Inside Beaufille’s New York Fashion Week debut

Photography by Mauricio Calero

Showing at New York Fashion week for the first time must be hugely satisfying for a young designer.

But debuting after a few seasons of ups and downs is even better. “We learned the importance of perseverance,” said Toronto’s Parris Gordon this week at The Standard Hotel, where she and sister Chloe unveiled Beaufille Fall 2016.

Their presentation was part of MADE, a New York Fashion Week off-shoot that supports newer talent. Networking has been a priority lately, and with the Beaufille spring collection featured on Vogue Runway, things are finally starting to click. Celebrity stylists have been calling. Lady Gaga was street papped in their ‘70s suede look. Selena Gomez rocks a Beaufille dress in her “Hands to Myself” video. And on Valentine’s Day, Cynthia Nixon wore a sexy, split-front nun look to the Berlin premiere of A Quiet Passion.

In a high-ceilinged room with sauna-like paneling straddling the High Line, models lingered in gray off-the-shoulder knits, neoprene pants with exaggerated bells, and a seemingly oxblood patent coat that was actually boiled wool coated in polyurethane. “It has a very vintage feeling that attracted us,” Chloe explains. “Every time you wear it, it changes colour and leaves a mark. I can’t wait to see what that jacket will look like in 10 years. The aging of pieces really intrigues me.”

Given her schooling in textile design, mysterious materials are a bit of a Beaufille thing. “Last season, we did a handmade fabric that every one of our retailers bought. We thought, ‘We need to do more of that.’ We take yarn and we throw it on water-soluble bags. We embroider it for 3 to 4 hours and put that into a bath of water. Then the bag disappears and we’re left with that manipulated fabric.” For fall, it surfaces in a cream tunic.

Spiral sterling silver jewelry grew out of a single piece that Parris made Chloe for her birthday. But there was no particular inspiration for the clothes. Locking into one, “felt too confined,” Parris says. “When we would do a theme we stuck too closely to it and weren’t as free. We wouldn’t do things intuitively. Now, we pick up where we left off last season. We trust our gut. We collaborate throughout the process. At the end, we’re like, ‘Okay, what does the collection look like?’ ”

They decided Fall 2016 looks like a ‘60s girl garage band, which would explain the soundtrack for the event. “There was a girl garage rock band movement after The Beatles exploded,” Parris says. “All these girls were underdogs. They were never signed and never made it big. It lends to our girl, us as a brand, and the idea of girl power.”

Those girl bands may not have gone anywhere. But we bet Beaufille will.