Laidback silhouettes and punches of colour have made Ellie Mae Waters the latest darling of Canada’s outerwear scene. Her current collection includes exaggerated moto cuts re-imagined in fun hues, fuzzy menswear-inspired toppers and a black and white faux fur number with ‘Love her, but leave her wild’ printed on the lining. Inspired by music, personal experience and intuition, Waters takes a micro approach to creating a garment. “It’s the details that make a coat timeless. Maybe it’s the buttons, the spectacular lining or the amazing fit,” she says. “I believe that most things we keep in our closets for a long time remain there because of the little details.”
First Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was snapped wearing Sentaler, then the Duchess of Cambridge – let’s just say that luxury outerwear line has been on a roll lately. “I am especially thrilled that Kate Middleton chose the signature ribbed sleeves wrap coat from my collection,” says designer and creative director Bojana Sentaler. “She wore it with such grace and elegance and I couldn’t be happier.” The brand has enjoyed a steady rise since it’s 2009 debut thanks to an aesthetic that favours femininity, clean lines and a classically minded palette. The must-have neutral offerings (think: black, camel, navy) are buffered by seasonal shade updates that feel equally timeless, such as soft pink. Plus, these investment pieces are crafted from lush, hypo-allergenic Peruvian alpaca fibre that’s lightweight yet incredibly warm and sourced in an eco-friendly and cruelty-free manner.
As a natural extension to their blazer-focused brand Smythe, co-designers (and best friends) Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe launched an outerwear line for fall 2007. And year after year the stylish working-mom duo has delivered a range of lust-worthy designs that take the edge off winter weather. “Much of our inspiration is lifestyle driven – how to be chic in all scenarios: rainy, cold, city, country, dressy, casual” says Smythe. “I live in the Dark & Stormy. It’s practical, sporty and I love its pop of orange quilting.” Lenczner’s current crush is their Lab Coat in patchwork jacquard. “I love its Persian influence,” she says. That’s the Smythe secret to finding a coat you’ll want to wear for years: “Make sure you have a visceral reaction to the color, texture and silhouette before you invest. It should be true love.”
The maxi-length dusters and double-breasted fits reveal plenty of menswear influences in the SØSKEN collection – but the coats are tailormade for ladies from start to finish. “My inspiration is an ongoing work in my mind – it never rests,” says designer Marisa Minicucci, “Mainly it’s the women around me of all generations. Listening to their likes and dislikes and how they interpret fashion and social trends of the moment.” The Montreal-based designer has been working for over three decades and still says fabrics inspire her sophisticated creations. “I have this saying: ‘Make your coat part of your outfit’. A coat is the first thing people see, and sets the tone for your look,” she says. “What encapsulates my FW16 collection are the oversized pieces with a bit of a retro feel, which makes them easy to wear.” Minicucci says a noteworthy textile is the key to nailing winter style. “Look for a coat that has an interesting fabric that will make it stand out.”
Since debuting their Montreal-based label in 1999, Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy’s line has garnered a reputation as the cool girl take on the traditional down-filled parka. Sleek shapes and accents, like leather sleeves or trim, are hallmarks of a Mackage puffer. Pushing her creative strive season after season, designer Elisa Dahan says she loves the challenge of making fashionable and functional pieces. Not in the market for a puffer? No problem — there’s no shortage of non-puffy coats to j’adore, too. Dahan’s first choice is the striking-yet-versatile Babie, a camel wrap coat with oversize collar. “I love the below-the-knee length,” she says. “I can wear it day to day either for the office or to go out.”
John + Jenn
In every Canadian coat wardrobe, a little fun must be had: enter John + Jenn, a line dedicated to fashion-forward shapes, eye-popping patterns and exciting textures. “We have a deep understanding of how women want to dress as the seasons evolve,” says Toronto-based Jennifer Wells, who is co-founder and co-creative director of the brand with John Muscat. “We have so much fun because our customer isn’t afraid to take risks.” Exhibit A: a navy faux fur statement coat which is a breakout hit this season. Exhibit B: a reversible velvet bomber that Wells can’t get enough of. The pair is equally renowned for their knitwear label called Line, so they always take what you’ll be wearing underneath into consideration when designing a coat. “I love creating outerwear because it’s such a great partner for knits,” says Wells. “We like to think about the complete look, about how our customer can style their coat with their sweaters in a way that is uniquely their own. There are so many possibilities!”