As a rule, only home-improving Dads and Home Depot employees get excited about laminate countertops. But one Toronto designer saw a rare opportunity to create vivid, homeware-inspired apparel — where most just see an opportunity for a kitchen renovation.
That’s how FORMICA FLORA was born. It’s just one of many collections by MICHONS MARIGOT — a Toronto label dedicated to blending everyday elements with classic shapes, creating punchbowl-bright prints on dynamic silhouettes.
The label’s namesake designer, Michons Marigot, consistently plays on opposites in her designs, and her luxury, ready-to-wear line applies that philosophy to statement outerwear in a big way.
“I love coats, I love heavy fabric and I love embellishment and creating practical, yet beautiful garments,” said Marigot. “I like to keep the silhouette simple and focus on the tactile and visual elements in the textiles I use for each piece.” She skillfully employs this strategy in her FORMICA FLORA collection: colours and prints leap off of the simple shapes that Marigot chooses.
“FORMICA FLORA was one of the fastest collections I have designed. The whole thing came together within hours,” said Marigot. “I had always had a vested interest in kitsch, homewares and objects in general. It seemed to come out of nowhere and it all made sense.”
Marigot came up with the concept while working in a restaurant. The tabletops in it were crafted by Formica — a company that designs laminate countertops. Seeing those tables day in and day out stirred the designer to incorporate that aesthetic into jacket, dress, and even hat designs.
“I liked the relationship between the artificiality of the Formica, in opposition to the florals,” said Marigot.
Born and raised in Toronto, Michons Marigot believes the pace of the city encouraged her to be highly observant from a very young age. With a Bachelor of Design from Ryerson University, Marigot’s keen eye and skill has led her to work with the likes of Joe Fresh, TopShop, Rita Liefhebber, and Book Moda as a technical designer, illustrator, and graphic designer.
That eye for the unusual within the usual is what makes Marigot’s designs distinctive.
The clues for what inspired DUPLICITY, her first collection, lie in its prints. DUPLICITY features images of bottles superimposed onto the clothing. Bottle-digging, a hobby where people hunt for and collect antique bottles, inspired the collection in part. She said she took motifs for her prints from a UNITS book on bottle-digging, as well as from hanging with bottle-digging friends in the city. DUPLICITY was Marigot’s final project before graduating from Ryerson’s fashion program in 2013, and to her, one of her most meaningful.
“I had been working my whole life to that point in anticipation of it,” Marigot said. “(It) was a comment on the mislabeled dichotomy of art and craft, and how they in reality work in tandem.”
In DUPLICITY, she said she wanted to max herself out creatively. Marigot used all the colours, fabrics, and visual references she could to achieve her vision, incorporating leather and fur in the outerwear to keep the collection high-end and luxurious.
For MICHONS MARIGOT the label, she hopes to open up a brick-and-mortar store in the future, as well as a studio space. As for Michons Marigot the person, she’s currently in Florence, Italy — studying Italian and learning new fabric manipulation techniques, while working on a new collection of textiles.
“I will see a floor tile and like it, and it builds from there,” Marigot said. “I like texture.”
Words by Tricia Strachan, Photos by Katrina Cervoni for MICHONS MARIGOT.