The dream developed in Nantucket, childhood summer home for Pam Willcocks of Canada’s Snapdragon Designs. By age five she was painting and selling seashells to a slew of by-the-sea clients; by age seven she’d earned entrepreneur status.
Inspired by the sand and surf of America’s iconic East Coast, the design of colourful, eye-catching weekendwear eventually became Ms. Willcock’s signature. Her family’s 1980s move to a Lake Jo summer cottage in Muskoka fueled further inspiration.
Fast forward to present: in Snapdragon’s collection of ponchos, wraps, cashmere cardigans, and brightly-hued tunics help define this season’s Muskoka style.
The Consummate Traveller
Snapdragon’s designs are known for their silkiness and colour. Trained in fine arts, Ms. Willcocks paints flowing, intricate patterns onto sheets of canvas in her Toronto studio: geometric designs in soft pinks and blues, willowy green foliage, and gigantic red, yellow, and orange flowers. Her patterns are taken to a team of artisans in India where they’re handcarved into blocks of wood, then stamped onto fabric — a traditional art form that Ms. Willcocks, a consummate traveller, fell in love with during one of her many visits to South Asia.
“I go to India nearly every year,” she says. “I can’t get enough of it. I travel with close girlfriends, or family, or by myself. My husband and I spent our honeymoon there, paying $5 per night on accommodation! I took my 14-year-old son to India for two weeks to tour the factories where the block printing is done. He was fascinated.”
A number of Snapdragon fabrics come from India, too. Khadi, for example, is a silky, lightweight, handspun cloth that was revived by Mahatma Gandhi as an export during the industrial rise of India. Ms. Willcocks uses Khadi for scarves, and especially for tunics — fabulous as lakeside bikini coverups.
Snapdragon is also known for its leather handbags, fabric totes, dupattas, and luxuriously soft cashmere wraps, ponchos and cardigans.
Nantucket – Santa Monica – Muskoka
The collection is sold at snapdragondesigns.ca, through craft exhibitions, and in the U.S. at stores in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Berkeley, and naturally, Nantucket.
In Muskoka, Snapdragon has a pop-up shop at SWS Marine. The Lake Rosseau spot, situated between Clevelands House and The Rosseau, is also home to Abbey’s Bakehouse, Power Yoga Canada, and Lululemon.
Photos by Beth Hayhurst, courtesy of Snapdragon Designs