The young Montreal designer has been making jewelry and accessories – really better described as wearable sculptures – out of new and found materials since 2008, but up to now she’s always sold in other people’s stores. Now, in addition to Henriette L., Espace Pépin and Anthropologies around the globe, fans like Karine Vanasse can get them directly from the source in Hosten’s own shop, on the happening Mile End street Bernard.
Stepping into the space is like being a Lilliputian hopping through one of her pieces: it’s a simple, small shop dressed up with colourful accents and different textures sourced all over the world. There’s a dollhouse in the window that’s better decorated than my home! The focal points are of course her necklaces, draped here and there: joyful assemblages of silk from India, bone beads from Africa, glasswork from Mexico, and a vintage brooch found at a flea market in Belgium. Hosten is a globetrotter – but we caught up with her at home, in Montreal.
Montreal Buzz: How has it been to have your own HQ?
Charlotte Hosten: Like a dream come true. When I was a kid, I could spend hours playing store. It gives me energy to decorate the space, and I love to have this amazing chance to be able to build a little environment around my creations. The store is like the necklaces’ home!
MB: What are your favourite Mile End spots?
CH: For lunch, La lumière du Mile-End on Bernard West. For a coffee to go, Olimpico, but I usually go closer, to the Dépanneur Café (they also have a mint ginger herbal tea I love).
MB: Where do you find the vintage materials you use in some of your creations?
CH: Some are for travels, others from thrift stores, others from the Internet. I shop a lot online. Everything is online nowadays.
MB: Who are some of your favourite Montreal fashion designers?
CH: I love all the Harricana recycled fur accessories, and I think their brand philosophy is amazing – recycling fur with such class. I really like Betina Lou clothes as well as Eve Gravel, Denis Gagnon, m0851. There’s so much talent here.
CH: More creativity, more creations, more ideas, more fun. We started doing bridal ware and we are more than ever working with limited editions, which allows me to use very unique materials from all around the world. For example, I have a necklace in the store made of vintage beads I bought in Belgium, beads a friend got me when she went to Mali, beads from India, West African cotton I got from a store in Montreal and gorgeous semi-precious stones. I just love to think that this necklace is the reunion of things from the entire world.
Charlotte Hosten, Atelier Boutique, 122 Bernard Street West, (514) 274-8511
Isa Tousignant is contributing editor for Canadian Art, Montreal correspondent for Akimbo, and a freelance writer on art, culture, travel, design and shoes for everyone from enRoute to Canadian Business to herself.
Photos: Coey Kerr