It's always a great thing when, as a fashion columnist, you can feature a local designer whose dedication to the craft and to detail have resulted in a successful career in arguably one of the most fickle segments of the retail industry.
Such is the case for goldsmith Matti Martin, who has recently opened up a namesake boutique and workshop in the heart of "Little Italy" on Lilac Street (which, by the way, is becoming quite the little hub for all things fashionable, artistic and, of course, pretty).
"I approached goldsmithing from a background in fine arts and began exploring it after I was introduced to the work of Albert Paley, now a modernist American metal sculptor who began his career as a goldsmith. I was intrigued by his work and career path," explains Martin.
"My intention was initially to progress into large-scale metal sculpture as well, but as I progressed, I came to appreciate goldmithing more and more."
That was nearly 14 years ago; today, Martin is creating beautifully designed works of wearable art. The pieces are modern, sophisticated and streamlined, with visual elements that catch the eye, such as off-set gem stones in vibrant hues, a melding of gold and silver, and sculptural design.
"I'm inspired by many things: relationships between simple forms often seen in architecture and furniture; colour and natural beauty of gemstones; expression of emotion; the discovery of new techniques and use of new technology -- the list could go on and on," says Martin.
A relative newcomer to the Peg City fashion scene, having spent the bulk of his career in Kelowna, B.C., Martin, who is a born Winnipegger, says reception to his workshop/boutique and collection has been nothing but positive since he opened up shop just a few months ago.
"Reception has been warm and very encouraging. One customer stated they consider Lilac Street to have the nicest retail presence in Winnipeg, comparing it other high-profile locations in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal," says Martin.
And the inspiring location also happens to be the perfect setting in which to create fine jewelry. According to Martin, Lilac Street, with its quaint shops and boutiques, foot traffic and sense of neighbourhood, is ideally situated and just what the goldsmith needed to reignite the entrepreneurial flame.
Matti Martin Goldsmith is located at 159 Lilac St., or you can shop online at www.mattimartin.com
Got a suggestion for a future column or a fashion trend worth following? Email Connie Tamoto at