Decorating & Design

October 3, 2011

Interview: Joseph Mimran

Over the same 20 years that House & Home grew to become Canada’s best-selling decorating magazine, Joseph Mimran experienced a similar ascent, using his experience in the designer clothing business of the early 1980s as a launching pad for his current role of style and brand guru par excellence. After creating a number of designer brands, including Alfred Sung, with his brother Saul, Mimran co-founded Club Monaco in 1984. As president and CEO of the trendy fashion retailer, he oversaw a period of meteoric financial growth and the eventual opening of 140 stores in North America and Asia; the company’s approach to merchandising and advertising also presaged the value-conscious lifestyle marketing of the 1990s. In 1995, Mimran extended the Club Monaco philosophy to home decor with the creation of Caban, a unique apparel and housewares chain geared toward the growing legions of design-conscious consumers; Mimran sold both Club Monaco and Caban to Polo Ralph Lauren in 2000. Following the sale, he started Joseph Mimran & Associates, a product design and development firm that has since spearheaded the launch of such innovative and successful brands as the President’s Choice Home Collection (consisting of decor, bath and kitchen products), Pink Tartan (a contemporary sportswear line designed by his wife, Kimberley Newport-Mimran) and the Joe Fresh Style brand of men’s and women’s clothing. In addition, Mimran is the chair of the Fashion Design Council of Canada. He has three daughters and a son, and currently lives in Toronto.

House & Home: What do you like most about your home?

Joseph Mimran: Our home is an escape. I love its combination of luxurious materials and modern elegance. Also, our garden is very tailored and precise, but surrounded by mature trees; it feels like we’re in the country, but in fact we’re only five minutes from Bloor Street.

H&H: How would you describe your sense of style?

JM: Modern classic with a touch of glamour.

H&H: Do you have a favourite colour scheme?

JM: Because every season offers new colour combinations, I have always liked a neutral palette; it allows me to consider any possibility.

H&H: Do you collect anything?

JM: I have always loved art. I find pieces in Toronto, New York and the international art show, Art Basel.

H&H: What’s your idea of the perfect getaway?

JM: Italy’s Amalfi coast, particularly the clifftop Casa Angelina just outside Positano. I also like La Mamounia in Marrakech, which has stayed the same for the last 30 years.

H&H: What country or culture inspires you right now?

JM: Design has exploded worldwide: pick the place you love and you can find inspiration. Having said that, I like the verve of the world’s biggest cities — New York, Paris, London, Tokyo — for inspiration. It just can’t be duplicated.

H&H: What is your idea of a perfect night out?

JM: Great, simple food, great wine and great conversation with friends.

H&H: Whose personal style do you most admire?

JM: Anyone who understands “the good life” and enjoys it.

H&H: What is your secret indulgence?

JM: Organic dark chocolate.

H&H: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

JM: My kids.

H&H: What is your definition of beauty?

JM: Youth; a beautiful spirit; a giving, caring soul.

H&H: What couldn’t you live without at home?

JM: Besides my wife and kids? Music.

H&H: Finish this sentence: I feel most comfortable when…

JM: …sales are good.

H&H: What makes you feel rich, fulfilled and happy?

JM: Creating.

H&H: What gets you out of bed in the morning?

JM: Developing a product the consumer wants.