Calgary Herald: Timeless Chic Inspires Designer

Lincoln Phillip, Calgary Herald

Published: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 designer and architect Lara Presber is starting off her new year with a stronger presence in our city. On Jan. 21, Presber will be one of the first local designers to set up shop in Fashion Central (No. 205, 805 1st St. S.W.).

“Opening the boutique makes me a lot more accessible and I get to learn women’s clothing concerns, which allows me to experiment and test out how my garments will look and work for various body types,” Presber says.

Presber studied fashion design in Italy and architecture in Boston, and practises both professions. While the mix was previously 70 per cent architecture and 30 per cent clothing, the new boutique reverses the numbers.

Presber launched her womenswear line in fall 2007, merging both architecture and fashion by using ‘inhabitable’ spaces to inspire ‘wearable’ pieces. Her new boutique will also reflect this approach, including the building’s historic interiors of exposed brick and hardwood flooring. The 350-square-foot space will have modular units that can be changed each season to adapt to the collections. A white backdrop will let the historical context and the clothing shine.

In the meantime, you can shop Lara Presber at her pop-up location in Art Central (where on Thursday she will be having a one-night sale from 5 to 9 p.m.) or Crabapple Clothing and online at

Look For Spring 2010

Presber is influenced by the feminine and masculine structure of the Aqua Tower in Chicago. Presber’s signature tailored pants and jackets as well as flirty dresses are produced in the same colours as the building: white and charcoal as the base, with accents of blue-green silk print and a highlight of golden yellow to represent the sun’s reflection off the glass.

She Would Best Describe Her Style As . . .

Timeless chic. “I’ve owned some of my favourite pieces for over 10 years — paired with the right accessories, (they still) look current.”

Style Sparks

In her previous working life, Presber noticed that women have few options for dressing appropriately beyond the standard suit. “I wanted to provide an alternative that can still be professional, yet flexible enough that you can easily go from office to dinner to weekend and that women can feel individual, confident and really great about their look.”

Best Bargain

NARS Schiap nail polish: hot pink nails can completely change the look of an outfit for very little cost.

Desired Item

A vintage Dior cocktail dress. “The silhouettes are amazing, very structured, yet still incredibly feminine.”

Guilty Pleasure

Presber says she does not wear a lot of makeup, but her trips to Shoppers Drug Mart turn into a two-hour adventure in the cosmetic aisle.

Signature Accessory: Balenciaga’s First bag in black.

Signature Fragrance: Sephora coconut body butter.

Style Influences: A well-put-together everyday woman who can captivate an entire audience of passersby. “It makes me think, wow, she looks great and what is it about her that makes everyone stop and stare?”

Style Icon: Jackie Kennedy Onassis. “You could pull anything from her closet and it would always be beautiful and current.”

Favourite Places To Shop: Independent boutiques such as Naked on 17th, as well as the boutiques of Rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris.

Make It Go Away: Vanity sizing. “The key to a great garment is structure, fit and quality; if you have all of these you can look fantastic at any size.”

Bring It Back: Ladylike vintage style hats.

Favourite Labels: “Lara Presber — I shop my own closet.”

Best Fashion Statement: A few well-tailored coats or jackets can pull together an outfit and make a big impact for Presber, who always includes at least one style in every collection.

Style Cop: “Overexposure of skin does not mean desirable. Too many women equate scantily clad with empowering and sexy when it really does the opposite.”

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