TALK TO ME: Calla Haynes

Story by Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.

It’s always inspiring for the Canadian fashion industry when one of our own branches out in search of monumental opportunities. So when Calla Haynes was nominated for ANDAM’s prestigious €220,000 prize (alongside homeboy Mark Fast), it was a sign that she had officially arrived. After paying her dues in Paris for five years—with Olivier Theyskens at Rochas, then Nina Ricci—the Toronto-born designer launched her own label, Calla by Calla Haynes, last year.

The Spring 2010 collection features ridiculously amazing textures (snakeskin anyone?) and a muted, streamlined colour palette which, at first glance, looks so stylized you wonder if you could ever pull it off, but it’s also so wearable that you vow to try. It’s all infused with as much Parisian joie de vivre as New York cool.

From Paris, Calla answered The Style Notebook’s Talk to Me questionnaire.

Do you have a favourite fashion memory?

“Going into the Chanel boutique on Bloor with my mom at age 12.  The director of the store was so nice—he gave me a press kit that I took home and scanned over night after night.”

Your wedding dress got a lot of attention, and there was talk that you designed it. What was the inspiration behind the dress?

“Actually, Olivier Theyskens made my wedding dress for my ceremony in Canada (I designed the jacquard linen and silk fabric), and Robert Normand made my civil ceremony dress.”

What’s the best project (aside from your own label) that you’ve worked on?

“One of the most rewarding projects I worked on was my first collaboration with Jeremy Laing. I had just left Nina Ricci and it was nice to get recognized right on for that work.  It’s led to many more collaborations with Jeremy, and I’m very happy about that.”

Which literary hero do you most identify with?

“Eeyore or Judy Blume’s Margaret.”

You went to Parsons in New York and now you’re based in Paris. Do you follow the fashion scene back home? Do you sing our praises around town?

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