A clothing company from Montreal has been making waves in the fashion industry with its signature easy-to-wear pants that have graced the cover of Oprah Winfrey's "O" magazine three times.
Lisette L's slimming pants have developed a cult following among clients, including celebrities Kathie Lee Gifford and Winfrey herself.
Started by a Montreal family, the company's selection of pants are now sold in boutiques across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia.
Company founder Lisette Limoges said she and her husband, Neil Small, were already working in the fashion industry, representing other designers, when they noticed customers kept asking for one item in particular: pants that could fit all women.
So together, the couple started to research different patterns and fabrics to try and create a universally flattering pair of pants.
"We tested the pants with two stores, and it started to do well," Limoges told CTV's Canada AM. "So we started in Canada… and my husband saw it growing bigger."
Her husband and son took samples of the pants to the U.S. and went from store to store to try and get boutique owners to carry their line.
Endorsements sparked spike in interest
Then, in 2011, U.S. TV host Kathie Lee Gifford bought a pair of the pants in Florida and spoke about them on the "Today Show." Immediately after Gifford's endorsement, the company's phones started ringing off the hook and its website crashed, Limoges said.
Another high-profile endorsement came in 2013, after Limoges met with the fashion team at "O" magazine. Although the meeting went well, she said she was still surprised to receive an email from the team asking for samples of the pants to be sent to Winfrey.
Winfrey eventually wore a pair of the company's pants on the cover of her magazine three different times, and featured the pants on her "O list" – a list of Winfrey’s favourite things.
The couple even got the opportunity to meet with the media magnate during a private luncheon in Beverly Hills. They said they were blown away by her down-to-earth personality.
The key to the Lisette L’s success is that its pants are designed to fit women of all shapes and sizes, as well as all ages, Limoges said. The pants come in a variety of lengths and styles, and some designs have no zippers or buttons.
"We started more for the baby boomers, and then it expanded," Limoges said. "Even my daughter, who is 33 years old and wears a size zero said she wants some."
In addition to "O," Lisette L has also been featured in "Good Housekeeping," "Harper's Bazaar" and "Lucky." The company has expanded its line to now include skirts and shirts.