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Chris Gelinas Is A New York City Designer Rising To The Top
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Chris Gelinas Is A New York City Designer Rising To The Top

Picture of Katie Shine
Updated: 6 December 2016
Fashion designers and fashion writers may come and go in New York City, but residents have to remind themselves that legends are also created here. After studying the career of Chris Gelinas, it is obvious this 2014 LVMH finalist is no one-trick pony but rather an artist with a devout commitment to his craft and the development of his New York-centric brand.

Gelinas’ debut line, CG, satisfies urban, ready-to-wear customers while simultaneously garnering high-end fashion accolades. In addition to receiving the honor of being named a LVMH finalist, Gelinas’ work has been featured in Women’s Wear Daily, Italian Vogue, and the New York Times, and is proudly promoted by stylish ingénues like Kiernan Shipka and Lizzy Caplan. This winner of the Made for Peroni Young Designer Award in 2013 has managed to produce the garments every fashion-forward-yet-practical city dweller dreams of. Chic women in New York are always obsessed with finding the best designers in all mediums, so it comes as no surprise that they are clamoring for Gelinas’ inspired pieces that yield to the feminine body, remain timelessly beautiful, and — dare we say — are also comfortable to wear.

The magic of Gelinas did not appear out of nowhere. This thoughtful, hard-working, Canadian-born designer has had his share of experience in the fashion merchandising and design world before turning 30. With design genes in his bones (his dressmaker grandmother and furniture craftsman grandfather inspired him), this Parsons graduate spent time working in the buying field at Marc Jacobs and assisting in the design process at Proenza Schouler, Balenciaga, and Olivier Theyskens’ Theory.

After gaining invaluable skills at his high-profile apprenticeships, Gelinas became the founder of his own line. ‘CG’ does not cater to only one specific type of woman but rather fills the needs and desires of any person with an appreciation for aesthetic and quality rather than convenience. With thoughtfully produced prints, innovative fabric pairings, and a quietly confident sensibility, the line exudes the understated glamour of past Hollywood screen sirens. Gelinas’ clothes are so timeless that they not only belong in a contemporary woman’s closet but also beg to be passed along to her stylish daughters and granddaughters in future decades. Since his ideal client is a woman who lives, breathes, and works in a vibrant, bustling place, it is fitting that his collection is locally produced in New York City. This level of craftsmanship explains his complete involvement in the small-batch design and distribution processes. There are even whispers of Gelinas eyeing a foray into custom-made options for online shoppers.

With four fashion show seasons under his belt, CG has displayed both a design consistency and versatility in his work. Spring and Fall 2014 witnessed the display of his quietly sultry pieces with a 1960s sensibility. The black garments, slimly voluminous skirts, delicate zippers, and Peter Pan collars spoke to women of all ages. Fall 2014 was marked by intriguing fur-like shrugs (worn both on the shoulders and as cross-body feminine armor), body-revealing crop tops, turtlenecks, and corsets, paired with loose, cropped trousers and pencil skirts. The anoraks and ingenious check and geometric prints of the Spring 2015 collection were to be coveted by any woman, whether from New York or Nebraska.

CG’s Fall/Winter 2015 collection may have been Gelinas’ biggest breakthrough yet. His collection came across as fresh, aesthetically clean, expertly crafted, approachable, utilitarian, and deceivingly simple. His clothes are perfect for a style-conscious office gig, an elegant evening out, or a jaunt around town. No matter the occasion, CG is irresistible to all modern women with an appreciation for style.

If you are already lusting after the remarkable handiwork of Gelinas, fear not. His collection may not be mass-produced but it will not take a feat of wonder to get your hands on a piece of his work. In a fashion partnership match made in heaven, Gelinas collaborated with Clare Distenfeld’s inspirational Upper East Side boutique, Fivestory. Known for its exquisitely curated direction, attention to detail, and focus on new American designers, this fascinating townhouse emporium (or shall we say, dream house) has regularly featured CG pieces to serve New York clientele. No doubt it is an appropriate launching pad for a bright star poised to become the king of quality design in New York.