Saturday, November 15, 2014

Walter's Son FW 15 Launch at Litchfield

Event Images by Luis Valdizon of When They Find Us.
I've missed so many events while trying to get my book through the writing/editing/proofing phase, but absolutely could not stay away when Ashleigh Said of Heavy Metal PR let me know there was a new menswear designer here in Vancouver showing his F/W 15 collection. I love menswear and continue to hope that more talented designers will enter this market and take it to new levels.

The location on Thursday was Litchfield at 38 Water Street. I had never been  to this Gastown gem before. Despite the reconfiguration to accommodate the large crowd and amazing spread of food, I was charmed from the moment I walked in. 

Ashleigh greeted me at the door with a smile decked out in a very cool dress embellished with safety pins created for her by the uber talented Evan Biddell. Then she offered me a lovely glass of sparkling wine and took me to meet first the store owner Jonathon Litchfield, and then Walter's Son designer Kyle Parent. I also enjoyed meeting Parent's business partner - Vivian Kan - as I was leaving and look forward to connecting with her in the near future.

Left and centre - Ashleigh's fab Evan Biddell dress, 
Right - Alexandra Kramer and Ashley Saskiw or East West Beauty Collective

Litchfield was a pleasure to listen to as he enthusiastically shared his concept and showed me a few of the truly interesting items available such as a Miso soup bowl.  I love this quote from the store's website as I think it explains the intriguing and eclectic nature of the treasures you will find here:

Litchfield is more than a collection of things. The shop reflects 
founder Jonathon Litchfield’s family aesthetic for living. Life is a series
of simple moments and those moments are made beautiful by the tools 
we use to live. Litchfield’s revolving collection features pieces built 
with quality and craftsmanship. We want to share our family philosophy 
of how we live with you. Visiting our store is like stepping into our home



As with any designer launching a collection, Parent was surrounded by a large group of supporters, family and friends, all there to celebrate this moment.  Still, he found time to talk with me a bit about his line.  Having just had a glance at the collection's excellent construction, it was no surprise to later find out the designer's journey began when he apprenticed with a tailor to learn how to make clothes for himself.  It was the positive feedback and encouragement received for his understated but innovative designs that led to launching Walter's Son. The name?  A tribute to two important men in his life - his father and grandfather.

I believe this collection is the opening note to a brand that will become much larger as it establishes a solid client base. What a smart move to start with a tight, focused selection of quality dress shirts as a great shirt is the perfect building block for any menswear look. I think many designers start out trying to offer too many pieces and applaud his wise decision to build slowly. This collection offers simple elegance through clean lines, classic tailoring, subtle detailing and quality fabric - always a winning combination.

Inspiration came from the broad monochromatic gestures of woodcuts - reconciling clean, tailored lines with a straight, relaxed cut. The designer sourced high quality Japanese cottons as a foundation and about half of the shirts were wholly in this fabric. These were alternated with style featuring collars crafted from a uniquely soft Quebec leather. Both styles were classic and clean, but the leather detail really up'd the luxury feel for me. The palette that evening showcased white, navy and black. One shirt was colour blocked. In viewing the look book, I saw a wider range of colour blocking and one shirt in a subtle print as well.  

There are no words like the designer's own - so here is a quote from his press kit - 

“I love black and white, because of the strong sense of contrast and 
duality. Playing with that simple opposition allows me to create simple, 
bold, highly structured effects. The WALTER’S SON man is discerning and 
willing to be bold, but never flashy or in-your-face. He’s looking for quality 
and detailing that subtly draw you in, These are garments thatare designed 
to feel aspirational and effortless at the same time.”

Special thanks this evening go to Jonathon Litchfield for allowing all of us into his beautiful store to enjoy this launch, Scandal Brewing for providing the drinks,  La Mezcaleria for the amazing food (I especially loved the chips and guacamole), Make-up sponsors Alexandra Kramer and Ashley Saskiw of East West Beauty Collective and London Alexander for providing his fabulous The Daily Planet chino pants to pair with the designer's collection.

Intrigued?  Check out the website at www,walters-son.com. For more information, please email business manager Vivian Kan at walter@walters-son.com or phone 778.872.0448. 

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