Byron and Dexter Peart
Twins Byron and Dexter Peart share a thoughtful approach to fashion that has blossomed into a successful collaboration in the industry. The 48-year-old Montrealers first made waves as the co-founders of Want Les Essentiels, the luxury accessory label they launched in 2007, which is known for its timeless, functional and high-quality designs.
With more than 20 years in the fashion business under their belts, both brothers have established a treasured wardrobe filled with everyday essentials and unique favourites, which makes dressing well a breeze. “The older I get, the less time I spend thinking about what to wear,” Byron says. “As we get older, we are more content rewearing the amazing pieces we already have,” Dexter adds.
For Byron, one of those pieces is a hand-embroidered blouson jacket by Dries Van Noten. “It’s so versatile and doubles as an outerwear piece or blazer alternative.” For Dexter, that’s a vintage cotton jacket by Comme des Garçons. “I purchased this truly statement piece in a vintage shop in Tokyo’s Daikanyama neighbourhood. It’s unlike anything I own, but somehow perfectly me.”
Last year, the Peart brothers launched Goodee, a digital retail platform that features sustainably minded goods curated for the conscious consumer. It’s their shared response to feeling overwhelmed by perpetual trends and obsolescence.
Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist
In their life as the band Ice Cream, Toronto-based musicians Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist consider their outfits to be a part of their act. “Looks should always be more fun,” says Bezic, 32.
Friends since they were 14 years old, the duo share a signature glam aesthetic that marries the drama of Dynasty with the swagger of Rod Stewart. “I often find myself asking Carlyn if she’d be mad if I got that, too,” says Crist, 32. It’s a continuing conversation that’s consistently evolving as both gravitate toward statement-making pieces that match their catchy music, a style they say is influenced in equal measure by pop, electronic music, R&B and classic rock. Earlier this year, their album Fed Up was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize. “I used to wear a lot of black, but now I’m trying to live closer to my Fran Drescher dreams. I like things that are kitschy and fun, and anything that feels rock and roll,” Bezic says.
Day to day, the duo rely heavily on vintage finds and pieces from up-and-coming Toronto designers such as In Objects We Trust and SpaBoy. Being characterized as a trendsetter, however, is something Crist takes in stride. “I like wearing things that are exciting and make me feel good. If that comes off as stylish, then that’s cool.”
Julie Kalinowski and Angela Pastor
Playing dress-up is a full-time job for Julie Kalinowski and Angela Pastor. In 2016, the friends opened the doors to the Fitzroy, a dress-rental company with a studio in Toronto’s west end. “We have the luxury of being able to play with fashion and to really have fun with it,” says Kalinowski, 39. “Basically, I have the best job in the world,” adds Pastor, 40, of running a business with her best friend.
While both women gravitate to pieces influenced by the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, each puts her own spin on their shared inspiration. “I secretly nicknamed her a style psychic because she has such an amazing radar for what’s going to be in style, and yet she doesn’t just go for what’s trendy,” Kalinowski says. Pastor, meanwhile, is impressed by her partner’s polish and drive in looking put-together every day. “Her confidence shines through everything she wears, elevating her look no matter the outfit.”
With a warehouse-sized closet at their disposal, the duo’s fashion possibilities are endless, and Pastor often pushes for the two to be seen in matching outfits. Co-ordinating like this comes in handy as a way to cohesively showcase the best of their business.
Prayag Menon and Porus Vimadalal
For stylist Prayag Menon and photographer Porus Vimadalal, the cues provided by clothing make up a big part of their personal and professional lives. Born in India and married since 2016, the pair speak in a visual language that’s entirely complementary. “As a couple, we greatly influence each other,” says Menon, 32. “Our creative aesthetic is on the same wavelength, and we work extensively together.”
That aesthetic, which can be seen in the pages of India’s Elle and Harper’s Bazaar magazines, as well as Fashion and The Globe and Mail Style Advisor in Canada, is always defined by a sense of elegance, a special quality they both value immensely. “Coming from an army background, I was always surrounded by people who were elegantly dressed and groomed, from which came my focus on neatness and refinement,” says Menon, whose father was an officer in the Indian army. For Vimadalal, 34, an early experimentation with colour and accessories while at fashion design school in Mumbai has settled into a balanced approach. “Over time, it evolved to become more understated and prim,” he says.
What each admires in the other is their shared sense of dressing for themselves, whether that’s in a floral Valentino shirt or hand-me-downs from their fathers. “We love adding pieces to our wardrobe that have personality and a story to tell,” Vimadalal says.
Corey Moranis and Jill Sawatzky
Friends Corey Moranis and Jill Sawatzky found common ground while attending a music festival in Sawatzky’s hometown of Winnipeg about five years ago. “We have a strong shared experience as women who have started their own businesses. Something about this – and our personalities – connects us,” Moranis says.
Based in Toronto, Moranis is the 32-year-old designer behind Corey Moranis, a line of colourful Lucite jewellery. Sawatzky, 37, is the creator of Tony Chestnut, a clothing and textile collection she’s been producing in Winnipeg for 13 years. Although the pair no longer live in the same city, they do share an appreciation of the other’s colourful and playful fashion choices. Both love hunting for vintage gems, with Moranis gravitating toward the roomy silhouettes of Issey Miyake and Sawatzky favouring men’s wear pieces, such as her 1990s pleated chinos by Tommy Hilfiger.
As long-distance as it may be, theirs is a friendship that continually inspires. “One thing I’ve noticed is that I always feel free to dress more creatively when I know I’m spending time with Corey,” Sawatzky says. “I know whatever creativity I put into what I wear when I’m around her will be met with appreciation and an equally inspiring look.”
Jordan and Prakash John
As musicians who, prepandemic, played funk, soul and rhythm ’n’ blues to audiences around the world, father and son Prakash and Jordan John favour onstage ensembles that feature suiting (Hugo Boss and Simons are favourites), leather dress shoes and formal wear. “I also love accessories,” says Jordan, a 34-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist, of his collection of silk ties, bow ties, watches, cufflinks, scarves and jewellery.
Clearly, he inherited much more than musical genes from his father. Born in Mumbai, Prakash, 73, has played bass with the likes of Alice Cooper, George Clinton and Lou Reed. Back then, his typical outfits consisted of bell bottoms, tight tops and platform boots worn with shoulder-length hair and a mustache. His most outrageous piece? “A custom-made elk coat with patterned etchings burned on the immense collar and cuffs, akin to the garb of the Three Musketeers,” he says.
Today, both father and son, who are based in Oakville, Ont., and Toronto, respectively, share a mutual admiration for the other’s work ethic, something that manifests in an on-point wardrobe. “I’m continually amazed at how my father maintains such a great sense of pride and standard of excellence through his image and presentation,” Jordan says. Like father, like son.
Neelesh and Vee Mistry
Toronto-based husband and wife Neelesh and Vee Mistry connect creatively over fashion. Married for 23 years and with three children, they’re both drawn to similar brands (that’s Saint Laurent for him, Jacquemus for her and Dries Van Noten for both) and enjoy experimenting with textures, colours and styles while always finding a way to visually complement one another.
Neelesh, 47, who works in IT technical sales at Google Canada, says his early fashion sense was influenced by the GQ magazine covers of his youth, his father and British culture (both Vee and Neelesh hail from Leicester, England). “I usually wear what makes me feel great regardless of what others may think,” Neelesh says. Vee, the 44-year-old facial therapist behind the Yorkville studio Skin by Vee, is drawn to flowy, feminine, easy-to-wear pieces. “I like to believe style is timeless and effortless. For me, it means to not necessarily be seamlessly put together,” she says.
Indeed, when it comes to dress, both love the other’s self-confidence. “I love how he wears his clothes rather than his clothes wearing him,” Vee says. For Neelesh, it’s his wife’s fearless ability to mix styles that he says complements her vivacious attitude. “I think that might have to do with her British brash.”
Sayaka Miura and Brian Vu
At Toronto boutique Latre Art and Style, owner Brian Vu draws on his artistic background to curate a unique shopping experience. Located in the city’s Junction neighbourhood, “the vision is quality and natural fabric,” says Vu, 45, who was born in Vietnam. “We’re focused on carrying French and Japanese indigo, selected military items and Latre’s Original.”
Now six years old, Latre is run by Vu alongside 24-year-old Sayaka Miura, who manages the store. Hailing from Japan, Miura describes her style as a mix of new and vintage, inspired by “the experiences I had when I was in Japan.” On the Latre Instagram account, the pair regularly pose for photos in co-ordinated outfits, a way to showcase their wares, many of which are unisex. Shots have included each wearing an overdyed Swedish military parka shell, Russian military striped tees and unisex African handwoven and indigo-dyed patchwork jackets, an original design by Latre.
Favouring a palette of military green, deep blue, and black and white, their signature aesthetic showcases classic, timeless design in a functional manner, such as heavyweight cotton twill trousers inspired by 1950s-era French military chinos and Japanese boro patchwork.
Athena Bax and Ken Fitzgerald
When dressing for a night out together, Ken Fitzgerald likes to follow his partner, Athena Bax’s sartorial lead. “We co-ordinate almost all of the time,” Bax, 51, says. “It adds a personal touch that only we know about. Well, until someone says, ‘Hey! You two match!’”
As a visual artist, Bax channels her creative spirit into her lifelong love of fashion. She often alters vintage dresses, some dating back to the 1960s, to give them a modern, one-of-a-kind spin, pairing them with contemporary pieces such as Saint Laurent stilettos or her Chanel chain belt from Karl Lagerfeld’s final collection.
For his part, Fitzgerald, a 57-year-old chartered accountant, credits Bax, whom he met seven years ago after a move to Vancouver, with nurturing his eye for style. “I watched others compliment her – people walking by, girlfriends, even retail sales staff gravitate to her to investigate her outfit,” he says. “Soon, I enjoyed being a part of the fashion decision process with her, mostly when finding things for myself, but occasionally suggesting a few things for her.” At the end of the day, Fitzgerald’s love for Bax transcends her style savvy. “She would look good in a potato sack,” he says.
Kristi and Peter MacDonald
Kristi and Peter MacDonald have made it their mission to bring the best of the world’s contemporary fashion designs to the East Coast. The owners of Rchmnd in Halifax, their eight-year-old store is filled with a thoughtful selection of pieces from industry favourites including Acne Studios, Maison Margiela and Raf Simons. It’s a reflection of the husband and wife’s personal style, a savoir-faire both come by honestly.
“I’ve been expressing myself through style for as long as I, or anyone close to me, can remember,” says Kristi, 32, who credits her mother and grandmother with passing down their love of fashion. Peter, 38, favours supporting designers who resonate on a personal level. “As a child of the pre-internet era, my earliest influences were the styles emerging from the grunge, punk and rap music industries and, of course, skateboarding,” he says.
It’s safe to say fashion is a welcome third wheel in their relationship (both live in a prized black denim Raf Simons piece, a jacket for him and an overshirt for her) and a commonality that makes Christmas shopping much easier. “Peter once surprised me with a Maison Margiela Glam Slam handbag before we carried the line at the shop – we are both massive fans of the house,” Kristi says. “Needless to say, he won Christmas that year.”
HOW WE DID IT
To compile this list, a group of Globe and Mail editors and contributors (Caitlin Agnew, Odessa Paloma Parker, Benjamin MacDonald, Andrew Sardone and Maryam Siddiqi) reached out to their networks of wardrobe watchers, dug deep into their social-media feeds and surveyed 2019′s honourees to create a roster of candidates from across the country. After narrowing the nominees down to 10 duos, photographers in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Montreal were commissioned to capture the subjects’ signature styles with the help of contributing fashion editor Nadia Pizzimenti. Think we missed the mark and have a best-dressed suggestion of your own? Post a photo of your fashionable contender to Instagram and tag the picture @globestyle and #GlobeStyleBestDressed.