Interviewing sisters Chloe and Parris Gordon is a bit like what it must have been like to film the couples that dot When Harry met Sally with impromptu comedic nuggets: They interrupt each other, they lol constantly, and each frames a story so that the other comes out on top. (“Whatever Chloe was wearing, everyone wanted to wear,” says Parris.) Chloe, 32, and Parris, 29, have the kind of sisterly bond written about in books, and one that is exemplified in Beaufille, the fashion and jewellery brand they co-create. Beaufille, meaning “handsome girl,” represents the point at which the sisters’ styles converge: Chloe is a minimalist with a proclivity for wearing all black and menswear-inspired pieces, while Parris errs on the feminine side, often using wild flowers as the inspiration for the brand’s jewellery designs.
"The vent in my room didn’t have a cover on it and when I was younger, I’d and throw old toys down there. It got to the point where there was no heat or A/C." - Chloe
It wasn’t always perfect though, “I used to steal Parris’s clothes and write my name inside in permanent marker,” says Chloe. “Our biggest fights were about style – someone stealing someone’s clothes or copying the other.”
While both had fashion rumblings early, Parris leaned into her aesthetic hard. “I very distinctly started developing my personal style from grade 6 to 9. It was grunge, and I would wear Converse sneakers and then Chloe went to boarding school and told me that a guy said it was ‘really hot when girls wore Converse.’ I was like, you took that from me!” says Parris. In university, the tables turned; “I very much took the torch from Chloe – she was really bohemian and into the Halifax second-hand scene and I fully followed suit in how to develop myself in the university years.”
The two always planned on working together, but it wasn’t until they both attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, that Beaufille (which was called Chloe Comme Parris at the time) was born. Chloe studied fashion, while Parris specialized in jewellery design and metalsmithing. “We’d both finish a body of work each semester and bring our work home. We were styling it together and we thought, let’s have a photoshoot and see how this turns out,” says Chloe. “People were as excited by it as we were, and we were having so much fun with it that we were willing to take it more seriously.”
One step into the Gordons’ childhood home brings instant clarity to the sisters’ artistic paths. Located in Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood, the Tudor overflows with their mother, Eve’s frescoes. There’s scarcely a surface untouched by Eve’s romantic Rococo brushwork, from walls to floors to mirrors to custom-made headboards.
A life-long artist with a flair for fashion, Eve instilled good taste in the sisters, whether they liked it or not. “She always had a very individual vision and aesthetic and has carried it through her whole life,” says Parris. “We were super weirded out by it when we were younger. We’d say, ‘Why can’t you dress like the other moms? You dress like a crazy person!’” Later, she’d become a muse and collaborator for her daughters, even designing prints for several of their early collections. “We were hearing names in fashion courses that our mom had owned her entire life. We’d bring some of her clothes to school and our teachers were blown away,” says Parris. “From art school on, we were just like, ‘bow down!’”
Eve’s influence still reigns supreme for the sisters, who recently included one of her watercolour prints from the seventies on an airy dress in the Spring 2020 collection. “Seeing how the creativity can touch anything and everything inspires us a lot, says Chloe. “Parris has been making a lot of objects lately too. Our minds don’t just think clothing and jewellery, we think about the world it lives in.”