Q&A: The Smythe duo on staring at the ceiling, the perks of being a pair and having Madonna wear your clothes

Madge's pick

Smythe, makers of fine Canadian coats and blazers, has a new celebrity to add to their already impressive clientele (Jeanne Beker, Kate Hudson and nearly the entire cast of Gossip Girl). Madonna, the woman who needs no introduction, recently ordered a lace blouse (pictured, $250, at Holt Renfrew and TNT starting in September, smythelesvestes.com) from their fall collection. Add that and a feature in the July Vogue and you’ve got yourself one big week. We caught up with designers Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe, on Madonna as a client, their fall collection and the perks of being part of a duo.

If you were creating a look for Madonna around that blouse, what would you pair it with? “Let’s leave that up to Madge. We don’t like to prescribe entire looks, that’s why we chose to design a category. Its much more interesting when women have their own interpretation.”

Other than Madonna, who is the Smythe woman?
“Any and every woman who likes it. We enjoy a diverse and broad customer base.”

Do you have any items from your collection that are in heavy rotation in your own wardrobe?

AL: “I wore my summer surplus jacket and my nubuck moto vest until it got too hot! Now I’m in my breezy dolman sleeve a lot.”

CS: “[I’m] living in my Toga Top (blue gingham) with my black or blue sharp shouldered blazer over top.”

What are the perks and disadvantages to working as a duo? “It’s all perks for us. Our design chemistry is amazing. We are able to inspire and challenge each other season after season.  Its also nice to have someone to share the wins with, and of course, it’s a tough industry so it’s good to have someone to lean on.”

Favourite film for fashion inspiration?
“For color inspiration, we love Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette; for menswear inspiration Annie Hall and A Single Man; for bohemian inspiration Almost Famous. There are so many more.”

What do you do when you’re not designing? “Stare at the ceiling. Seriously, its either work or family time for both of us. Occasionally, for fun, we try to redesign each others homes.”

What can we expect from your fall line? What was on your fall mood board? “The mood board was very moody. Camel, black, blue, garnet and some grey. Kind of like a bruise. There is a lot of shoulder interest and still some military influence. As always, great metal hardware and leather details are combined with textured fabrics–heavy on the tweeds, donegals and alpaca.”

What is your personal favourite piece from the fall collection?
AL: “I’m excited to wear my new Box-pleat Blazer in “Salt & Pepper.” It’s got good attitude.”
CS: “The black Military Coat with the shoulder flange. It’s polished but tough.”

Click the images below to see some of our picks from Smythe’s fall collection.

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