Maxime, Chloé and Justine Dufour-Lapointe come alive when the camera starts clicking. They pose with natural ease, arms wrapped around one another, standing on a scenic bridge just a stone's throw from the CN Tower, giggling, blowing kisses and beaming smiles toward the news photographer like fashion models on a catalogue shoot.
The three sisters, freestyle-ski Olympians who captured national attention during the Sochi Olympics, also happen to be beautiful and fashion-forward. They were born for this assignment.
Now six months after Sochi, the Montreal trio has been criss-crossing Toronto all day, doing TV, radio and newspaper interviews, interspersed with trips to the ladies' room to touch up lipstick, smooth hair-dos and pull on Team Canada jackets and mittens.
In Sochi, they became the first Canadian set of three siblings to compete in the same individual Olympic event. Justine and Chloé won Olympic gold and silver respectively, while Maxime was 12th, and the three congenial women were quick to tell the press of their fascination with the fashion industry. They've since been tapped by footwear and accessories retailer Call It Spring to front one of their collections. The sisters have attended red carpet events and visited some design houses. They've been invited shopping with Canadian fashionista Jeanne Beker. And now Hudson's Bay has chosen the sisters as the spokeswomen for the latest Red Mittens campaign, which has raised more than $26-million for Canadian athletes since 2009 through the Canadian Olympic Foundation.
"We were really flattered when they asked us, because we love to be involved in fashion and these mittens are very iconic," 20-year-old Justine said.
They work the mitten pitch into conversation with ease like silky-smooth spokeswomen. For each pair of $10 mittens purchased, $3.33 goes to the Canadian Olympic Foundation. The sixth edition of the fleece-lined Canada mitts isn't traditional red, but mainly black with blocks of red and white. The sisters twist their mittened hands in and out, demonstrating the way you can show off the embroidered words "GO" and "CANADA".
"These black mittens go with everything in winter, you can wear them with lots of different coats," 22-year-old Chloé said. "You can take all kinds of selfies with them. They are so cute."
Wear the mittens with a puffy coat, they suggest, or ankle booties, maybe go chalet chic and accent with fur. Their fashion tips come off worldly but also breezy, like they have a natural, grab-and-go kind of talent for it. They express interest in the fashion industry after they retire from skiing, but all, including 25-year-old Maxime, plan to keep skiing at least through the 2018 Olympics. Fashion has been a lifelong passion.
"Skiing was expensive, so we couldn't afford lots of new clothes," Chloé said. "I would take two scarves and build them into a skirt, use some old curtains to make an outfit. We would make costumes for our dolls; we would all play dress-up. We always loved fashion."
The sisters say they shop together, but they each have their own style. Justine has a rock edge, they say. Maxime has modern elegance, while Chloé's look is more feminine and romantic. The bilingual trio is a marketer's dream.
They train together, room together and compete with one another. The close-knit Dufour-Lapointe family is even custom-building a home in Montreal that has four apartments inside – one for each sister and the last for their parents.
Now the sisters are partnering on a collection with Call It Spring, which is part of the Aldo Group. They have chosen 30 items from the retailer, including winter boots, booties, knitwear, accessories and handbags. The women will endorse the collection being aptly called Après-Ski, which will launch in mid-November.
"They have an innate fashion sense," said Catherine Laporte, marketing director for Call It Spring.
After wrapping the final interview of the day, they dive into their suitcases, and then make yet another trip to the ladies' room before hopping in a car for Toronto Pearson International Airport. This trio isn't opting for sneakers and comfy track pants for the flight either. Instead, they emerge freshly spritzed in perfume and wearing skinny jeans, fashionable tops and jackets. They'll be ready to do another round of interviews in Calgary on Thursday and have invited fans via Instagram to meet them at Chinook Centre to pose for selfies.