When I discovered Tiffany Elton and her boutique, Quartier Mode, I also found some other Montréal designers that I really liked, including Atelier B. I decided to drop in on the charming young women behind this label at their studio/ boutique, and they told me more about their”eco- philosophy” for urbanites.
Anne-Marie Laflamme and Catherine Métivier met while they were in design school ten years ago and immediately became good friends and roommates. I can see why – they perfectly complement each other; Anne-Marie’s forte is communications while Catherine is immersed in all aspects of production. They shared a dream of creating clothing with sustainable materials and manufacturing everything locally, in Montréal. For seven years, their apartment was their studio – until they could barely open the door. Their dream came true sooner than possibly imagined when they received a great response to their project a few years ago. Now, they have an incredible space on boul. St- Laurent which has been a clothing manufacturer since the 1940’s, and their clothes are carried by many Montréal boutiques, including Petite Rebelle, Galerie Zone Orange, General 54, La Gaillarde, L’Appartement and obviously Quartier Mode, as well as a few in Ontario and B.C. With the studio in an open, loft-style spot, you may just catch them hard at work when you stop by to shop. The girls feel good karma there, where they hold their own clothing launches and often have les vernissages for other local artists – they are currently exhibiting photographer Maxyme G. Delisle’s work.
The Atelier B. aesthetic is minimalist yet classic, simple pieces which are interchangeable and can be worn casually or for work, layered or alone, depending upon the styling. They do a men’s line as well, which includes t-shirts, pants and shorts in some very bright, of-the-moment colors.
For women, they like to take silhouettes and patterns from the 1950’s and ‘60’s, modify and update them while incorporating their constantly evolving knowledge of new technologies. (I could easily see some of these pieces on the characters from Mad Men!)
One of my favorite pieces is a linen vest with a cowl neck, perfect for now and great over a turtleneck later. They design subtle, understated items for people who want comfort and la mode, and who support an eco-friendly urban lifestyle. Some of the materials they use are linen, organic cotton, and low-impact knits.
Of note: the cutest bubble skirts, elegant high-waisted skirts and I loved the pleat details in their dainty dresses. Anne-Marie and Catherine told me they try to design timeless garments, and that it can take a long while to find the perfect material for a piece, but they prefer to get things right rather than to produce quickly.
They consciously support other local designers and carry some great items. Some of these include: beautiful scarves by Noujica , very cool, intricate jewelry by Lucie Leroux, bags from C Comme Ça, cord jewelry by Nanoukiko & Triko, and even the cutest children’s outfits from Electrik Kidz.
These girls are extremely passionate about the entire process of making garments and truly care about preserving the details and techniques of their trade, as well as passing them down to future generations. They are very involved in their community and will participate in this year’s Festival of Design & Mode de Montréal.
Merci Anne-Marie! Merci Catherine!