Fashion Q&A: Keshia Chanté

The Canadian chanteuse talks about her love of homegrown fashion, charitable thinking and false eyelashes

Fashion Q&A: Keshia Chanté

Photo by George Pimentel

Keshia Chanté is a singer and an unabashed fashion lover. On the first front, is her upcoming record, Night & Day, a double album that’s half personal songs, half dance tracks. The video for the Juno-nominated first single, “Table Dancer,” released in October, sports a pink feathered Brose dress, which brings us to the second point. Chanté is a regular front row fixture at Toronto Fashion Week, a wholehearted supporter of Canadian designers and a big fan of all things Christian Louboutin. This Thursday—Chanté’s 23rd birthday—she’ll be performing at the opening of the new Guess flagship on Queen Street in Toronto in support of her favourite charity, CANFAR. We caught up with Chanté to talk favourite designers, charitable initiatives and how she lost her first Chanel bag.

When did you first get exposed to fashion? What started your interest?

“My mom would quite often dress up in ’70s glamour. So she would dress up with her best friend, my godmother, and they used to have big hair and makeup, and they just reminded me of Versace, like, yacht club. Her whole look was sheers.”

And you really are a big supporter of Canadian fashion.
“I’m a Canadian artist and people are looking at what I’m wearing. What better than to wear my Canadian designers and Canadian pieces. I love Pink Tartan, I love Evan Biddell, obviously Greta Constantine,  and Basch [by Brandon].”

What was your first major fashion purchase?

“It was a Chanel bag. It was the first time I ever bought anything like that, and once I did I was addicted. It was quilted and quite big. I actually lost it.”

How did you lose it?
“I put it in my luggage. Who does that? But I did. For whatever reason I was in a rush and I threw it in my luggage. And all of the bags at the top of my luggage: Gone.”

Do you have any especially treasured pieces?

“I have a tennis bracelet from Birks and it’s one of my favourite things in the whole world. It definitely has a special meaning in terms of my love life; I absolutely love it. Other little pieces are the little shirts and dresses my grandfather sent to me from Portugal. He sends me clothes, and they’re so amazingly tailored.”

Do you work with a stylist?
“Well, I usually don’t. I’ve worked with a lot of amazing stylists before, but I find it’s way better just going in my closet and putting the look together. And I’d rather interact with the designers directly. They send me stuff and I’ll just go through it. It’s fun like that.”

What about beauty? Do you love makeup?

“I’m really obsessed. If I have an hour in my day, I definitely go and sit with my makeup artist and just say, ‘play.’ So I love M.A.C, of course, Stila. And I love false lashes, they’re so much fun just to play with.”

Have you ever tried some of the crazy Shu Uemura false eyelashes?
“Yeah! They’re, like, outrageous. I was thinking, if I do a video in  the winter time, I would love to do some crazy lashes that are kind of  reminiscent of snow.”

I read in your bio that you want to start your own clothing line. Can you tell me about that?

Well, I find I usually have a tough time with clothes just because of  my size. I’m kind of little. I just really love fashion. And I respect  it so much. So I wouldn’t do something where I’m the designer—I’d like to collaborate with a Canadian designer, and put together a collection  of pieces that I’ve kind of put my stamp on. It’s not in the works as  of yet, but I’m definitely talking about it.

Do you have any summer plans? Do you actually take time off?

Summer plans? Well, I just bought a new house so I’m really excited about that. I’m buying furniture, and that kind of stuff. And I just got back from Kenya with CANFAR. And I really want to go to Paris and London this summer, and obviously  promote my album and tour.

See all of Keshia Chanté’s front row looks from Toronto Fashion Week Spring 2011 here.
Read up on more great Canadian talent at FLARE.com/WearCanada