I didn’t start out thinking I was going to be a costume designer – rather, I thought I would pursue a career as a translator, and with any luck, create art on the side. After graduating from university with a degree in French and German (and a minor in Art History), I took a job at a Caribbean resort as a tour guide and translator for French tourists.
In my off hours, I painted and hung out at the beach. It was a very hedonistic time but it didn’t last long because it’s where the French fashion designer, Catherine Salvet, found me one afternoon. I had met Catherine earlier, on one of the gallery tours I conducted, but that afternoon, she asked me about the painting I was doing on fabric. Remarkably, after we spoke, she asked if I would like to come to France and apprentice in her couture house! The course of my life changed in that moment and I found myself two months later in the south of France, where I lived for almost seven years, training in the art and business of fashion design and manufacturing. I learned about fabrics, tailoring, fit and many other aspects, often from much older craftspeople that really didn’t have much time for a kid from North America – but nonetheless, they taught me their time-honoured craft.
When I came back to Canada, I was ready to design my own line, incorporating a number of my prints and graphics, which I created and silk screened onto the fabrics I used for my collections. I designed and manufactured high-end resort and ready-to-wear collections for women and men that were carried and sold in more than fifty boutiques across the country.
However, after doing this for a number of years I needed a change, as I was spending more time dealing with suppliers and retailers then I was designing and creating. It was time for a new challenge. A friend recommended the film business to me, either in wardrobe or set design – and so the journey began more than 20 years ago. And as I’m useless with a hammer – costume design was a natural fit and something that I still love to do. I continue to learn and grow as an artist and truly enjoy the collaborative nature of this business.