Isabelle Elie’s designs are always very colourful. Her clientele is made up of professional women and one of her specialties is the suit skirt, to which she brings a modern and feminine touch. Isabelle finds inspiration all around her, in movies, at art exhibitions and on the street, and sometimes even in literature.
When asked what role perfume plays in relation to fashion, and whether one can exist without the other, she says that it is really a matter of opinion; what is most important is that the perfume suit the person wearing it, since a perfume that doesn’t suit the wearer is like a dress that doesn’t fit.
Finally, we asked Isabelle to talk about the books that have made an impression on her. Reading is an important part of her life; she reads each and every evening. And she has always read to her children. Among her favourite titles are books by Roald Dahl, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mathilda, fiction for children that is so well written that it can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Last April 24, some of Montreal’s most socially engaged women appeared onstage at Blue Met’s Perfume Stories, a sensuous olfactory experience that combined custom-made perfumes from Essence Workshop with readings from works by authors such as Marc Lévy, Süskind and Balzac. This event was also a treat for the eyes, as the models were dressed by the Quebec designer Isabelle Elie. We recently took a few minutes to sit down with Isabelle at her Laurier Avenue boutique to find out more about the woman behind this beautiful clothing.
Isabelle Élie developed a passion for fashion at very early age. As a teenager, she was already making her own clothes, and even made graduation dresses for a number of her friends. After high school, she attended Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf where she studied the visual arts, followed by further studies at Cotnoir Capponi Haute Couture, where she perfected her skills in sewing and design. After her studies, Isabelle worked as a stylist for the fashion magazines Clin d’œil and Châtelaine.
Then, after a brief period at the Ontario College of Art, she left the field of publishing for cinema and television where she worked as a costume designer on a number of sets. Following the birth of her third child, she decided to take a little time off at home and began designing clothing for her friends. Word quickly spread, her clothing became increasingly popular and soon she had to find a space for her workshop and, eventually, a boutique.