Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, in a dress by Eliza Faulkner, wave as they go on stage at Liberal election headquarters in Montreal, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

B.C.-raised designer crafts election night dress for PM Trudeau’s wife

Sophie Gregoire’s golden dress has a Cowichan Valley connection

Sophie Gregoire waves happily to the crowd as her husband, victorious Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledges his supporters on election night.

It was an iconic moment from Monday night’s election that everyone saw. So, what’s the big deal?

Gregoire’s dress, that’s what.

That beautiful golden yellow long sleeved dress is part of a collection by dress designer, Eliza Faulkner, who grew up on Vancouver Island in B.C.

When Faulkner posted a picture and message on her Facebook page, saying “Sophie Trudeau in my dress today”, the page lit up with comments from friends (and probably clients) across the country, some of them transplanted Cowichan Valley folks like herself.

“Amazing,” said Valley designer Pipi Tustian, while Brenda Colby added, “This is the best.”

The dress, which is named Pandora, can be seen on Faulkner’s website https://elizafaulkner.com/

Asked in a phone interview from Montreal about when she first heard that the Prime Minister’s wife would wear her dress design for all the country to see, Faulkner said, “I figure I heard about two weeks ago. I know the store she bought it from in Ottawa. They told me she’d bought it. I was excited about that, and then a couple of days later, they messaged and said that she would wear it on election night. I was excited but still a little skeptical because people do change their minds; I do all the time. So, I thought, we’ll wait and see.”

Faulkner has worked with Gregoire’s stylist in the past but had not heard much lately.

“Even though I’d known, I was surprised that she did wear it.”

The designer, now based in Montreal, has a studio and an elegant online store, but no personal retail outlet although she stocks various stores around Canada with her clothing.

The Pandora dress has already been popular.

“We’ve already sold a lot of them but when we found out she’d bought it and was going to wear it we’d actually just started production on more because it was selling so well. We’ve sold out, but we’re taking pre-orders for them now. They’ll be ready next week.”

Faulkner’s interest in fashion started early.

“It’s been my whole life. I’ve been making things since I was a teenager. My mom made all my stuff; she has Cardino’s shoes in Duncan. I sort of grew up watching her. Before she had the shoe store she made all our clothes, and made curtains and prom dresses for people. She taught me how to sew.

“When she opened the shoe store, I was a teenager and I got to watch her have a business. I worked for her for a few years, and I’ve learned a lot from her, too.”

Faulkner was born and raised in Duncan and went to Cowichan Secondary School.

“After high school I went to London, England to study design there. I went to a school called St. Martin’s [a world renowned arts and design college] and studied fashion there. I graduated in 2008 and then I was kind of back and forth between Duncan and London for a bit and then I ended up back in Duncan for four years, where I worked for my mom.

“I started my brand when I was there. Then, four years ago, I moved to Montreal. I met my partner in Duncan and he was from Montreal so that brought me out here. It’s been a good move; there’s a lot more of an industry here, as you can imagine.”

How does Faulkner think this chance may affect her?

“I don’t know. I’ve been doing this for so long now that I can’t tell.”

She has dressed some well-known people but those were items that are worn all the time.

“This was such a historic moment,” she said.

As for the dress itself, “you can still order it from my website. We’ve sold out of the yellow, but we’re getting in black and dark red for Christmas.”



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberni Farmers Institute offers slaughter training course

Alberni Valley residents interested in obtaining a Class D Slaughter License can take part

Spill response vessel arrives in Port Alberni

Base isn’t finished, but team is ready for emergencies

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

NIC practical nursing students hone skills on pandemic’s front line

‘It also has become clear that this is my thing,’ – NIC practical nursing student Breanna Patterson

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Most Read