He wraps women in the finest fibres, creating a timeless elegance. He has invested his whole life in the softest, most beautiful cashmere and merino wool for the ne plus ultra in comfort and style. He is Antoine Nasri, co-founder with his spouse, Odile Bougain Nasri, of ça va de soi.
Antoine Nasri is a tireless businessman, leaping over time zones to negotiate deals with some of the world’s largest spinning companies, in order to ensure a final product that will meet – and exceed – the expectations of his customers. There is no doubt that Mr. Nasri knows his fibres. Which is why his company, ça va de soi, now has four stores across Canada, a 5th location opening in Westmount on Greene Avenue this fall, and a successful online presence. With teams in Italy, France, Canada and Hong Kong, you would think that business is doing well, right? “You know, you have to keep offering more variety and coming up with new ideas. We will soon be expanding our men’s line, and we will be developing more accessories and practical pieces like shirts and blouses. But our main focus is still on raw materials,” said Mr. Nasri during our interview in Montreal. And then there is the expertise he has cultivated over more than 40 years. “Our clothing is timeless. It has no season, no era, no generation,” he added. Indeed, you will not find any fanciful frills or decorations on his knits. It really is all about the raw materials which create simple, beautifully made pieces “to which the wearer adds personal style.”
While he spends most of his time flying between the head office in Montreal and his meetings with master-spinners around the world, Antoine Nasri keeps a close eye on things at his ça va de soi boutique on Laurier Avenue in Outremont. On the shelves are gorgeous, sophisticated knits and luxurious cashmere, all in timeless styles and colours. “My parents had themselves envisioned this same dream throughout theirtravels in Europe, especially Paris and Milan. Achieving this goal was, therefore, a lengthy process,” says Nasri. Every purchase is a worthwhile investment, for quality is what counts for Antoine Nasri and his wife Odile. The story began in the 1970s, when the young Syrian landed in Montreal. Inspired by the Italian cinema of Fellini and the trends spawned by Jane Birkin, he launched a collection full of avant-garde style and social attitude. In 1972, ready-to-wear was at the height of its success, and women were eager to wear beautiful, high fashion clothes. Antoine hitched his wagon to that star and launched his first collection of knits in 1978. He followed with other collections of timeless knits, which he further refined from year to year. What is his process? “I start with the fibre, for that is what orchestrates the style. Then comes colour, and then shape,” he says. The happy marriage between raw material and style comes to life in Italy, where Antoine seeks out the finest Italian fibres. Cashmere and merino wool are selected with the greatest care; the Egyptian cotton is examined with a knowing eye and touch. Once the best materials have been chosen, he then works with top spinners –professionals of international repute – all of whom have the latest technology and practice their trade with absolute dedication. So how does Nasri describe the stye of ça va de soi? “Classics revisited. The design must consider fashion trends, but beauty and the overall esthetic reign supreme. Before we launch a collection, we go through about 7,000 research stages!” he commented.
Ça va de soi is also the story of a family: every member participates in running the company, which continues to be fed by a passion for the business, and an endless pursuit of quality. Designed for comfort, tuned to fashion trends, this is clothing for the ages – a rare combination of fine materials and elegant design that pleases every sense. Perfection!
“Our clothing is timeless. It has no season, no era, no generation.”