Calgary-born design talent Paul Hardy first entered the industry in 2002, with a debut show at Toronto Fashion Week. Fifteen years later, the humble, soft-spoken and meticulous Hardy recently presented his latest collection at FashionCAN at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The seasoned Canadian designer, who has also showed in New York and Los Angeles, creates structural yet fluid frocks, printed scarves and knitwear. Hardy’s shearling designs are said to be made from responsibly harvested lambskins, which hail from Spain and New Zealand.
Back at home in Canada, we spoke to Hardy at the FashionCAN Pop-Up Show. Read on to learn more about his thoughts on the leading Spring 2017 trends, his passion for layered materials and the iconic designers who have helped to inspire his craft.
Real Style: Do you have any key trends in mind for Spring 2017?
Paul: There’s a lot of sporty sort of detail and a lot of colourblocking. Certainly strong, traditionally athletic colours, like vermilion orange and lemon yellow, but mixing it with darker hues. We think navy is really big for spring. We’ve been carrying it over from our fall collection. Every season that we do tends to refer back to the one before.
Real Style: Tell us more about your favourite fabrics to work with.
Paul: We primarily work with layering of textures. We often use eveningwear for daytime, and daytime fabrics for eveningwear. One of my favourite ones is one that we developed is silk georgette, and then we’ve hand sewn the sequins to look like fish scales. These are then all smoked with a candle, so that gives it this blackened texture.
Real Style: Who are your biggest creative inspirations in fashion?
Paul: I think one of my favourite designers is Alber Elbaz, formerly of Lanvin. We seem to have a similar philosophy in a way. I really enjoy seeing what Vera Wang is doing. She plays with silhouettes, and I find that really compelling.
Real Style: In your opinion, what is the meaning of great style?
Paul: It’s important to wear clothes that are a reflection of your personality, rather than certain trends of the season, because certain trends don’t necessarily work for everyone. You really want an outfit to enhance your own aesthetic and personality. Sometimes that isn’t following fashion, but creating your own. I think the people who have the strongest personal point of view, rather than trying to mimic something, are really people who have a definitive sensibility of what good style is.
Photos: Amanda Skrabucha