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

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

Cowichan-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.

There’s probably nothing unusual about that for a Cowichan Valley Citizen reader. We all saw that. 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 in the Duncan.

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

The Santa’s Workshop fundraiser being put on by Camosun students on Dec. 5, 2020, will benefit Providence Farm. (Submitted)
Camosun students harness spirit holiday season with Providence Farm fundraiser

The next event, coming up on Dec. 5, is a virtual “Day in Santa’s Workshop”

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for former Caps player last seen in September

Geoff Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

Cowichan Tribes’ artist Darrell Thorne (left) and Phil Kent, chairman of the Island Corridor Foundation, hold Thorne’s first-place winning design in the ICF’s First Nations artist competition. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Tribes’ Darrell Thorne wins ICF art competition

Artists designed perspectives on passenger trains of the future

Shopping locally for the holidays has never been so important. (Submitted)
Editorial: Buying local for holidays never so important

It’s an important thing to consider when you go to do both your in person and online shopping

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples encourages groups and organizations in the city to take advantage of Duncan’s DOVID-19 grants program. (File photo)
Still lots of money left in Duncan’s COVID-19 grant program

Council has approved just three applications so far

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Most Read