He's worked on creations for Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Catherine Deneuve.

He's dressed Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jëan, her predecessor Adrienne Clarkson and designed the now-famous million-dollar catsuit for Marlen Cowpland.

It's no wonder that after four decades in the fashion business, Richard Robinson isn't even considering retirement.


The Ottawa-based haute couture fashion designer, whose shop has been located on Sussex Drive for 40 years, celebrated his career with a red-carpet preview of his 2009 collection in front of his shop Wednesday.

Robinson was only 21 when he opened Richard Robinson fashion house on June 2, 1969, where Nicholas Hoare Books is now located.

Now 61, he shows no sign of slowing down.

Over the years, the most memorable garment he's ever designed was "for my wife — a white wedding gown in kid leather, and a 75-foot veil.

"We got married in the (Notre Dame Cathedral) and I measured the aisle," he said.

After 39 years of marriage, Louise Robinson still only wears clothes designed by her husband.

"I love everything he does," she said. "He's classical in nature, but still likes making fashion fun, and going a bit further with his creations.

"That's what gives the pizzazz to his fashion."

Robinson's collections are also timeless, his wife said.

"I have clothes that are 10 years old," she said." They don't age, so you accumulate a wardrobe. It's like an investment, not an expense."

While Robinson has customers all over the world, the couple stays firmly rooted in the National Capital Region.

The last 40 years have flown by, and he has no regrets, the designer said. The fashion industry, from discovering "new designs and colours to working with interesting people and travelling," is fascinating, Robinson said.

"I'm going to design to the end. I hope that when I die, I'll be sketching my last sketch," he said.

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