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Our second feature in our Man About Town series (where we profile über-stylish and noteworthy Montreal gentlemen) is the charming Neil Dideles, manager of the freshly-opened Desigual boutique in Cours Mont Royal. And by fresh, I mean fresh, as this place hasn’t even had it’s opening launch party yet – they’ve been open for roughly a month or so. (The Desigual brand was previously available at The Bay and select Canadian retailers; this is the first store in Canada dedicated exclusively to the brand.)

The place is practically buzzing with energy and colour. We sat down with the Montreal-born store manager and style maven to pick his mind about Montreal’s newest international fashion boutique, what the Desigual brand can offer the everyday man, and of course what style means to him.

JV: What is Desigual all about?

Neil:  The brand originated in Barcelona in 1984 – we’ll be celebrating our 30th anniversary next year. In a nutshell, the brand’s mantra is “Fun, Love & Sex.” The pieces are unique and exciting.

JV: What about the design?

Neil: If you look around, you’ll see it’s all about the lighting. There are spotlights on select items in store to ‘highlight’ them … The bottles in the ceiling are there to reflect light, they make the store’s atmosphere bright. I have customers who come in and say they feel good just by walking in; that’s the intended effect.

JV: Why was it important for Desigual to open their first official Canadian store in Montreal?

Neil: Given the brand’s European roots, I think they selected Montreal since it already had that ‘European’ vibe, especially when it comes to fashion. Also, the it seemed that the brand was most in demand here. We chose Cours Mont Royal more specifically because there are many ‘exclusive to Montreal’ brands housed here – DKNY, Club Monaco, Harry Rosen and Matinique, among others. We feel like we fit in quite nicely.

JV: Why is Montreal a great city for fashion?

Neil: Much like European culture, we take pride in how we dress. There’s a freedom here, you can basically wear what you want and people won’t judge you.

JV: How do you personally relate to the brand? How does it fit into your personal style?

Neil: I believe my style has evolved over the years. I now value function over fashion… Especially given our Canadian winters, it’s important for me to stay warm. In the summer, I’m all about colour and fun. Desigual has some great statement pieces that can truly make an outfit ‘pop.’ You really have to view our collection piece by piece, not to mention the fit is great. The one thing about Desigual is that you can’t be afraid to try the pieces on. They might look a little overwhelming, but you won’t know unless you try. I encourage this for all our shoppers, particularly men – you can’t be afraid, you have to get into the changing room to get the full effect! I believe everyone should have at least one piece from Desigual in their wardrobe.

JV: What does style mean to you?

Neil: Style is personal, it’s about how you put fashion together. It’s about what you bring to fashion. I believe the right outfit can change your mood; when you look good, it changes your outlook and gives you ‘swag.’

JV: True! So what fashion tips do you have for the modern man?

Neil: Again, TRY IT ON! It’s important to know the fit of what you’re buying. Take more risks in your choices, and don’t be afraid of colour.

(Sidenote: Neil is of Philippino heritage, and he shared the following article on how people can provide help to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan – the following HuffPost link provides info on the World Food Programme, Red Cross, World Vision and more. Please donate!)

Where: Cours Mont Royal, 2nd floor, 1455 Peel Street, Montreal, QC
For more info: http://www.desigual.com/en_CA

Fashionably yours,

Joel xx

It was a cold spooky night of October in the Old Montreal, on the most perfect setting for a Halloween party. When my UberTaxi dropped me off in front of Hotel Pierre Du Calvet, I first noticed well dressed guests coming down the stony steet, and whose laughter were vanishing as they were getting inside the old venue. No, seriously it was creepy – at first! But as soon I pushed the door of the castle-like hotel, a warm feeling wrapped me up as I wandered through the different baroque rooms – Trying to find the belles of the ball (aka organizers of the event) –  Tilila Idbalkassem & The EliasSisters (Rim & Rita, two adorable sisters who founded their event production company a while ago). I was pleasantly surprised. The large rooms were elegantly decorated with candles and flowers. Young and good-looking socialites were all over, cheering with champagne and mingling around. The ladies looked ravishing on their tailored dresses and men looked super mysterious. I was seduced by the event itself– It felt like a reinterpretation of an aristocratic debuting ball in the 18th century !

“Fati?” – I didn’t recognize her at first but she was there. An old friend with whom I attended Cegep back in the time I wanted to become a doctor (I completely sucked at even trying being that). Now she’s a pharmacist, engaged to the man of her dreams and evolving in this funny thing we call life. We hugged, and laughed on time that flies so fast. It was like bumping into an old ”me”, with different hopes and dreams. We cheered to who we were, who we became and to unexpected reunions. Then we moved along the party, each one with her crew, dancing to the wee hours of the night. It was the perfect Halloween party, and I can’t help but look forward the next edition! Cheers to the organizers!

Credit Photo : Josée Lecompte