It goes without saying that Paul Hardy is one of the most successful fashion stars to come out of Calgary over the years. He’s running a multi-million dollar gambit and his clothing has been worn by the likes of Kate Hudson, Alanis Morissette and Jennifer Hudson. Hardy is a big deal, which is why it makes perfect sense for him to partner with the Calgary Stampede to create a western retail experience unlike any other.
Spawning the new retail concept, CS Mercantile Collection, Hardy has put together more than 1,000 new pieces, ranging from a custom-designed Wrangler baby line to sterling silver necklaces, vintage-inspired belt buckles, home décor and bold urban-western apparel. Drawing from his years of experience as a personal shopper for Holt Renfrew, he spent months pouring over archival photographs provided by the Stampede, before pulling strings and utilizing his personal contacts to secure some of the pieces. Really, he’s acting as the curator or creative director of the collection, if you will, painstakingly putting together pieces that preserve the Stampede’s tradition, yet providing a modern update.
“I expect many of these pieces will be included into one’s wardrobe year round," says Hardy on the Stampede's blog. "There is a deep appeal to those who embrace style regardless of age, regardless of where you work or play, regardless of where you live.”
Hardy ensured his choices balanced out the latest 21st Century retail trends with respect for the institution’s history. As he tells the Calgary Herald, some of his favourite pieces include “designer cowboy boots from Mexico, cheeky T-shirts from Los Angeles and pop-art paintings of historic First Nations chiefs by Calgarian Jane McCloy Pierce.” I think it’s also worth remembering that in 2012, Hardy designed a commemorative white hat for the 100th anniversary of the Stampede and the 50th anniversary of the white hat, making him no stranger to the boot-stomping, dirt-kicking, yee-hawing ways of the west.
The lineup launches online on July 2 and at three locations on the grounds in time for the 2014 Calgary Stampede — if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who get to go.
Images via CalgaryStampede.com