Get to Know the Couple Behind Canvas Malibu

Arlington and Jac Forbes talk art and fashion

canvas malibu q&a!

If the beachy vibe and promise of choice Chinese food fail to prompt a trip to Malibu (no, you don’t need a passport; yes, it’s worth the PCH standstill), the harmonious marriage of contemporary art and exclusive threads at Canvas Malibu should get you moving.

In addition to keeping the racks filled with covetable labels (Golden Goose, Oliver Spencer, Remi Relief for guys; Nili Lotan and FWK by Engineered Garments for ladies) and scouring the world for up-and-coming artists, proprietors Arlington and Jacqueline (Jac) Forbes produce a house line of men’s shirts and denim. (A women’s offshoot is in the works.) We hit up the duo for their insights on art, street snacks, and body swapping.q&a!You both come from the TV world. What inspired you to transition to small business ownership?
Arlington: We both did TV for years and simply got tired of the process. During our last few seasons in that business, we often spoke about opening a conceptual boutique that would be cool yet down-to-earth and interesting. Having both grown up in entrepreneurial families (Jac’s dad is a dentist and had his own practice, and my mother owned clothing boutiques), I guess it was already in our DNA.

Jac: In a nutshell: creative autonomy. We often had ideas that were subject to dilution by bosses or collaborators we were not on the same page with creatively. It was frustrating, so we decided to create our own Canvas (ha, get it?).

Any up-and-coming local artists we need to know about?
A: My favorite is Cantstopgoodboy, a young, Malibu-based contemporary street artist who is extremely talented and whose work is constantly evolving.

J: Locally, Risk is celebrated and well known but not quite in the realm that I feel he deserves. To represent the ladies, Alois: Her work is quirky, textured, and emotive. Dominique Wuth Sanders, whom I’ve watched evolve and whose perspective, technique, and beauty I appreciate. And Tyler Burton, who creates beautiful, clean sculpture for the contemporary dwelling.

jac and arlington q&a!

What qualities do you look for in the designers and lines you carry?
A: We have to really like the product [and] understand the vision, design, and production of the brand; distribution strategy is also a factor. We have to believe in the brand and the people behind it, then decide what it would add to our clients’ experience within our shop. If it meets all of those requirements, then we are in.

J: Great fabrics, quality construction, and a contemporary perspective with a little funk are key. I’m loving the sexy tomboy look for women and the quirky yet classic vibe for men. It’s a bonus when I like and respect the designer.

Describe your ultimate date night in L.A.
A: When everything slows down and we take time to smell the roses, talk, listen, laugh, and focus on each other. A great meal (Nobu and Pizzeria Mozza are favorites) and cool decor are also nice touches.

J: I love art events and great restaurants. Being spontaneous and flexible is important. I can also appreciate a night on the couch watching our signature TV lineup: House of Lies, basketball (go, Lakers!), Law & Order, and the occasional reality show too shameful to mention.

Name a celebrity couple you’d like to double-date with.
A: Celebrity couples are just like anybody else. They can potentially be boring, annoying, or super cool. I prefer the company of good friends.

J: I’m pretty sure they’re not celebrities, but the First Lady and the President.

What is your favorite L.A. a) sound, b) taste, c) touch?
A: a) Humming birds; b) $5 cut-fruit bags (from the roadside stands Downtown) with a squeeze of lemon, a dash of salt, and cayenne; c) the sun on your face with the top down in December (I’m Canadian).

J: a) The ocean, b) glazed donuts from Fosters Donuts, c) the sand.

jac and arlington q&a!

If you could have a Freaky Friday moment with any person living, dead, or fictional, who would it be and why?
A: Pharrell Williams before he got engaged. It would be fun to mix it up with the various creative genres he’s involved in — music, art, design, and fashion. Plus, the caliber of individuals he can access at the drop of a hat: anybody from Jay-Z to Snoop to Murakami and Jeff Koons — with a few models thrown in just for the hell of the switch.

J: The Most Interesting Man in the World. It’s funny because I don’t drink, but he seems [to be] happy, put together, well traveled, adventurous, and always enjoying life. He seems to possess super-human powers, too — nothing excessive, just enough. Most of all, I’d like to tell people “stay thirsty, my friend.” A little annoying but also metaphorical for life. I hope to always stay thirsty.

If you could have one thing for lunch for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Nothing. I really don’t like eating the same thing two days in a row, and the idea of having to do it for the rest of my life sounds truly painful.

J: The crab cakes and kale Caesar from Malibu Farm at the end of the pier, Key lime pie from Hillstone, Baskin-Robbins vanilla soft-serve.

Now for the quick-fire round. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind.
(Jac’s answers are listed first, Arlington’s second.)
Home: The best. Work.
Filter: I’m great at those. Words.
Secret weapon: Gratitude. Patience.
Rush: Life — all the time. Hour.
Mode of transportation: Audi A3/Specialized road bike. Mini Cooper.
Dream getaway: Italy; Bodee’s Ranch in Ojai is a great quickie. Lots of clear blue water.

Canvas Malibu, 23410 Civic Center Way, at Cross Creek Road (310-317-9895 or canvasmalibu.com).

Photos: Kimberly Genevieve for DailyCandy

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23410 Civic Center Way
@ Cross Creek Rd
Malibu, CA 90265