Did you know that some of the world’s best luxury swimwear is made in Canada? Montreal based Shan was started by Chantal Levesque in 1985. The brand is now carried in over 500 stores across 25 countries including Harrod’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. Shan is found in some of the world’s most luxurious hotels like Sandylane in Barbados and the Wynn in Las Vegas. Toronto has its own standalone Shan store in Yorkville as well as Miami, Montreal, Laval and St. Sauveur.
Shan takes pride in it’s Laval based production and state of the art facilities. Everything is hand sewn by staff that have been trained for many years learning the Shan standard of quality. The Shan customer is someone who is looking for quality in workmanship and materials. Chantal’s hard work has paid off and she received the Designer of the Year,2011 award by the International Mode City Show in Paris. The Quebec Chamber of Commerce also recognized her contributions and she received the Mercuriades Award in 2012.
Chantel and her Vice President, Jean-FranÃ§ois Sigouin traveled to the Toronto store to greet the press and talk about the 2013 collection. Up until this point I’ve admired Shan from a far. The store was a bit intimidating to me so I never went in to check it out. The preview changed that and I was kicking myself for not taking the plunge earlier. Jean-FranÃ§ois talked to me about the company and walked me through the collection. It was a real hands on experience and I got to see and feel the quality of the fabrics and the immaculate construction. I’m not biggest bikini fan and Shan has styles to suit everyone. I’m particularly fond of their retro styles. Then the bomb dropped i would get to participate in the Shan swimsuit experience. “It’s the only way to truly understand”, Jean-FranÃ§ois says to me. I don’t doubt him.
One of the lovely and super helpful Shan Sales Associate helps me choose styles based on my preferences and I even try on some suggestions. I’ve never had a good time trying on swimwear and this was just such a pleasant experience. All the styles fit so well and the only choice was do I want something classic or crazy colourful. I went classic because I’ve always wanted a retro style suit from Norma Kamali. This would be better than those daydreams because it was home-grown. I picked a black and white polka dot bandeau one piece with removal strap. It’s very 50s pin-up and I adore it. The Shan boutique is a one stop shop for swimwear and you can find matching coverups, casual wear, accessories and men’s swimwear (which is pretty damn nice too). The Shan experience also included a matching coverup, it was a complete look. I chose a coverup that can be worn different ways. I don’t have a really great shot of me in the suit so I’ve posted this random selfie I took. I need a good beach vacation for a proper photo!
Shan swimwear is an investment piece with prices starting at $200. One of the last swimsuits I bought was from Body Glove and it cost me over $200 and I can tell you the quality and fit doesn’t even come close to Shan. It’s not even in the same league.
Swimwear rarely grabs me but I gasped when I opened the Eres Swimwear Spring Summer 2013 lookbook. I don’t wear tiny bikinis so I loved all the one piece and high waisted options Eres presented. I like the limited use of prints in the collection and the abundance of colour options. Eres swimwear is simple in design but so luxurious looking.
Eres is a Parisian brand that began in 1968. Designer, IrÃ¨ne Leroux grew up in the swimwear business and opened a boutique the same year and revolutionized the swimwear industry by selling all year round. Eres is also responsible for changing the shape and design of swimwear resulting in better fitting and looking swimsuits. During that time, swimwear was exclusively a summer product. In 1996, Chanel purchased Eres. In 1998, Eres debuted the lingerie line.
As you can imagine a brand owned by Chanel is going to be expensive. Eres is just that. You’re looking a prices ranging from $300 – $700. Le sigh, always the way.
Eres has a store in Toronto! I was so excited to find out about this. It carries both swimwear and lingerie lines. I’ve only stared from a far and I have yet to go in. I’ll make sure to report back. Check out the gallery below for more photos from the Eres Spring Summer 2013 collection.
I’m currently a little obsessed with swimsuits and I love what Australian based, Black Milk Clothing is doing. So nerdy.
First for the art nerd. Black Milk actually won my heart with The Kiss by Klimt swimsuit. The Kiss is my all time favourite painting and I need to own this. They have some other art suits by Van Gogh (pictured) and Dada.
The science nerd has a lot to drool over at Black Milk. First up the Threepo, Artoo and Darkside swimsuits. No self respecting Star Wars nerd can deny how cool these suits are. Even this bitter Star Wars fan can get behind it.
Of course, you have some classic space imagery to choose from too.
Skulls aren’t left out and I like these two designs.Â They are kinda creepy.
Black Milk also makes leggings and again they hit me with another one of my art loves, M.C. Escher.
These are the best tights in the whole world and like The Kiss, I must own them.
I’m on a bit of a swimwear kick right now and I think We Are Handsome is the best. I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve posted about them. This Australian based company should know a thing about swimwear.
The We Are Handsome Spring Summer 2011 collection is in their print heavy style. They make a great one piece that can be worn on and off the beach.
There aren’t any retailers in Canada but they are carried by Opening Ceremony and Opening Ceremony Ace Hotel in New York City. There are a few online retailers and net-a-porter.com carries them.
I’m liking some pieces from former George Brown student, Tosca Delfino. Â Spring Summer 2011 is herÂ first independentÂ collection.
Tosca Delfino studied fashion construction and design in Toronto and Milan, at George Brown College and Istituto di Moda Burgo, respectively. Experience at prestigious fashion houses such as Missoni, Valentin Yudashkin and Arthur Mendonca has shaped Delfino’s vibrant design aesthetic. Now Milan-based, she pairs lively, original prints with fresh, feminine patterns and delivers cosmopolitan collections; the line first appeared on Australia Fashion Week’s runways in 2010.
I’m normally not a fan of two piece suits but I like the high waisted versions. The collection will come in sizes S/M and M/L and it will retail from $98.99 to $120.99CAD. The prices are very good as swimwear can be very pricey. Look for points of sale information in the new year.
See the whole Spring Summer 2010 collection in the slideshow
Sometimes readers ask me questions. If they are of value to all my readers I post them online. If you have a question, please feel free to submit it using the contact form. I’ll definitely do my best to answer it.
I want – I got twitter follower @edlynne wrote for a friend:
Where are there good non-skanky swimwear stores in Toronto?
I replied to this query on twitter but I thought it would be good to record the answers here for everyone. First, I had to understand what non-skanky swimwear meant. I had thoughts of this person wandering into the many shops on Yonge Street that carry a variety of skankwear. I came to understand that the friend was looking for more classic/ retro swimsuit shapes.
I had the following stores in mine for more classic/retro swimwear options.