November marks an important date for local luxury designer Paul Hardy as he celebrates 10 years as a fashion innovator.
Known for his high-end, cutting-edge women’s wear, Hardy has often been referred to as the Canadian version of Louis Vuitton artistic director Marc Jacob.
The comparison is due to the unique architectural structure of Hardy’s clothing as well as his ability to update and urbanize classic attire.
However, Hardy admits that he is no Marc Jacob.
“I lack the colourful social life he does, and a staff of a hundred,” said Hardy.
Hardy’s designs have become a favourite of A-list celebrities including Kate Hudson, Sarah McLachlan, and Diane Kruger. He’s also a strong advocate for contributing his work to the local community.
In 2011, Hardy designed the costumes for the Alberta Ballet production of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and has designed a series of outfits for Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Melanie Leonard.
Hardy enjoys working out of Calgary and has no intention of moving elsewhere.
“I enjoy the lifestyle and the people, and [don’t] want my work to dictate the circumstances of my life,” said Hardy.
After attending Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto to study fashion design, Hardy found himself working in downtown Calgary at Holt Renfrew as a personal shopper, though he continued to design and create clothing in his spare time.
Eventually, Hardy’s regular customers began inquiring about his personal designs and he was soon receiving personal orders.
In 2002, Hardy took a chance at Toronto Fashion Week and launched his first runway show.
He recently relocated from Kensington to a larger 3,600-square foot studio in Inglewood, and is in the process of expanding his brand.
“The business had outgrown the space in Kensington. I was looking for a building that had character, that would be a suitable reflection of the brand. The space feels like a second home,” said Hardy.
In addition to launching a web store, he will soon introduce his first handbag collection, and is considering starting a mens wear line.
Hardy is also pursuing another passion of his—interior design—and offers one-on-one consultations from his studio.
On Oct. 20, Hardy hosted a day-long celebration starting with a catered birthday brunch at the River Café.
The brunch included special performances by popular Canadian singers Paul Brandt and Sarah Harmer.
In the evening, Hardy opened up his new Inglewood designer studio to the public for a runway show of his spring-summer 2013 designs, with live music from members of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
The collection drew inspiration from a small-town Amish girl moving to the big city and featured a mix of vintage-inspired neutral-hued pieces with modern leather and sequin accents.
For more information, follow Hardy on Twitter or Facebook, or visit his site.