Brian Cytrynbaum, Montreal designer of luxury clothing

Original title : Brian Cytrynbaum – Putting down roots

Photos : Mireille Caza

Brian Cytrynbaum can travel wherever he likes, do business with the biggest names in his profession, and spend time in New York, Paris, or Monaco. However, he has chosen the laurentian town of Saint-Donat as his home base for relaxation—a place that is close to his roots and his heart.

A low-profile man with no computer or email address, Brian Cytrynbaum slips into a conversation with the ease of someone who spends a lot of time with people. Born into a Montréal family of lawyers, he opted for the more relaxed look of a business suit instead of legal robes. By the age of 21, he was running a clothing company. “I then realized that I needed more training.” He quickly decided to go back to school and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, more specifically, the Wharton School—the oldest business school in the United States.

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After completing his studies, he returned to Quebec, where he founded a manufacturing company specialized in luxury clothing, including flagship brand Majestic Filatures. Well known among European connoisseurs of high-end products, this name is less familiar to North Americans.

This is perhaps because the company’s headquarters are in Paris and its core basics are often tagged with the labels of 175 of the world’s biggest luxury brands. “These very fine knits are produced primarily in Germany, France, and Portugal in three facilities: a spinning mill, a knitting factory, and a manufacturing plant. We buy our raw material directly from the source and have a partnership with a producer of extra long staple (ELS) combed cotton in Fresno, California.”

To serve the often-ignored market of buyers looking for the best pricequality ratio, Majestic Filatures also has a house brand. As Brian Cytrynbaum explains, “We offer affordable luxury, that is, the best quality clothing at the best price. Once a client tries one of our pieces, they adopt it.” He does not hide the fact that, despite a continually fragmented textile market, the pandemic has in fact benefited him as customers abandon dressier outfits for more relaxed clothing.

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His entire business is based on the very simple principle of offering the best quality at affordable prices. Although it appears that Brian Cytrynbaum could talk all day about Majestic Filatures and its 17,000 points of sale, he in fact has interests in other areas as well. “We purchased the Kiki de Montparnasse luxury lingerie brand almost four years ago and are using the same approach. Kiki products have always been made of very high-quality materials, but without our manufacturing model, which controls every step from raw material to finished product, the brand was unable to offer a better price. Today, pieces that used to retail for $600 now sell for $300.”

In all fourteen of his business divisions, Brian Cytrynbaum works to implement the same system, to reach the same informed, educated clientele that is looking for thoughtful, sustainable choices. “Our fourteen divisions are the best in their niche. We never settle for second place. Although one of my businesses only manufactures one jacket and another makes just one pair of slacks, they are the best, at the best price.” As if the clothing business were not enough, Brian Cytrynbaum also owns Starlink Aviation, a private charter company, the Java U café chain and several real estate interests.

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Cindy Bruna wearing this timeless basic.

It is hard to believe that the man still finds time to relax. “I like to build things. That’s probably the common link between my company and my property in the Laurentians.” Just 90 minutes from Montréal, in the Laurentian forest, lies Brian Cytrynbaum’s greatest passion. “This is where I can commune with nature and spend time with my family.” His enormous property—over 1500 acres—covers an area the size of Monaco. “My parents had a cottage on Lake Archambault. I looked around in the surrounding area, but it is the only lake for me.”

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He started by building the main house, followed by a guest house and workshop with sawmill. He grows lettuce and tomatoes in his garden, raises alpacas and chickens, built a running track, tennis court, and basketball court, and carved out 35 kilometres of trails on the mountain. He also has a beach on the lake where he moors a wide variety of watercraft. The property offers everything his family of four boys could need. “I usually spend the summer and winter in Saint-Donat. This year was the first time I was there from March to September. I discovered an entire ecosystem, including dam-building beavers. I really love trees, so I had time to work with wood, making planks using felled trees. It was incredible.”

A true enthusiast, he likes to say Canada now has the world’s best climate with its longer summers and milder winters. As he notes, he was not the only person to head north, and the pandemic has only exacerbated things. “The Laurentians are right here, so close to the city in Quebec. We have space!” He goes on to say that it is possible to transplant one’s urban lifestyle, with all of its associated comforts, without losing anything of the natural environment.

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His love for the north has led him to get involved in a project to develop single-family homes on Mont Jasper. Yet another business to watch where Brian Cytrynbaum will no doubt leverage what he already knows how to do so well: satisfy clients by offering the best quality.

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