FASHION PROFILE

Up close with the design duo behind Canadian fashion label Greta Constantine


FASHION PROFILE
Up close with the design duo behind Canadian fashion label Greta Constantine

Kirk Pickersgill with Stephen Wong

 
Kirk Pickersgill with Stephen Wong
Kirk Pickersgill with Stephen Wong
Photo by Gabor Jurina

The dynamic duo behind Canadian fashion label Greta Constantine gives us their perspective on design, and how working from opposite sides of the ocean creates magic on the runways.

READ THE INTERVIEW

 

HISTORY
When and where did you two meet?
STEPHEN: We’ve known each other for ages. We used to live in the same building on Toronto’s Queen Street West, and very quickly became great friends.

What does the actual name Greta Constantine stand for?
STEPHEN: When we started the company, Kirk and I had a difficult time agreeing on a name. We each chose a name that was dear to us and we then arranged them in that order. Greta is my mother’s name, and Constantine is Kirks grandfather’s name.

ABOUT THE LABEL
If you imagine the Greta Constantine woman, where does she live, where does she work, what does she do for kicks?
STEPHEN: Greta may have a base that she calls home, but she loves to travel and immerse herself into different cultures and be in places she can see with new eyes. She has a job that she loves, and enjoys spending time with the people in her life that are close to her. Best of all, she knows how to enjoy life!

Who or what inspired the Fall/Winter 08 collection?
STEPHEN: The fall ‘08 collection started with the idea of a prehistoric woman. What we were able to draw from that was the idea that clothes and accessories can be so simple and effortless and still have a dynamic polished result.

What are your favourites from your fall 2008 collection?
STEPHEN: My personal favourites are the opening and closing of the show. Opening of the show was a black neoprene cape with standup collar. Closing the show was a white one-shouldered dress with an attached sleeve—one side of the dress was close to the body and the other was loose and draped.

You guys live on opposite coasts, so the internet is an important tool for communicating your ideas—have you ever had an online conversation and the other person gets up to grab a coffee and forgets about the other person?
STEPHEN: When we have our online meetings we’re usually very focused on the task at hand.

Where would you like to take the label?
STEPHEN: We sometimes talk about the possibility of menswear, and the more distant hope is to have a free standing shop.

ABOUT STEPHEN
Where did you grow up and where did you go to school?
STEPHEN: I have no formal training. Everything I know has been picked up from practical experience or figuring it out on my own.

What are the 3 things that sum up your style?
STEPHEN: Effortless, dramatic and modern

Are there any particular designer duos that you admire?
STEPHEN: Love Victor & Rolf, and Proenza Schouler

What labels are in your closet?
STEPHEN: I have many things of my own design mixed in with YSL, Ann Demeulemeester, Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, Diesel, Replay, H&M.

You were a contestant on Project Runway Canada. Tell us about your experience.
STEPHEN: Honestly, my reason for doing the show was to get a chance of winning the $100,000! That kind of money could certainly advance the company, and build the brand.

If you’re unsure about a particular design or look, whose opinion do you trust?
STEPHEN: Kirk’s

ABOUT KIRK
How would you describe Kirk?
STEPHEN: Organized, with a complete and thorough vision.

How is it working with Kirk?
STEPHEN: Kirk has a whole different set of skills than I have, but we both share the same vision and outlook. Our individual sets of skills compliment each other well.

READ THE INTERVIEW WITH KIRK

 
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HISTORY</
When and where did you two meet?
KIRK: We met about 23 years ago. We lived in the same apartment building on Queen Street, right beside the Cameron House on top of Jacob’s Hardware.

ABOUT THE LABEL</
Who is Greta Constantine?
KIRK: Greta Constantine is a vision, a concept, a lifestyle.

If you imagine the Greta Constantine woman, where does she live, where does she work, what does she do for kicks?
KIRK: I like to think of the Greta Constantine woman as a woman of the world. She adapts to all situations in every country—when she’s in France, she’s sipping a Café au Lait at the Ritz, in Italy a Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice, a Cosmopolitan in New York at Bungalow 8, in Morocco a mint tea in Marrakech, when in London a pint at the nearest pub. And in Canada, coffee from Tim Horton’s… She enjoys her own company, her lover would be her best friend, her friends would never be neglected, and her clothes are representation of who she is.

Since there is a time difference between where you work, what time do you two communicate usually? Has anyone become a morning person or a night owl?
KIRK: 9 am Italian time; 3 am in Toronto. We call ourselves ‘Lady Hawk” like the film, when one is sleeping the other is awake.

What’s your favourite piece from your fall 2008 collection?
KIRK: The jumpsuit (Coco Brown). It’s like a men’s suit. It can take you from morning to night.

Where would you like to take the label?
KIRK: It would be nice to have it all like the other International design houses. A menswear line, accessories, lifestyle, fragrance, the works!

ABOUT KIRK</
Where did you grow up and where did you go to school?
KIRK: Etobicoke—I’m self taught, I never went to fashion school.

Who have you trained under?
KIRK: I have been blessed to work with Comrags, Dsquared2 and Neil Barrett.

What are the 3 things that sum up your style?
KIRK: Effortless, timeless and true.

What are your favourite websites?
www.gretaconstantine.com
www.thefashionspot.com
www.dlisted.com
www.style.com
www.facebook.com

What labels are in your closet?
KIRK: Neil Barrett, Dsquared2, Yves Saint Laurent, Martin Margiela, Joe, Zara, H&M, Burberry, Ralph Lauren…

If you’re unsure about a particular design or look, whose opinion do you trust?
KIRK: Stephen’s

ABOUT STEPHEN
How would you describe Stephen?
KIRK: Creative, dedicated, clever, reliable.

What do you like about working with together?
KIRK: Being able to work with your best friend.

READ THE INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN

 
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Zdenka Turecek

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