Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, wife of Justin Trudeau, is Canada's latest style icon
Wardrobe already sought after: Erdem dress, Chapeaux de Madeleine hat, Sentaler coats
Gracing the pages of the latest issue of fashion bible Vogue and inspiring myriad tweets, blogposts and articles about her sartorial choices, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau is Canada's latest fashion icon.
In Grégoire-Trudeau, wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Canadian fashion industry has finally got what it's been waiting for: an internationally recognized figure garnering lots of media attention, who loves fashion and — though she doesn't exclusively wear all-Canadian designs — is perfectly poised to promote the homegrown industry.
She's already sparked a sort of "Sophie effect" in which — like Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge — her wardrobe selections are instantly dissected and immediately sought after: from the Erdem dress she wore to Trudeau's swearing-in to the vintage-style Chapeaux de Madeleine hat she wore on Remembrance Day to her Sentaler coat.
"It's been very, very positive, amazing for the brand," Bojana Sentaler, creative director of Toronto-based Sentaler, told CBC News.
"The response we've seen across the nation has been incredible. Sophie really helped us put Sentaler on the map across the entire nation. Clients want the coat that Sophie is wearing ... it's been quite incredible."
If she can chat it up for us or strut a little bit,she does a wonderful service because she looks so great in the clothes. It's a win-win situation for all of us.'- Jeanne Beker
With greater attention comes scrutiny, of course.
That Grégoire-Trudeau wore an Oscar de la Renta dress — and not a Canadian design — in the Vogue spread disappointed some Canadians. Also, a press release from Birks trumpeting a diamond brooch she wore to meet the Queen wasn't so enthusiastically received by the Prime Minister's Office.
Alan Middleton, assistant professor of marketing at York University's Schulich School of Business, says the Birks flap showed the team's inexperience with these kind of matters and that in the future the PMO will have to be transparent and communicate whether items worn are donations or not.
"First of all the opposition is going to be all over it, [and] secondly and mostly importantly it's against the brand Justin Trudeau is trying to establish, which is open and authentic … ," said Middleton.
Some might consider fashion a flight of fancy, but for the domestic industry, a likeable style icon with an international profile can provide a much-needed boost and serve as an advocate for Canadian fashion.
"If we can get international tongues wagging about what our prime minister's wife is wearing, that pleases people," according to veteran fashion journalist Jeanne Beker.
"If they are interested and if she can chat it up for us or strut a little bit, she does a wonderful service because she looks so great in the clothes. It's a win-win situation for all of us."
With files from Ilana Banks and Deana Sumanac-Johnson