Shop around the globe with Raphaël
A few lucky people here at Groupe Dynamite are tasked with travelling to the world’s fashion capitals (Paris, London, New York, oh my!) and reporting back with new and fresh ideas to delight our customers.
Raphaël, the Director of Concept Design for Dynamite (and one of our most frequent travellers), is one of these lucky people! Every season, he gathers all the inspiration he finds on his trips and, with his team, puts together an assortment of colours, patterns, fabrics and key outfits to present to our Merchandising team.
His job is so cool, we decided to ask Raph a few questions about his travels…
Briefly describe your last shopping trip abroad. Which cities did you visit and what was your mandate for the trip?
The last journey I went on was a major seasonal kick-off trip! In February, I travelled with my team to four cities in 10 days: New York, London, Paris and Barcelona. We shopped and looked for current and emerging trends in stores and on the streets. We also spent two days on a creative work session with our fashion consultant in Barcelona; we brainstormed on the direction we want to take for our Spring 2018 Dynamite collection. It was a very fast yet productive trip!
What’s your go-to airplane outfit?
I like to keep it casual, yet dressy. Comfort is key as we walk through so many airports and carry a lot of luggage. These days, it’s a dressy jogger pant, minimal sweatshirt, a light mid-length overcoat and a great pair of sneakers!
When you travel, what are the key fashion items in your suitcase that you can’t leave without?
The dressy jogger in three colours is the most versatile piece as it can easily be dressed up or down. High-top Converse (these days, I’m loving the metallic material) are my best friends for the entire trip. Lastly, regardless of the time of year, I never leave without a light parka coat. London can be chilly in May.
What are your favourite stores to shop while you’re travelling?
I can’t leave Paris before stopping at Merci, a store in the Marais district. It is pure inspiration; they decorate the store to match the theme of the collection.When I last went, in February, the store was covered in blooming flowers! In London, a walk through Shoreditch will leave you fully inspired. The streets are lined with extremely well curated boutiques, urban vibes and a youthful pub scene.
Where do you find the best coffee?
Italy. Any old school coffee shop…
What is your favourite restaurant abroad?
I prefer casual dining, so we always look for a cool, local place to eat. For example, in London, they have amazing Indian restaurants. In Barcelona, we eat tapas all day long! Last October, in Tokyo, grilled Kobe beef was a treat. There are always so many places to check out!
What is your favourite location to relax or get inspired?
We don’t have much time to relax on business trips. I’m usually sent to cities for business, so I always try to get away to a place that’s more laid back when I travel on my own. Presently, I am packing for Costa Rica for two weeks, where I can recharge, take in all the greenery, and come back ready and inspired for the spring and summer seasons.
What is the number one trend you noticed on the runway during the latest Fashion Weeks?
Good question! If I had to highlight the trend that struck me the most, it would be colour! Get used to wearing red, fuchsia, purple… it’s back!
Which destination would you like to add to your itinerary?
I would like to travel more to Asian destinations. This market is exploding with newness and there is so much to be inspired by. We travel to Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, but I haven’t been to Singapore yet.
Who is your favourite fashion designer at the moment?
Yves Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello. YSL always manages to strike the perfect balance between “sexy” and “street”. Also, Alessandro Michele from Gucci. This brand has a very exuberant and over-the-top approach to fashion; it’s definitely shaking up the fashion world!
What is a fashion find you brought back from your travels that all your friends envy?
On my last trip to Tokyo, I bought an indigo Japanese denim kimono. I had an experienced salesperson put it on me and demonstrate how to fold it the traditional way. That was quite a special buy!
What are three main trends you noticed locals wearing during your most recent trip?
Each city has its own identity and style! The London girl loves makeup and an unexpected clothing mix. The Parisians pull off the “I just woke up, yet I look fabulous” look by wearing oversized pieces. The New York girl has a more on-the-go style. All of them wore a trench coat in their own way this spring!
If you could only travel to one of two destinations, which one would you choose?
Paris or London?
London for being vibrant and one step ahead… but Paris for inspiration and to get a more romantic point of view on fashion.
New York or L.A.?
New York! For the culture, the people, the street fashion and the most amazing shopping!
Toronto or Montreal?
Toronto has better shopping, but I would stay in Montreal to hang out with friends and have a good time in restaurants and bars!