Junior Style Exclusive: Shana Laub on the Shan and Toad Début Collection

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Shan and Toad—the internationally trend-setting boutique that is synonymous with childrenswear chic—has some exciting things up their sleeve. In this edition of Chit Chat Tuesday, we kick it with Chief Curator and Creative Director Shana Laub for an inside look at their début collection, Shan and Toad.

JS: Shan and Toad—the name, the logo, and even the gorgeous look books that you have commissioned over the past couple of years all suggest a very romantic, almost literary interpretation of children’s fashion. From where do you draw your creative inspiration and ideas for the Shan and Toad brand?

SL: Thank you for your warm compliments!  Shan and Toad was born following the birth of my third daughter.  Shan and Toad was opened on a whim, as I didn’t quite realize what I was getting myself into.  Launching with a few small brands, I quickly got carried away, as I usually do.  Five years and two additional daughters later, here were are: a little multi-brand e-shop, with a world-wide following.

I have always been passionate about fashion and design, some may even call it a bit crazed.  Accompanying me on a shopping trip is always fun, as I delight in the littlest nuances and details.  I get giddy over embellished shoes, outlandish prints, over-the-top silhouettes, and even fine workmanship.  Suddenly this delight and glee carried over to wardrob-ing the girls.  I never found what I was looking for in just one shop, and was always scouring the latest kids fashion magazines and European shops for something unusually special.

I pride myself and the shop in being a one-of-a-kind, trend-setting destination.  Extremely attentive to woman’s fashion, ready to wear, couture, and everything in between, I look for hints that can be carried over to kidswear. I am extremely detail-oriented and that carries over to the design aesthetic, as well as the versatility and wearability of our collections.  As you pointed out, I am a bit of a romantic, always drawn to whispers, undertones, the dreamy; and I’ll admit, sometimes the impractical.

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JS: You are launching an eponymous collection this spring—the sneak peeks we have seen on Instagram allude to a very feminine collection with soft pastels, lots of flowers, and beautiful knits. What else can we expect from your début collection? Is there a piece you are most proud of?

SL: Being a mother of 5 girls, and somewhat a “girly girl” myself, I am especially drawn to the more feminine and delicate.  Not to say, I don’t appreciate a bit of punk, funk, and ruddiness. On the contrary, I am the antithesis of the bows and frills. However, I am still inclined to infuse a faint and airy feeling to the collections.  This début Shan and Toad collection is especially dear to me, as I have been dreaming of designing and creating for as long as I can remember.   Finally, I found some spare moments during the wee hours of the night, and have surprised myself that it has actually come to fruition.

Many of the pieces in the collection are classic pieces, infused with some modernity, or contemporary style.  The most prominent design element in the new collection would be the fancy flower appliqués that appear on the play-suits, blouses, and even on the adorable little boys’ pocket squares.  I have a special adoration for flowers and blossoms, and I think they breathe a fresh and spirited vibe.  The knits are exquisite, my favourite being the modish, muted-melange bandeau piece, which can be worn alone,  layered atop vibrant print blouses, or beneath the cardigan and poncho.

JS: You have worked with several brilliant photographers on prior Shan and Toad lookbooks. For your new collection, NYC-based photographer Gina Kim lent her talents to the Shan and Toad collection. What was it like working with Gina?

SL: With the hectic schedule of the new season, we looked for someone that could spearhead this project from beginning to end.  Gina organized all aspects of the lookbook from casting to styling, to photography.  Gina has a refined and sophisticated way, which shines through in all of her work.  Her photography is always elegant and tasteful. There is something very gentle about it.

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JS: Your three daughters are the original inspiration behind Shan and Toad. Did the girls have a hand in your new range?

SL: There are 5 daughters now, and although it sounds surreal, and may seem rather chaotic at times, it is a lively household infused with unbound energy, creativity, and absolute spunk.  Each and every one is creative in her own right, with the humorous quirks and matchless characteristics that make them unique and exceptional.  And the best part is that they almost always behave in public.  Let’s just say, it is never boring and I never seem to stop cleaning up paper scraps, crafts, pencil shavings, mural/wall-drawings, and the like.

Many of the pieces from the Shan and Toad capsule were inspired by the girls, or have some component that is reminiscent of them.  Let us not forget the hubby, who can be quite the creative inspiration, as well.

SL: Launching your own collection must have required a lot of careful planning. Did you have any mentors along the way?

I had the help of a dear friend and colleague, who coached me the entire way.  I am forever grateful and hope that I did not drive her insane (so that I can enlist her help again).

JS: What is the future of Shan and Toad? Where do you see the brand in five years’ time?

SL: As the business grows each season, I place utmost regard on keeping the shop warm and intimate.   As our brand-base grows each season, as does our business and infrastructure, I want to be sure that the shopping experience does not become too overwhelming and unfriendly. Besides, I have made fabulous friendships and relationships with so many wonderful people, from such diverse places. I hope that will continue on.

JS: Just for fun—what do YOU wear? Any favourite women’s wear designers that you love?

SL: Ooooh, my favourite part.  I wear everything and anything, as long as I can afford it.  I shop for myself the same way that I would shop for Shan and Toad, mixing designer pieces with high street fashion brands.  Today I might wear a dress from Cos or H&M, and tomorrow I might wear a little Preen number.  Some of my favourite designers are found in our shop’s mini-me collections. I adore Preen, Carven, MSGM, Burberry, but I am also a little bit of a brand snob.  I am obsessed with all shoes; Prada and Lanvin and Charlotte Olympia and the list goes on…

Thanks for the opportunity of giving the brand a voice, and a little insight into the Shan and Toad shop.

The new Shan and Toad collection will be available exclusively at Shan and Toad later this week.

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Images courtesy of Shana Laub and Shan and Toad. All rights reserved.

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