Report by Katherine Ellis.
Before models hit the catwalks at this year’s Ottawa Fashion Week, the week’s organizers hosted its first official event on Sept. 15 with the launch party of Judith & Charles, a new high-end designer store located in the Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa.
Fashion journalists, bloggers, designers and Judith & Charles clientele (some taking advantage of the night to do some shopping) mingled to song selections from mainstream to Mo-town by the night’s entertainment, DJ Joey Medaglia.
Sales associates wore store merchandise and chatted with attendees, as staff from Tulips and Maple served champagne and hors-d’oeuvres, including pieces of prosciutto with goat cheese on pumpernickel bread, and ham and smoked salmon. Perrier and flat-water were also served.
Geared towards professional women, Judith & Charles design clothes that are “classique, élégant and stylish,” said Charles Le Pierrès, business partner and husband of Judith Richardson, the brand’s fashion co-ordinator. All products are “Tailored with Love in Canada,” as stitched on the clothes.
The new store – Judith & Charles’ eleventh location – was opened in Ottawa due to the number of clients travelling to Montreal and Toronto to purchase their merchandise.
“Ottawa is the capital of Canada and it is beautiful. It deserves a beautiful store,” said Le Pierrès. Other Canadian locations include Calgary, Halifax and Vancouver.
The store is bright, airy and inviting, as the overhead lighting reflects softly off the new glossy floors.
The collection itself features neutral colours, with pops of red, yellow and deep blues, in fabrics ranging from silk to wool jersey.
This season’s “it” item, according to Le Pierrès, is the Fall Dress; their number one selling item is the Fiona, a short-sleeved red dress that falls above the knee.
Essential items to create this year’s fall look are statement pieces that are unique and can add a pop to any outfit, said Laura Di Ioia, an assistant buyer with the company.
To ensure that their clients receive a complete look, about 15 per cent of the merchandise is supplemented by other brands, including Graham & Spencer and Kara Ross.
Event attendees received a Judith & Charles lined notebooks (featuring the Fiona on the back cover) and a black zip-up reusable bag at the end of the evening.
Judith & Charles is located on Level 2 at the Rideau Centre.