Photography by Rebekah Reiko

From the diversity of Marie Saint Pierre’s spring/summer 2012 collection, it’s clear that the designer is able to walk the fine line between fashion and function. A parade of cotton, leather, silk and textured sheer fabrics prove the veteran Montreal designer’s classy appeal should not be mistaken for traditional. Displaying a relatively neutral palette, Saint Pierre’s signature splash of red, green and yellow adds a sense of adventure to the sophisticated studio show. FILLER caught up the designer backstage to discuss her inspiration, the new collection, and the challenges she faced in preparing to show in Toronto.

Your new collection seems to be made up of a variety of textures and construction. Where does the motivation behind this spectrum come from?

I am a woman so I juggle with all those sides of a woman where you actually need some structured pieces, you need some great pieces, you need some easy pieces, all still designed and still functional. It’s not easy to do, you can really become boring when you do the functional pieces so I like to juggle those ideas and bring something that is still designed and still very personal, but still has a good balance of design, intelligence and function.

So many interesting fabrics and detailing, too. How do you bring all of these elements together while maintaining such a strong level of sophistication and simplicity to the collection?

It becomes harder and harder to do a collection because you become more severe with yourself in a way. When you actually do put a detail or you add something to the clothes you really wonder, is that necessary? You have to ask yourself that question as a designer. And when the answer is yes, its because it makes you feel good, because its great, because it supports you. A lot of the details are there also in support of the dress. They make the dress hold and stay on your body. You really have to counterbalance your creativity in the fashion industry, in pieces that you want to sell in the end, and you want people to buy and spend money on.

Where does this inspiration come from?

The neaural is because at the end of the day people still need a neutral pallet and they need those pieces badly. I think in all wardrobes you need those basic skin tone, khaki, beige, and then you want to pop it with sometime new and interesting. Like the fabric layered with the yellow detail inside, just to give a little sun to your face. The colour details are there to create some graphics, not to just add colours. The reality in Canada is people are going to buy one green dress, and they are going to buy 5 black and 5 beige.

What was the biggest challenge in this studio show today, and what was the hardest thing you faced in terms of deciding what pieces to show?

That was the biggest challenge. We have two collections, and to find my samples which are all over the place in the states, Calgary. And to do an informal presentation it is not like a fashion show. In a fashion show, I think there are a lot of things that can go. You are further away, you can tweak things. I didn’t want to put any accessories, anything. It was just purely the clothes. Just the hats to make sure the hair isn’t in the way and give a hint of colour in certain occasions. So, no details, jewellery, scarf, I think I gave myself a very difficult task. It’s bare bare bare, so what do you show?

That single decision seems to have influenced your overall presentation, has it not?

If you decide to do a presentation like this you want to show clothes, but you also want to show the more arterial pieces and the fundamentals of your collection. You want to show everything and trying to mix that all together is not easy.