The Thursday Q&A with fashion designer Elise Bourque (ElizBourk)
After making her first appearance Ottawa Fashion Week last month, Gatineau fashion designer Elise Bourque is taking a break to gain back some creative strength. This talented young woman, originally from Petit-Rocher, N.B., has wanted to be a designer since she was 14 years old. Her mother taught her to sew and she made her own skirts as a teen. At 18, she moved to Montreal but soon left the big city to come to Ottawa and study design at the Richard Robinson Fashion Design Academy. She now displays her work on her blog (under the name Eliz Bourk). She took time out to chat with Ottawa Citizen Style intern Deanna Spagnuolo.
OCS: Who are your style icons?
EB: I really like Erin Wasson. She has a jewelry line that’s really awesome. She’s really bohemian. And I love Alexander Wang.
OCS: Mac or PC?
OCS: Favourite blog or websites?
EB: There’s Fashion Toast (and) Oracle Fox. I have so many but I don’t even remember half of them because they’re all bookmarked and I just click on the link.
OCS: Best recent fashion find?
EB: I don’t shop a lot because I have a low budget, but I’m always on this site called Nasty Gal. There’s the best jewelry there. I love plain T-shirts with a nice V-neck. And I found these mint green jeans a week ago.
OCS: Your biggest fashion faux-pas?
EB: In high school, I wore a pair of flashy orange jogging pants and a tie-dye sweater to a barbecue and lots of pictures were taken so I’m reminded of it every once in a while but I don’t want to (be). And I tried to start a trend where I bought different colours of the same shoe and wore the mismatched pairs. It didn’t work out though.
OCS: Favourite piece of furniture?
EB: I like antique desks and drawers. I’m really into antique stuff right now.
OCS: Favourite home accessory?
EB: I made a dream catcher that I really like. I have it hanging on my wall in my hallway.
OCS: Qualities you most admire in people?
EB: Honesty, kindness and (humility).
OCS: Fine dining or plain old diners?
EB: I love burger places. I like McDonalds, I go there all the time for their breakfast sandwiches.
OCS: Whom would you invite for dinner if you could choose anyone in the world?
EB: Oh my! Probably some fashion designer. DSQUARED2. I would invite them. They’re pretty cool.
OCS: Favourite food?
EB: I like that Vietnamese soup. Pho.
OCS: Wine, beer or both?
OCS: Favourite beer?
EB: Do I have a favourite beer? I really like Corona.
OCS: Favourite visual artist, living or dead?
EB: I don’t even know much about that. Wait, I have a painting in my living room (by) Angelina Wrona. She does spooky paintings where the girls have really big eyes.
OCS: What’s on your bedside table?
EB: My phone and phone charger. And I have my home phone and a lamp.
OCS: Best book you’ve read this past year?
EB: Oh, this is going to sound so cheesy, but, the Lauren Conrad books. I’ve read all three and they’re really good. And there’s one called Before I Fall (by Lauren Oliver). I love teen books.
OCS: Most-often played song on your iPod?
EB: It’s by Fun. (It’s called) Some Nights. (I have it on) repeat all the time. And there’s another song that was playing during my fashion show by AWOLNATION. I forget the name though.
OCS: Guilty pleasure?
EB: Cupcakes. And McDonalds breakfasts.
OCS: Favourite place to spend time?
EB: I take kick-boxing classes and I really like going there. I just like to stay and talk to people after the class too. It’s nice to get away. Also, anywhere I’m spending time with friends.
OCS: Perfect day off?
EB: Somewhere in Europe shopping for fabrics and just visiting.
OCS: Earliest memory?
EB: I was about six or seven years old. We had a blue porch and I was sitting on it with a friend and we were playing with dolls and talking on big plastic flashy phones.
OCS: Proudest moment?
EB: Ottawa Fashion Week. And a fashion show we had at school. That was awesome and made me feel so good. And there’s something else that I would’ve been proud of if it actually went though. Two years ago, I wrote to Teen Vogue, seeing if there was an opportunity to do anything with them like assisting the styling team. I sent them my blog and a resumé and the editor emailed me back, wanting to meet with me. We scheduled a meeting date and I went to NYC and went to their office but she never showed up. Security tried calling her office a bunch of times but she never answered. And I sent her emails telling her that I was there. It was the biggest deception ever.
OCS: How would you like the world to remember you? What would your eulogist ideally say?
EB: That I was successful, kind and loving. Not like, “Oh she was a little bitch, that one.” That I was passionate and inspiring.
OCS: If you could see the debut of any music piece in history, what would it be?
EB: Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
OCS: Who would you most like to design for?
EB: Lately, I have been looking at Shenae Grimes’ style and I would love to design something for her.
OCS: Who is your favourite local artist?
EB: Stéphanie Martineau, a great painter from Gatineau.
OCS: Twitter, Facebook or both?
EB: Facebook. I don’t even have a Twitter account yet.
OCS: The person, place or thing that makes you proudest/happiest about where you live?
EB: The bike paths all around. It’s so peaceful to go for a jog or rollerblade on them.