When Peter Nygård joined, and subsequently took over, Nathan Jacobs’ Winnipeg-based suit company in the late Sixties, he knew next to nothing about designing clothes; he was a businessman, after all. But he was up to the challenge: The company faced bankruptcy and its stodgy styles didn’t work with the changing fashion landscape of the time. Fast-forward 35 years, and he’s sitting on top of a $500-million Canadian fashion empire.

While Nygård opts for a larger-than-life showmanship in his personal life, he keeps it simple when it comes to clothes. "I am not into avant-garde fashion," he said in a 1993 interview. "I am creating commercial product catering to businesswomen between the ages of 25 and 45." This means well-tailored clothes for every aspect of a career woman’s hectic life, delivered in seven collections: Peter Nygård Signature, the bridge line; Bianca Nygård, the better offering, and the moderate lines Nygård Sport, Nygård Collection, Tan Jay, Aliå and Aliå Sport.

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