David Down, the City of Calgary’s Chief Urban Designer, Delights in the Details

Architects, David Down says, are known for a stern, self-imposed uniform of black-on-black-on-even-more-black. But it’s a rulebook Down has clearly discarded — his wardrobe is made up of the happily unpredictable. His inspiration? Iconic modern architects Le Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe. “They did very monochromatic buildings,” says Down, “but in the window, or somewhere on the building, there’s a colour that’s unexpected, or there’s an interesting design detail.”

Down, who left private practice as an architect to become the City of Calgary’s chief urban designer, likens his suits to a building’s facade. It’s the accessories that provide bursts of colour (like his collection of cufflinks and bright dress shirts) and whimsy (boldly patterned socks).

For Down, fashion is a way to marry the corporate and creative, and choosing an outfit is a deliberate design exercise. “Getting dressed in the morning is an opportunity to solve a design problem,” he says. “Who am I meeting today? What are we going to be talking about? You’re essentially curating your portfolio of experiences.”

 

Suit by Maxwell’s Clothiers; shirt by RW & Co.; shoes by Lobo (from Madrid); pocket square by Michael Kors Mens; lapel pin and custom belt from Italy; altimeter watch by Trintec; jade ring (for Chinese New Year) from personal collection. Photography by Colin Way; self-styled by honourees with consultation by Styleista; Makeup by Joanne Black; hair by Sue Thompson.

 

Shirt and pants by Maxwell’s Clothiers; tie by Mahtani’s; socks by Original Penguin; shoes by Converse; belt custom made in Italy; watch by Hugo Boss; cufflinks by Madsquirrel. Photography by Colin Way; self-styled by honourees with consultation by Styleista; Makeup by Joanne Black; hair by Sue Thompson.
Shirt and pants by Maxwell’s Clothiers; tie by Mahtani’s; socks by Original Penguin; shoes by Converse; watch by Hugo Boss; cufflinks by Madsquirrel. Photography by Colin Way; self-styled by honourees with consultation by Styleista; Makeup by Joanne Black; hair by Sue Thompson.

 

Shirt by Maxwell’s Clothiers; cufflinks by Vetreria Mazzega (Murano glass from Venice); altimeter watch by Trintec; belt custom made in Venice. Photography by Colin Way; self-styled by honourees with consultation by Styleista; Makeup by Joanne Black; hair by Sue Thompson.

 

Closeup of main image belt. Photography by Colin Way; self-styled by honourees with consultation by Styleista; Makeup by Joanne Black; hair by Sue Thompson.

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