Canadian luxury outerwear brand Nicole Benisti knows a thing or two about cold, unforgiving climates. Based in Montreal, Canada the brand understands the importance of a warm, functional coat. What perhaps sets the brand apart is the additional emphasis on style. In Nicole Benisti world you can have it all; a functional, luxurious and well-styled coat that serves not only to keep you warm and protected, but also as a fashion statement. In our exclusive interview with the Canadian designer, Nicole Benisti sheds light on her unique vision, pragmatism and design process that has made her a household name to some of the world’s top celebrities.
“Outerwear was looking redundant throughout the North American market.. Everyone was wearing the same coat. I wanted to create an aesthetic that was fresh, fun and functional for the climate.” That, in a nutshell is how her brand came to be in 2015. In the past five years the husband and wife duo have been consistent in their offering, their collections speak to the metropolitan women who look at outerwear as a statement piece and an extension of their own style, not merely out of function. The reasoning behind their thoroughly successful line is; a coat shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be a statement piece that brings the outfit all together. Becoming a favorite amongst celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion and Hailey Beiber is no easy feat for a young company. When asked about how this recognition was garnered, Benisti shared, “The collection had to be bold, feminine and functional with a unique aesthetic which is what garnered the attention of our A-list following. Celebrities, models and influencers were reaching out directly through Instagram. These women set the trends every single time they walk out the door, it is inspiring to have such style icons embody the very essence of the collection.”
A coat shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be a statement piece that brings the outfit all together.
When asked about her design process, Benisti highlights the importance of her travels, and the constant inspiration of women the world over. Regardless of the country, Benisti’s keen eye is quick to access and register the needs and preferences of the women of that city. Perhaps the common denominator, and one that reminds us of how similar we all are.. is a woman’s need for a jacket or coat that actually ticks more than one box. According to Benisti, women are in search of outerwear that is practical yet appealing, functional yet sexy, fashion-forward yet versatile. The collections all exude an effortless elegance that has become synonymous with the Nicole Benisti label. They are sophisticated and glamorous, with interchangeable designs that capture the essence of contemporary fashion. Benisti explains, “Winters in Montreal can feel never-ending. Almost every woman is wearing either the same coat or one very similar to the woman next to her. People need a reason to leave the house in the dead of winter. I wanted to design a collection where women embraced their strut in the freezing cold.”
The brand’s Fall 2020 campaign was fronted by iconic fashion model Irina Shayk, a perfect choice for the fashion-forward brand, Irina embodies strength and beauty and seamlessly captures the essence of the label. Nicole elaborates further on her choice of model for the company’s campaigns, “ When I choose a model for our campaigns, it needs to be organic. From Hailey Beiber to Elsa Hosk to Irina Shayk, these women have all phenomenal fashion sense from their street styles to red carpets which makes the partnerships that much more powerful because you get a sense of their personal style in the campaigns.”
The collection, photographed by David Roemer and styled to perfection by Elizabeth Sulcer brought together two worlds that hardly collide, outerwear and underwear. Racy garter belts and bustiers were given pride of place in the outerwear brand’s campaign, once again merging the world’s of practicality, functionality, style and glamour. The season’s oversized silhouettes were well-represented in the collection in different textures from mixed media shearling coats, a signature to Nicole’s design DNA, in addition to voluminous down-filled puffers in luxurious tweeds and high shine nylons. Soft creams and browns with classic black and white make for versatile wearability, again a trademark Benisti. The new collection revives classic styling, with a refined fashion forward aesthetic in functional outerwear catering to women seeking glamour and comfort in the winter season. When asked about Benisti’s personal favorite piece from the collection, she says, “ The tweed puffers. I love the juxtaposition between the ornate and ultra-feminine tweed in an oversized statement silhouette. It’s been a celebrity favorite from Elsa Hosk, Nour Arida, Daniella Rahme and Arielle Charnas.”
The Nicole Benisti label is currently stocked in almost all of the world’s continents, in cities such as New York, London, Milan, Paris, Seoul and Tokyo. The great news for our part of the world is that the collection will be launching at Harvey Nichols Doha next season! Although Canada will always be home for the brand, it is the world that continues to inspire the design duo, Nicole and Maurice. The collection is a marriage between style and function. With trends being digitalized so rapidly and accessible in all corners of the world, Nicole reiterates the importance importance of a universal style aesthetic, the construction however that goes into every coat is very specific to the Canadian climate. Nicole describes the design process as “wrapping my customers in cozy luxuries,” pretty accurate we’d say!