As we prepare to wear our velvet blazers and plaid skirts for fall, I had an opportunity to see the colours and designs of the Spring & Summer Toronto Women’s Fashion Week. There was a great opportunity to meet and greet some the designers from Quebec as part of the Cabinet Éphémère showcase.
One of my favourite lines for colour and creative design was Wallo, art on silk by Marie-Andrée Wallot. Her collection was full of bold colour pairings with artistic favour for imagery. So when the girls at Designer Swap offered me the chance to interview Marie-Andrée, I could not turn down the chance to question and talk about her artistic flair and vision.
Marie-Andrée started fashion designing three years ago. With a past in visual arts for the stage and interior design, this mother of two rediscovered her passion again when she decided to make dresses with her own imaginary. It was with encouragement from her husband of 30 years that she started fashion designing, and that’s how Wallo became her brand. Silk is the main fabric for the Wallo brand, as it reinforces the brand’s feel of empowerment, relaxation and luxury.
CTC: Who is your collection for?
MAW: Everybody, actually. Women know how to express themselves, feel good, and want to dress for empowerment. I remember when I was eighteen and I would question myself as I didn’t want to dress and be on the spot but I wanted to dress to feel good. Now as a mother of two boys and being fifty-one, dresses to feel good. I dress for myself.
CTC: Why did you get into fashion design?
MAW: I wanted to make fashion for the women I love; like a dress for my sister, mother, and mother-in-law. My husband encouraged me to start making dresses for fashion. I wanted to do something with my artistic skills that had movement. My past work in interior design had no movement, and I feel that seeing my image on my dresses, it gives it movement. My clothing is my visual and only mine. I don’t compete with other designers and their textiles, as it’s my own design. My dresses are my canvas.
CTC: What is your favourite fashion magazine?
MAW: (laughing) To tell you the truth, my favourite magazines are interior design magazines. I actually had too many and had to give some way. Jean-Pierre told me to stop buying them. I like looking at them for the colour palletes and I try to mix those colours in my clothing and the accent colours for my visual artwork on my clothing.
CTC: How did it feel to showcase your collection in Toronto?
MAW: It felt gorgeous. My team was incredible. Toronto is so big and it has so many people from different parts of the world. I had so much fun. It was a powerful weekend
CTC: What fashion item is missing from your own closet?
MAW: Everything. There is a Quebec saying: “the shoe repair guy who does not have good shoes”. That’s me. I feel like I have ordinary clothing but I want to wear my clothing designs. I will start focusing on wearing my clothing line more.
CTC: How do you feel about doing men’s fashion?
MAW: I started to design men’s lounge clothing after there was a request from men. Males like wearing my colours schemes of blue, green and purple. Men were really drawn to my first Kimono in the retail venues and would try them on.
CTC: What did you tell your models before they walked the runway?
MAW: Do what you want to feel confident.
CTC: What would you like to tell people who buy your collection?
MAW: Feel good inside. Stop questioning your self about being beautiful. Beautiful is fifty-fifty. Fifty percent head and heart, fifty percent the way you feel on the outside. Women should be inspired by men. Men don’t question themselves as women do. Self-esteem starts early so we should start building it up at a young age.
My interview with Marie-Andrée Wallot was about fashion, but there is more to this designer. I learned that you could live your dream at any age. I agree with her motto: “to dress for you and stop questioning yourself”. I learned that colour is a good expressive outlet and lastly, feeling good in your clothes will help you feel good about yourself.
Thank you to the Pham sisters for this opportunity again. A big thanks to you, Marie-Andrée for the interview.
What do you wear to feel good about yourself? What is your favourite colour and why? How do you feel about silk?
Designer Swap is Canada’s online luxury consignment shop and Toronto-based fashion blog. Find gently-used and pre-loved authentic designer pieces to purchase and read about the newest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle trends. Make sure to check us out on Instagram and Facebook!
Images courtesy Marie-Andrée Wallot and Che Rosales