Bespokenov : Ancestral craftsmanship, cutting-edge fashion, and a Montreal soul
It is said that Montreal is the Paris of North America. To master tailor and designer Cinthya Chalifoux, founder of the emerging fashion label Maison Bespokenov, that accolade applies to much more than the French language and European lifestyle of her hometown: it is the very foundation of her craft. Since its beginnings, Maison Bespokenov has sought to be a custodian of the intricate artisanship that once built the iconic haute couture houses of Paris, applying ancestral techniques to the creation of seductively modern clothing at the cutting-edge of Montreal fashion.
Nothing drives more the work of Chalifoux than her thirst for knowledge and her obvious love for handmade garments. At a time when the majority of North American fashion brands remain hell-bent on mass production, Maison Bespokenov has taken a turn into the road less traveled. At the end of 2016, faithful to her globetrotting reputation, Chalifoux and her apprentice, Kamil Demel, boarded a plane to France and embarked on another journey of discovery, during which they spent three months absorbing knowledge and skills at some of the most prestigious couture ateliers in the industry. Their quest also brought them to visit the legendary Parasolerie Heurtault, the only master umbrella-maker in the world; to Maison Legeron, florist and plumassier (feather artisan) to haute couture houses; and to Serge Amoruso, the maroquinier (leather goods maker), whose unique pieces are coveted by collectors in all continents. Along the way, valuable relationships were forged with exceptional suppliers, whose work is bound to appear in upcoming Bespokenov creations.
As those who have worked with Chalifoux over the years would attest, she is not one to hog secrets. Upon her return to Montreal, she and Demel instantly switched from apprentices to teachers, and began sharing with their team the precious and rare knowledge collected in France. It is perhaps this uncommon eagerness to disseminate generously hard-earned information that energizes Maison Bespokenov and inspires its artisans to create garments of irresistible beauty and enviable craftsmanship, meant to transcend time and trends.
Chalifoux’s vision is embodied in a series of ethereal videos, featuring Montreal singer and composer APigeon. “These short films represent the constant rebirth and renewal of Bespokenov, the evolution of our craft, and our unwavering commitment the les métiers d’art,” explained Chalifoux. “The dreamy visions of APigeon, delicately enveloped in our garments, are simultaneously an ode to the arts of the past and a bold statement of our present and future.” The soundtrack of the videos, composed by APigeon, evokes a sense of progression and evolution, with stripped down and raw modular sounds that build up into complex, festive arrangements. “Our collaboration intends to capture the end of a mutation and the beginning of a new form, which is exactly where both APigeon and Maison Bespokenov chose to live creatively every day,” concluded Chalifoux.
Please click on these links to watch the videos: