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Marie Saint Pierre

Born in Montreal, 1961


Since 1986

Creation and fitting session on a live model, 2016 © Etienne Lalonde. Photo courtesy of Maison Marie Saint Pierre

Marie Saint Pierre is a Montreal fashion designer known for high-end ready-to-wear women’s clothing that combines luxury with function and performance. Inspired by architecture, she designs minimalist silhouettes with unexpected volumes, tailored using technical fabrics.

The artistry of her creations led her to become the first fashion designer to be admitted to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2017.

A fashion design graduate of LaSalle College in Montreal, Marie Saint Pierre, who was born Marie-Josée Charest, launched her business in 1986 under the brand name Marie Victoire. Her first collection consisted of three models of coats produced in a small room on the ground floor of Habitat 67, where her parents lived. The following year, she moved her atelier to an industrial loft on Wellington Street. At the same time, she decided to adopt the last name of her mother, Réjeanne St-Pierre, and renamed her label Marie Saint Pierre.

Marie Saint Pierre, 2014 © L’ÉLOI Anouk Lessard. Photo courtesy of Maison Marie Saint Pierre

From the moment she entered the industry, the young designer attracted extensive and enthusiastic press coverage. In July 1990, Iona Monahan, fashion editor at The Gazette newspaper, wrote that “she would be to the 90s what Marielle Fleury, John Warden, Leo Chevalier and Michel Robichaud were to the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. A media darling. The handsome symbol of Montreal’s fashion image. »

In 1991, Marie Saint Pierre opened her first boutique-atelier at 4455 St. Denis Street. It was there that she came up with the famous crinkled fabric that became her signature for many seasons.

Marie Saint Pierre – (La) chef d’orchestre

ModeMontréalTV, Marie Saint Pierre – (La) chef d’orchestre, 2010

In the 1990s, she began exploring foreign markets, presenting a fashion show in Paris in 1995 and another in New York City in 1996.

Her creations were sold in renowned Paris boutiques like L’Éclaireur, Victoire and Absinthe.

With the support of the City of Montreal, which was trying to revitalize the “Museum” district, Marie Saint Pierre moved her atelier and store to 2081 Mountain Street in 1997. The following year, she opened a store in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood; however, it closed its doors in 2001.

In 2004, she moved her workshop again, this time to Château Saint-Ambroise in the St. Henri neighbourhood. Around the same time, her sister Danielle Charest joined the company, becoming vice president. An actuary by training, she uses her skill with numbers to support her sister’s creativity.

Dress, Marie Saint Pierre, 2008. Gift of Sylvie Bourbonnière, M2015.7.5.1-2 © McCord Museum

In addition to producing her own collections, Marie Saint Pierre has engaged in multiple partnerships over the course of her career. For example, she designed uniforms for Planetarium and Biodôme employees in 1994, and for workers at the Musée du Québec in 1996. For Le Germain hotel, in 2009 she designed linens, followed by uniforms for staff. In 2006 and 2007, she worked with American company MGA Entertainment to create two limited-edition collections of clothing for Bratz dolls. In 2011 and 2012, she collaborated with Reitmans on two affordably priced capsule dress collections. Meubles RE-NO also called on her talents to create a line of furniture and home accessories in 2014. Furthermore, Marie Saint Pierre often works with emerging or renowned artists to develop her clothing collections, ad campaigns and store interiors.

Conscientious about promoting Quebec and Montreal fashion, Marie Saint Pierre has always been involved in various industry associations. She notably helped establish the Fashion Designers’ Council of Québec and launch the 100% made-in-Quebec Cabinet Éphémère pop-up shop in 2013. That same year, she sat on a task force created by the Quebec Minister of Finance to advise the government on the fashion and apparel industry.

In 2016, the designer’s career was the subject of Revealing Marie Saint Pierre, a documentary directed by Janice Zolf. The next year, to mark 30th anniversary of her brand, Éditions Québec Amérique published the book Marie Saint Pierre – en 30 tableaux, by Madeleine Goubau

As of 2018, creations by Marie Saint Pierre are sold by some sixty retailers in Canada and the United States. The company also has two branded stores in Montreal, one on Mountain Street and the other at the Rockland Centre, and one store in Miami’s Wynwood district. Employing a staff of some 50 people, its headquarters are located on Chabanel Street in Montreal. All Marie Saint Pierre clothing is produced locally. In addition to her collections of women’s ready-to-wear, the designer creates wedding gowns, furniture and perfume. Since 2016, she also occasionally creates capsule collections for men.

Sources External link

Baril, Gérald. «Marie Saint Pierre. Entrevue», dans M. Choko, P. Bourassa et G. Baril, Le design au Québec, Montréal, Les Éditions de l’Homme, 2003, p. 310-314.

Baril, Gérald. «Marie Saint Pierre. Mode, sens et sensibilité», dans G. Baril et al., Atmosphères, catalogue d’exposition, Montréal, Centre de design de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, 2000, p. 59-64.

Carr, Diana. «The Saint Principle», Flare Magazine, June 1994, p. 42-46.

Dagenais, Angèle. «Paris l’a à l’œil. Marie Saint Pierre», L’Actualité, vol. 19, no 20, 15 décembre 1994, p. 56-61.

Desmarais, Marie-Josée. «Trois femmes à la mode» (Marie Saint-Pierre, Angela Bucaro, Chantal Lévesque), Châtelaine, vol. 36, no 10, octobre 1995, p. 59-70.

Dumas, Ève. «De la tête aux pieds. Marie Saint Pierre», La Presse (Actuel), 7 août 2001, p. B1.

Krysztosiak, Virginie. «Elle équivoque…», dans G. Baril et al., Atmosphères, catalogue d’exposition, Montréal, Centre de design de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, 2000, p. 50.

Laurier, Marie. «Marie Saint Pierre : l’architecte du corps», Le Devoir, 30 mai 1994, p. B1.

Legault, Francis. «La mode faite femmes» (Angela Bucaro, Louise Vincent, Chantal Lévesque, Marie Saint-Pierre, Hélène Barbeau), Elle Québec, no 61, septembre 1994, p. 100-102.

Simard, Renée Claude. «Marie Saint-Pierre : une designer aux ambitions internationales», Les Affaires, vol. 66, no 19, 14 mai 1994, p. 24.

Villeneuve, Paquerette. Entretiens avec Marie Saint-Pierre. De la mode considérée comme un des beaux-arts, Montréal, Éditions Liber, 1997, 109 p.

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Madeleine Goubau, Collaboratrice

Last edited on
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