It’s been 1 year, 2 months, 3 days since I set foot in Toronto. My biggest takeaway? The bustling city of over 2.8 million people Never. Fails. To. Surprise. Which in itself is rather surprising, for just when I am about to hit the snooze button with all things hip and happening, the city throws me another bone.
What’s got me hooked at the moment? Canadian designer Stephan Caras of the renowned CARAS brand. Why? Because the renowned designer with his stunning creations makes one feel that fairytales are, indeed, real. Have you looked at the beautiful designs? No? Let me give you some introduction.
Here are five did-you-know, as a non-fashion expert, that caught my eye about the Greek-born, Australian-educated Stephan Caras, and his design house.
CARAS and Tim Hortons!! In 2000, Tim Hortons chose Stephan Caras to design and develop its career-wear collection and update its image.
Geniuses start young: As a young designer, Stephan Caras’ innovative and distinctive style earned him the ‘Gown of the Year’ award in Australia. He was also the wardrobe designer for the winning contestants in the Miss Universe, Miss Queen of the Pacific, Miss Teen International, and Miss World pageants.
Heritage building: How fantastic when an awe-inspiring brand has an equally impressive history. Located at Queen Street E., CARAS building was built in 1905 and originally known as the Canadian Bank of Commerce building. CARAS is now a historically designated heritage building and home to the design studios and flagship boutique of CARAS.
Whimsical beauty: Even though some of my favorite looks are not appropriate for everyday style (imagine wearing one of the designs and getting on the subway!!!), I love the dreamy sentiment it echoes.
Men for women, and doing it the right way: Stephan grew up in a family where his sister was a designer: “At a very early age I spent most of my time in her studio playing and experimenting with various scraps of fabric that I could find in a box where she kept all of the left-over fabrics.” Kyriako, too, spent most of his childhood in the design studio of Stephan Caras. Two men, united by one vision: femininity. As a woman, I got to say, the two talented men have got it down to the T. *All the women across the world say, AMEN!*
Now, allow the pictures to do all the talking. Moment of silence, please.
Fashion is not my forte, but I do appreciate beauty. So, rather than depending on my limited knowledge to decode the aesthetic and history behind the legendary fashion icon, I decided to bring on board Ankita from Be Bohemian Blogger—a fashion and beauty blog by Toronto-based fashion design students Puja and Ankita.
Q1. As two bloggers who are just entering the fashion industry, what was it about Stephan Caras (SC), as a designer and a brand, that caught your attention?
Ankita: I first saw his work in collaboration with Moroccanoil and Salon Magazine. The gowns worn by the models were fit for a queen, and the attention to detail absolutely breathtaking. It was the designer’s unrelenting pursuit of perfection that caught our attention.
Q2. They say, ‘Never go into a business with family or friends’, yet CARAS’ success defies this age-old wisdom. What has been some inspiring lessons you learned from the father-son partnership?
Ankita: I’m sure it must have been challenging for Kyriako Caras, as it’s not just about walking in the footsteps of a great designer father, but also bringing in something new and equally creative to the table. What I have learned from their successful partnership is that it can be intimidating, but you can either sink and give into the pressure, or you can stand your ground and make your unique creative voice be heard and respected. Younger Caras does that perfectly well; which is great for bloggers like us, because when you are entering the fashion industry, intimidation is one of the key factors many give into.
Q3. From a purely technical perspective, what’s it about SC that sets it apart from other Canadian designers? Internationally, who would you compare it to?
Ankita: To be very fair, I don’t like comparing artists, it somehow feels disrespectful. Your art, creativity is what sets you apart from others and you can never say two people are alike. What I like about SC is that his designs are feminine and powerful. They represent women, women of today. The color combinations, fabric choices, and details are dramatically beautiful.
Q4. If only in our dreams… which one is your favorite design? (Psst, Santa man, you listening?)
Ankita: One of my favorite pieces is from the Rubi Fall/Winter 2015 collection—beautiful black sheer top with a rich red full skirt, powerfully feminine.
Q5. As fashion bloggers, what design aesthetic of SC resonates with your brand?
Ankita: I’m all about body positivity and feeling strong and confident in your style preferences. It’s vital to respect beauty in all shapes and sizes. SC is known use his knowledge of culture and history, and interpret it effectively through his creative vision. It’s beautiful to be able to see the influence of age-old cultural impressions on garments of today.
(Photo source: stephancaras.com)
Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.