that you have
known each other for so long, are the things that you liked about each other
when you met still the things you love about each other today?
ED: I think we’ve changed a lot, but we still bicker. We still have the chemistry we’ve always had. We could be arguing one second, and the next second we’re eating together. That’s the beauty of our friendship, our relationship and working together. I think that it’s only gotten better with time.
How do you
compliment each other now? What’s the division of labour like?
ED: We’ve always been very different. It’s very hard because I’m going to have an idea and then he’s going to be implementing the fine-tuning and detailing, and vice versa. He’s very detail oriented and I’m very image oriented, always looking at the big picture. I think together that's what makes us a good team, because we really have different qualities.