Cahier D’Exercices – the “Note Book”,  is one of those unique, perfect little places one finds while roaming about the old city of Montreal. Aesthetically, it is gorgeous as it unlike anything else you will find in this city, and its clothing selection is a fashion lover’s Nirvana.

The concept of this special shopping destination, is to carefully select each piece and give it a proper representation in the boutique; such as an art gallery.  We recently sat down with owner Laura Gurandiano, to find out about her vision for Cahier D’Exercices – and what is next. Read On.

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KA – What is your vision of the modern woman?

LG – I see the modern woman as a sort of below the radar, casual chic. The modern woman is about dressing for herself; especially if she is a professional. I envision her dressing in collections such as, Dries Van Noten; you know as a sort of Marni woman. Not overtly sexy, a little bit more subdued; and more about being chic. That’s my idea of a modern woman.

KA – After Studying in London and working with Vivienne Westwood – what is it about London style that you love so much, and how are you bringing this to Montreal?

LG – I love London street-style. For me, they have always been way ahead – even for Europe. They always have that presence of grunge. I am obsessed with Dries Van Noten’s S/S 2013 grunge plaid shirts. Vivienne Westwood, is iconic. She combines punk and grunge, perfectly with femininity. Her collections are wild, asymmetric but very wearable. In London, every neighborhood has its own notable style – I love this. At our boutique, the essence is girlie meets avant-garde, which always runs through the selection of my collections.  

KA – Is there an up-and coming designer you specifically have your eye on, and that KA Magazine should know about?

LG – Ah there are so many amazing talents! Let me think about it for a second. I wouldn’t say up and coming, but definitely below the radar – is Sacai. A Japanese collection by designer Chitose Abe, who worked with Rei Kawakubo at Comme Des Garcons – extremely feminine and edgy. We do very well with this collection; even though the women buying it are not totally YEY familiar with the designer. Sacai embodies my ideal of “Girlie meets Avant-Garde”.

KA – Tell us about the inspiration behind the design of your space. 5. What is next for Cahier D’Exercises? 6. Who is Laura Gurandiano?

LG – When I found this space, it was an apartment. Beyond the location, I loved the bones of the space. I worked with Gilles Saucier, from Saucier et Perrotte to create this modern and minimalist space. I wanted to do something different, modern, minimal and it was very important to have every piece properly represented – like a piece of art. We also kept all the architectural elements that were already here; such as that brick that we painted matte black. For me, luxury means privacy. So we built very large discreet private rooms, so we can help our clients in their own private space.

KA – What is next for Cahier D’Exercises? 

LG – We launched an online store close to a year ago. We are also doing a small expansion of the store, and taking over the basement for our offices. Beyond that, I am always looking for new designers and collections – And also to innovate client service. I make many private visits to my clients’ homes; there’s a lot that goes on outside of the store. We like to work intimately with our clients – and I have so much fun doing it!

KA – Who is Laura Gurandiano?

LG – I really don’t know yet, I’m not a 100% sure. I do know I’m someone who loves what I do, my store and fashion – that’s really all I know at this stage. That is a tough question – how do people answer that?!

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Photos by Marc Cramer for Saucier+Perrotte Architects