Mackage’s Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy On Killer Coats, Dabbling In Handbags, And More

by Alexandra Ilyashov

Mackage might be known for its impressively chic and warm outerwear (no small feat to pair those adjectives together when it comes to coats), but the 15-year-old Canadian brand’s cofounders, Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy, have plenty more up their well-insulated sleeves. The duo walked us through their structured spate of handbags and supple bright Spring leather toppers on a quick, jam-packed trip to NYC and discussed the latest for the label. 

What’s on the docket for
Eran: We added a few very bright colors, we added indigo, we have fuschia, we started doing very light downs with stretch. They’re extremely comfortable! It’s almost like a little cardigan that you could wear and the stretch is for the comfort. It’s very practical.

How did  you approach your foray into handbag design?
Eran: We love architectural stuff: If we weren’t designers, we would have been architects!  We love to travel to Japan, Korea, many countries to just see architectural stuff. So the bags are a new challenge for us; they’re very architectural.  We think a lot about hardware, so we developed our own locks, because we didn’t want to use conventional locks.
Elisa: Our coats are so recognizable. You don’t really need to see a label to know that they are ours. So we had to figure out a signature look for our bags.

Tell us about this bespoke hardware!
We didn’t want to use a key shape, and when we saw the arrow, it caught our eye. There’s also a little pocket where you can tuck it away. It’s become our signature. Now, we are starting to do the arrow on some jackets. We’re known for our big zippers for our coats, so we have a lot of zippers on our bags, too.

How are Mackage’s bags priced?
Elisa: Handbags are super expensive these days! It’s fun to mix; I have bags that are $5,000, and I have our bags, which retail at $350.

How many coats are in your closet?
Eran:  I have so many75, I’d saythat sometimes I forget I own a coat until I see it on somebody else and realize I have it, too. The only reason why we started men’s is because I was so jealous of that Elissa was always taking home 20 coats a season; she probably has 10 times more coats than me. She has coats from 2001…and she still wears them!

Mackage turned 15 this year. Did you celebrate?
Elisa: Not really! I think we’re always onto the next project. Our big focus has been the handbags lately, so right now we’re nurture that like it’s our new baby. I
feel like we have so much more to accomplish; it’s not time to celebrate it.

What do you hope to accomplish before the brand rings in two decades?
 I’m hoping by then we have more retail stores. That’s definitely a big goal of ours.

Canada is notoriously chilly. Any tips for surviving the possible return of the Polar Vortex?
Eran: Wear a down jacket but if you layer a wool or cashmere jacket under you are going to get twice the heat. The wool keeps the heat and the down warms it. As long as your down jacket is wind proof so air doesn’t come out.

Are you fond of low temps?
I don’t love the winter, but I miss it when I don’t have it. I love wearing coats and I love layering, though, of course, I would usually rather be on the beach.  As long as I can break from the winter and go away: sometimes we have to go to LA. or Miami, and just getting away from the cold for three or four days makes a huge difference.

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