PHILIPPE DUBUC IS THE EPITOME OF QUIET STRENGTH AND CONSISTENCY. WITHOUT EVER FLAGGING OR THROWING IN THE TOWEL, THIS PASSIONATE CREATOR HAS MAINTAINED THE SAME LASER FOCUS THAT PROPELLED HIM ONTO THE FASHION SCENE 24 YEARS AGO.
You can count the number of famous Quebec fashion designers on one hand, maybe two. Philippe Dubuc asserted himself from the moment he opened his boutique on rue Saint-Denis in Montreal in 1993. The creative 27-year-old was at the top of his game and played a major role in turning the city into a fashion and design hub. Success followed success. Before long, Philippe Dubuc jackets, pants and shirts were seen not only in Montreal stores, but parading down Paris runways. Then, in 2006, things screeched to a halt, for just a brief moment, as Dubuc regrouped, set his sights on new goals, and readjusted his approach.
With a new collection in the works, a bowtie that’s taking off for the PROCURE Foundation, and costumes for Ballets Jazz de Montréal’s new piece, Dance Me, Philippe Dubuc seems driven by the same fire that energized his early years. “More than a few years have passed,” he says, “but in my head, I still feel like I’m 27. And just like back then, I’m designing for today’s young people, as well as for the generations before them. My creative philosophy is ageless.” His curiosity is the same, as is his quest for beauty. Natural fabrics still occupy an important place in his designs, although he admits that he has been smitten by the latest cutting techniques that are redefining high-end fashion, innovative new materials inspired by athletic wear, and experimental textiles. Known for his “reconfigured classics” style, Dubuc considers himself a Nordic person, first and foremost. “I create according to my inclinations and inspirations of the moment. The North influences my work when I’m trying to construct or deconstruct something. Clothing must enhance the body, no matter what.”
It takes a full year to create one collection. Time simply flies, from the first early sketches until the fashions are delivered to stores. And Dubuc never works alone. He has a whole team of people whose sharp critical skills help him stay firmly anchored in contemporary culture. The designer’s greatest challenge is always anticipating fashion trends without sacrificing his priorities, i.e. material, volume and structure. What can we expect in the next collection? “Softer lines, different volumes and more discreet details,” he says. “Look for luxury fabrics, textured jerseys and minimalist inserts. Black and charcoal will dominate a monochrome palette.”
Philippe Dubuc’s career would be worth little without the early support of a loyal clientele and ongoing interest from new buyers drawn to his elegant creations. Adding to the seductive mix is the Dubuc Vision line of eyewear. Patience and perseverance have helped this dedicated designer set down solid roots. The resulting growth has been worth everything.