WANT Les Essentiels Launches Designer Showcase Series With Bec Brittain

The cult accessories maker paired up with the lighting designer to outfit its New York boutique.

The cult accessories maker paired up with the lighting designer to outfit its New York boutique.

When Dexter and Byron Peart founded Montreal-based accessories line WANT Les Essentiels in 2007, their mission was clear: bring refined yet unfussy accessories to those who share their eye for the thoughtfully understated. The concept took off—the bags achieved cult status and became the brand’s raison d’être. Barneys, Opening Ceremony, and SSENSE soon took note and started supplying the brand’s namesake line along with its curated selection of apparel by the likes of Acne Studios, Comme Des Garçons, Jil Sander, and Toteme.

The brand soon ventured to New York City, christening a cozy West Village storefront—previously a Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique—as their own. Pleasant, home-like design details abound: arched windows, mid-century furnishings, and even a seating nook where customers can relax and enjoy tea. Channeling her love for architecture and design, Christine Charlebois, the brand’s newly appointed creative director, recently outfitted the shop with concrete plinth-like displays that nod to Le Corbusier. While an eye-catching addition, the merchandise takes true pride of place—shoes, bags, and wallets rest atop each pedestal. It’s an unconventionally clever addition that mirrors WANT’s look and feel.

But one key aspect was missing: community. How could Charlebois, a former couturier, pay homage to the designers that were crucial to her creative trajectory, while also generating buzz and foot traffic? “We’re launching a series of small exhibitions and events that explore similarities in between fashion and design,” says Charlebois, who tapped lighting designer Bec Brittain for the inaugural showcase, which opens this evening. “Her work spoke to us immediately—we share a similar approach to design, so it felt like a natural evolution for us to work together.”

It’s an apt choice. Brittain has carved a niche in the design world with her coveted, constellation-like fixtures that create relationships between normally disparate elements. For WANT, she turned to tromp l’oeil. A series of suspended trapezoidal mirrors hang from the ceiling, with cylindrical LEDs mounted alongside. The setup adds depth, drama, and discovery. Nearby, a trio of Flag fixtures cast the store aglow in a peachy palette. According to both designers, it’s a fruitful partnership—perhaps the first of many. “WANT has such a solid history of quiet but exquisitely produced work that transcends trends,” says Brittain. “And ultimately, that’s my own personal brief too.”

(Photos: Clément Pascal)

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