Sophie Gregoire Trudeau showcases all-Canadian wardrobe in D.C.
Published Friday, March 11, 2016 8:49AM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 11, 2016 12:43PM EST
Heading into this week's official visit to Washington, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau had said she wanted to show off Canada's design talent and she wanted to make a statement.
As the whirlwind, three-day visit comes to a close, it seems as if she's accomplished both of those goals.
Gregoire Trudeau has showcased an all-Canadian wardrobe from head-to-toe since touching down at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Wednesday. Her fashion choices have featured bold colours, patterns and a mix of high-end and accessible pieces.
"We've seen quite a bit of colour, that's very important to Sophie," stylist Jessica Mulroney told CTV's Canada AM on Friday.
"She's young, she's vibrant, she's bold and she wanted to make a statement. She didn't just want to put on a black suit and play second fiddle," Mulroney added. "She really wanted to be noticed, and I think she achieved that."
Mulroney has referred to herself as Gregoire Trudeau's "fashion strategist," as the two work together to bring Canadian fashion to the international stage.
In her most high-profile public appearance since Justin Trudeau became Canada's prime minister, Gregoire Trudeau opted for an embroidered, cap-sleeved purple gown for the White House state dinner designed by Toronto-based Lucian Matis.
Mulroney said the dress selection process was seamless.
"Like any woman, you see a dress and you gravitate towards it," she said. "And that's what happened with Sophie and this dress. She saw it, she loved it, it fit perfectly and really that was the process."
Fashion expert Jeanne Beker has been covering the Canadian fashion scene since the mid '80s, and noted "there's never been anything like this.
"The entire Canadian fashion industry is buzzing, and we're all absolutely thrilled by this show of support," Beker told CTV News Channel on Friday.
Beker said the Trudeaus seem to understand the “importance of imagery” in the age of social media.
"Yes, it's superficial eye candy to some people," she said. "But to others, it's a real show of support for our talent here."
Meanwhile, Matis said he had "goosebumps" as he watched Gregoire-Trudeau wearing his design at Thursday’s state dinner.
"I thought she looked wonderful. I thought she looked very elegant. And it's exactly what we were going for," he told the Canadian Press. "We were going for something timeless that's not too trendy, that's not too fashion-forward."
Dressing Sophie a 'fabulous opportunity'
Because of the bold colour choice, Gregoire Trudeau's accessories were custom made by other Canadian designers -- including a handbag by Ela, Zvelle shoes, John de Jong earrings and a Dean Davidson ring.
Zvelle founder Elle AyoubZadeh said she’s been working on Gregoire Trudeau's custom shoes for the past few weeks and described the process as a "fabulous opportunity."
"It was wonderful when you're working with someone who's a true professional and knows what she wants," AyoubZadeh told CTV News Channel on Friday. "It's very easy."
AyoubZadeh said she personally flew the fabric to her Brazilian factory where she oversaw the production of the shoes for "the most powerful woman in Canada."
She added that she's already noticed the "Madame Sophie effect," with traffic to the year-old online shoe company increasing since Gregoire Trudeau stepped out in the shoes.
John de Jong said he was honoured to have designed Gregoire Trudeau's made-in-Toronto earrings for Thursday's state dinner.
"The one-of-a-kind cabochon moonstone and topaz earrings in 18-carat yellow gold are a subtle and elegant pairing of iridescent stones with bright and colourful highlights, complementing Madame Gregoire Trudeau's dress," he said in a statement released Friday morning.
Matis was also behind Gregoire Trudeau's look earlier in the day, when she wore a red dress with fuchsia floral silk appliques to meet U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.
While the Romanian-born designer said he was aware of Gregoire Trudeau's evening look, he was completely shocked by her daytime attire.
"I was in a meeting when I started receiving all these photos from a lot of friends and fans. And then I saw social media, my name was coming up a lot," Matis told CTV News Channel on Thursday.
He said he's received "tremendous" feedback from the public.
"What an honour for a designer," Matis said. "It's pretty much like you've arrived."
Mulroney noted that along with high-end fashion picks, Gregoire Trudeau did add some "accessible fashion" into the mix.
She paired a custom-made suit by Montreal fashion label DUY with a pair of $100 shoes from Aldo. She also paired the red Matis dress with a $50 Aldo handbag.
During a reception hosted by Canadian think tank Canada 2020 on Wednesday night, Gregoire Trudeau wore a floral jacket by Toronto womenswear brand Ellie Mae on top of an ivory-coloured dress by Canadian designers Judith & Charles, which Mulroney said were available at “reasonable price tags.”
Mulroney noted that some Canadian fashion designers are already starting to feel the effect of Gregoire Trudeau's exposure.
"A few of the bags and shoes, and some of the jackets have been getting quite a lot of attention online and in stores," she said.
Beker added that the support comes at a time when a number of Canadian designers working in the country are struggling.
"It will be wonderful if a name like Lucian Matis, or some of the other designers that Mrs. Trudeau is choosing to wear, if they actually can become household names and if we Canadians can start looking for those labels."