It was a chilly evening in mid-November and Lauren Bagliore’s soon-to-open shop was buzzing with activity. Literally, buzzing. A loud drilling sound pierced the air, but the fashion designer, who was preparing to open her first bricks and mortar store in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood on November 20, didn’t flinch.
She’d been working on the space since September, after all, and her team was tackling the final touches on what is sure to be a beautiful new addition to Calgary’s fashion scene. The elegant French-inspired mirror was up, the industrial chandeliers were casting a warm glow and, most importantly, the designer’s clothes were hanging on the racks. So when it came time to open the doors to the first Lauren Bagliore Concept Shop on Thursday night, she was more than ready.
“I’ve been in Inglewood for four years,” said the New York City-raised designer of her previous appointment-only atelier, located only a few blocks away from her latest venture. Bagliore (pronounced Bal-YOUR-Ray) is excited to greet her loyal Calgary clientele, who range in age from 23 to 75, at the shop. She’s eager to see new faces, too.
“We are growing and want more people to have access to these beautiful clothes,” she said. “People in Calgary are hungry for something new and something fresh. They want something that’s not the typical box store.”
Bagliore’s designs are anything but typical. She is known for her Italian matte jersey dresses, structured jackets and form-flattering leggings, among other pieces (prices begin at $395). All of her designs have a distinct Bagliore look: edgy and feminine. Working at the shop a week before its opening, Bagliore was her own best advertising, dressed head to toe in her luxurious clothing – a black lamb-leather jacket, a black jersey dress and black leggings. Everything was layered to perfection, and that was no mistake.
“Draping is definitely my strength. I call myself a ‘sculptor of fabric,’” she said.
When she’s designing her collections, Bagliore has her clients in mind.
“The women I design for are well-travelled, business women, they’re artsy and they want something different.”
The New York native knows a thing or two about travelling. Six years ago, she married a Calgarian and has split her time between the two cities ever since. She also called London home for a while, when she worked with famed designer Vivienne Westwood.
With homes and design studios in both New York and Calgary, Bagliore decided earlier this summer that it was time to open her first store. Calgary seemed like the natural choice.
“These amazing Calgary women have supported us for four-and-a-half years,” she said. “They are dynamic, world travellers, so I figured, ‘Why not start here?’”
Bagliore said her own travels inspire her designs, especially people-watching around the world. One thing she never pays attention to, however, is what other designers are creating.
“I don’t look at what other people are doing. I don’t even watch television!” When she’s on the road, Bagliore always packs her Desiree “Endless” Dress in jersey ($595). “I throw it in the suitcase and it doesn’t wrinkle. It’s also very forgiving,” she said. “You can hand wash it and lay flat to dry.”Lauren Bagliore design. the New York raised designer has opened her first Calgary store.
While she is thrilled to open her first shop in Calgary – which is, incidentally, next to Calgary chef Michael Noble’s new restaurant, The Nash and Off Cut Bar – Bagliore’s aspirations include opening stores in Manhattan, Tokyo and Paris someday. She’s also planning to design and sell her own handbags, shoes and perfume, which may happen in the not-too-distant future.
Her ultimate goal? To create a more affordable clothing line called Made With Love by Lauren Bagliore that will raise money for Ratanak International, a Canadian organization that fights human trafficking in Cambodia. Bagliore is passionate about supporting the cause and is donating 15 per cent of all sales from Thursday night’s grand opening to the organization.
For now, though, Bagliore is completely focused on making her new business thrive – and to having some fun while she’s at it. “I think we’ll bring a fresh and vibrant element to Inglewood,” she said. “I love my clients here.”