As part of my initiative to showcase the diversity of local brands, I invite you to discover Eve Gravel’s designs, “clothing that will accompany you throughout the day… for years to come”.
—An interview by Andrew McNally
Eve Gravel by Ève Gravel, Founder and Designer.
What is the story behind your brand and how would you describe it? The brand was launched in 2002, I was 22 years old. It is truly a women’s clothing brand that is contemporary, versatile, colorful and sustainable. I imagine minimalist silhouettes with thoughtful details. It was more my desire to express myself that pushed me to create my brand, even though it has always been a dream to launch a brand with my name. I have to say that it has evolved a lot from the beginning to today. When I create, it’s always with the goal of wearing my clothes for a long time; that’s why they have a timeless aspect. I like the fact that right now I’m wearing clothes from at least four seasons ago. They are cut from linen, a material that lasts over time. My clothes have interesting cuts that will still be beautiful in two, three or four years. My approach is different from “fast fashion” where you look for the trend of the moment and then you move on to something else; I want my clothes to last over time. And, I appreciate when my clients tell me that they still have pieces from previous collections and how they have stood the test of time and continue to wear them. That’s something I’ve anchored even more in the brand: a timeless side and durable materials.
What is your creative process? My creative process starts with the choice of the raw material, thus the fabrics and the color palette. When these outlines are in place, I start drawing. I develop my colors while drawing. After that, it’s the funnel effect, where I eliminate stuff and develop more prints. I should point out that most of my prints are developed with artists from Montreal. I find it fun to do collaborations, it’s the mix of two people/artists and I meet the universe of the other by developing something in the spirit of the collection I am creating.
What has inspired your latest collection? I don’t start my collections with an inspiration like a country or a culture. It’s really more a process by which I respond to a desire; I wanted something colorful, with bright colors, but also soft pastels and faded effects. My starting point was these two worlds. I developed the prints with Catherine D’Amours; at the beginning we worked on small patterns and then we magnified them at x400 and it resulted in something quite interesting. It’s funny because in the print, the pattern doesn’t always fall in the same place because it’s a big print. There were rainbows in the design, I think it’s kind of funny to find rainbows in the print of my last collection when it’s the logo of the moment #itsgoingtobeokay; so if you wear the Victoire dress, it’s going to be fine!
For my current collection, I feel like I felt something because the collection is soft chic. There are a lot of pieces that can be worn at home like a jogging pants, but more chic than a jogging pants; so a lot of pants with elastic waistbands in super soft linen and viscose mix, with which you can go to the restaurant, the park, at work, because it’s super comfortable and casual.
What are your influences? I’m a little too wrapped up in COVID. I’m designing next summer’s collection (2021) and it’s a little hard to create without knowing where I’m going. Will we want “soft” or structured? I want my clothes to be worn every day. My influence is not an influence as such, it is the clothing that leads the way. It’s an item that should accompany a woman everywhere, whether it’s to work, to go out or to dinner. It must become a must-have.
What is your signature piece? I would say that for the past few seasons it’s been the jumpsuit, although I know that many customers know us for our dresses. Strangely, I’m a pants girl, maybe I found my happiness in jumpsuits. We have been offering them for several seasons and since the demand is increasing, we offer different models. Now, we offer four or five options: Fauve, On the Docks, Aquarium, Au salon, Saint-Germain, Félix, etc.
Who is the Ève Gravel woman? She is not a muse as such, I think of many clients when I design a collection. She is a woman who likes to be well dressed, who has an eye for detail, who likes natural and sustainable materials; she is an active woman, who works, who has projects, who has children, who travels. In fact, we have noticed from the analysis of our clientele in our boutiques, that she is often a young mother who works and still enjoys a 5 à 7. When she gets dressed, she wants the clothes she wears to be perfect for going shopping, picking up the kids from daycare, playing at the park and going out with her friends. A versatile garment for a complete and busy woman.
What is your fondest fashion memory? I’ve got plenty! I’m thinking, among other things, of the Montreal Fashion Week shows; it’s the excitement of presenting your collection, the work and enthusiasm behind it. The pride of seeing the first items arrive in stores.
There’s also the teamwork, these are moments that I enjoy every day, going into my white atelier, seeing my team and working on a new collection and new projects.
The pride of seeing people wearing your clothes on the street. It always makes me smile to see someone with one of my pieces, especially when the outfit is perfectly styled. I also think it’s great to see young women wearing my pieces because a lot of my clientele has aged with me. According to our store employees, many young women between the ages of 20 and 24 love the brand. I think it’s great to reach this new generation. The contrast of the same piece worn by a young adult and a woman is so different and fantastic.
How are you coping with COVID? It’s a good thing we had our online store and that we were well organized for online business. What’s more, we were in the middle of delivering the summer collection, at least we had managed to send a good part of our orders to the shops that sell our products. Since our boutiques were closed, it was not easy, but all of them have been slowly reopening for the past few weeks. Several stores are reordering pieces and some customers are buying garments that they didn’t have access to during the confinement. Our customers in the United States are having a harder time, many stores are still closed because of the higher number of cases.
We had a great year in 2019 and we thought 2020 would be better, but hey, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining;)
On a different note… what’s the book on your bedside table? “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. I had the chance to see Barack Obama when he came to Montreal and he said that he was under pressure to write a book because his wife was going to publish one. I will finish it soon and I find it very inspiring.
The song you listen to over and over again? I don’t listen to a song over and over again, but I’ve started listening to a lot of Hubert Lenoir’s music.
Which television series are you binge-watching? I don’t have time to watch a lot of shows, but right now I’m watching “The Last Dance”. That’s what I needed, a “soft” series after watching “Kalifat”, which was very intense.
What is your favourite recipe of the moment? Lobster rolls. I bought a lot of lobster, I prepared it and froze it and whenever I feel like it, I make some; besides, my kids love them, especially when we eat them outside.
And which movie inspires you? “Lion” directed by Garth Davis. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen my father cry while watching a movie. It was intense, like “Incendies” directed by Denis Villeneuve.
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