Designer Hélène de Grandpré specialized in women’s suits, evening wear and wedding dresses. Over the course of her career, she created both custom-made garments and ready-to-wear collections.
Born in the United States under the name Hélène Letendre, she moved to Canada when she was two years old. In 1977, at the age of 35, she enrolled in Montreal’s Cotnoir Capponi school of fashion design, where she trained until 1982. During the same period, she studied millinery with Madam Lenoir, learning the techniques of Gérard Le Testut and Jeanne Chantron. From 1982 to 1985, she took courses in machine knitting and fur working at LaSalle College in Montreal.
In 1985, after presenting her clothing alongside two Toronto fashion designers in a fashion show, she was inspired to open her own atelier on Nelson Avenue in Outremont. All of her creations were produced in-house.
In 1990, she launched a ready-to-wear line composed primarily of suits to reach a broader clientele of professional women.
To sell this new collection, Hélène de Grandpré opened a store at 2127 Guy Street in downtown Montreal, but had to close it one year later. In addition, the designer created employee uniforms for various businesses, notably banks, law firms and the Casino de Montréal.
Hélène de Grandpré played an active role in her professional milieu. For example, she was the regional director of the Montreal Fashion Group from 1991 to 1993, and became a jury member for the Fondation de la mode de Montréal’s annual competition in 1999. Hélène de Grandpré retired in 2012 at the age of 70.
«Buyers Pick Tops in Design Awards», Fur Age Weekly, 2 May 1994, p. 2-3.
« Le prêt-à-porter Hélène de Grandpré », La Presse, 16 October 1990, (récupéré dans Eureka)
Pâquet, Hélène. «Hélène de Grandpré. Une femme de la haute… couture», Clin d’œil, no 163, January 1994, p. 26.
Madeleine Goubau, Contributor