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Clothes, catwalks and cocktails

by The Concordian September 6, 2011

The spotlight is on Montreal’s fashion scene as Fashion Week kicks off today. Taking place in the historic and oh-so-posh Marché Bonsecours in the Old Port, the 21st edition of the event boasts a long list of fashion shows, conferences and parties from Tuesday to Friday.

Groupe Sensation Mode, the production company responsible for launching the Fashion and Design Festival on McGill College, has run Fashion Week for the past six years. They promise this edition will be “unconventional, unabashed, and unparalleled,” words that ring true, since this year’s lineup will include more fresh faces than household regulars presenting their Spring/Summer collections.

“It’s not so much that they are new or unknown labels, as what they are presenting is avant-garde,” said Sophie Des Marais, Sensation Mode’s media relations co-ordinator. “That is Montreal’s niche – what is perhaps not as popular in the rest of Canada.”

Mulcair,
 Anastasia Lomonova, Mélissa Nepton, Barilà and Travis Taddeo are a few of the labels that will be hitting the catwalk in the next couple of days. Youthful collections by young designers contribute to Montreal Fashion week’s edgy vibe.

Taddeo, a graduate of LaSalle College, has been making waves in Canada and the United States for the past few years. He is known for his refined interpretation of street fashion and youth culture, a look that is popular amongst many of the Montreal designers, and that will surely be spotted on more than one runway.
Fresh and avant-garde talent is what keeps Montreal fashion-forward and the clothing industry afloat, but apart from Denis Gagnon, Samuel Dong, Simon Chang and Dinh Bá, many of the regulars like Marie St-Pierre, Ève Gravel, Helm and Renata Morales are missing this year.

“It’s a major investment and some designers sit out an edition or two to focus on other projects or to tour in other cities,” said Des Marais. “It’s simply a choice.”
And that’s not the only difference for the 21st edition of MFW. The Showroom, a space in the Marché Bonsecours where Quebec brands could share their collections with national and international buyers, is not part of this year’s schedule, but Des Marais promises it will be back in the spring.

But what is lacking in local exposure, Sensation Mode is getting from abroad. They have collaborated with the Who’s Next salon in Paris for the past few editions to showcase foreign talent, and on Wednesday, Sept. 7, The Label Europe Show will feature designers from France and Germany. This is an exclusive collaboration with the Office franco-québécois pour la jeunesse as well as the Office franco-allemand pour la jeunesse.

Fashion Week brings together many different partners from the fashion, tourism and business sectors, but Sensation Mode wants to open it up to the general public as well. You can purchase tickets to the shows on their website, and of course the famous Art vs Fashion art gallery open house is going on all week long. Galleries in Old Montreal such as Impact Galerie, Espace Pepin and Galerie Michel-Ange will be open until midnight to showcase some of Montreal’s local talent.

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