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Montreal Fashion Week: A fashionably late recap

by The Concordian September 13, 2011
Fall may have barely started, but many Montreal fashion lovers are already planning their spring wardrobes after a whirlwind of shows at the 21st Montreal Fashion Week.
It’s debatable whether MFW, produced by Groupe Sensation Mode, really has an influence outside Montreal’s small fashion circle or if it’s just another opportunity to give ‘la bise’ to your well-dressed frenemies. Regardless, here is a quick look at what came down the catwalks this year.
While heavyweights like Denis Gagnon did off-site shows—he had models skipping around Birks Jewelers for an invitation-only audience—most of the excitement took place at Bonsecours Market in the Old Port.
The tone was set from the get-go with streetstyle sweetheart Travis Taddeo. The young Lasalle College graduate offered both men and women’s looks for warmer weather, with the keyword being sheer. The translucent and billowy look was going strong in Taddeo’s show, as well as in UNTTLD and Mélissa Nepton’s collections.
From one show to the other, there were some constants, mostly in the colour scheme: blacks, whites and lots of pink! From nudes to fuchsia, Dimitri Chris, Anomal Couture, Martin Lim and Dinh Bá Designs were all rocking one shade or another.
There was the expected flowy and ethereal spring/summer look in many collections. However, others like DUY explored contrasting leather details and sharper lines to keep the look urban. Apparently, cacti and actress Tilda Swinton were inspirations.
A strong message was sent about accessories though, despite the loose tops and billowing dresses. Bold bags, jewelry and shoes were featured in more than one show. Long chandelier costume earrings in bright colours or geometric shapes created a strong contrast to the lightweight clothing. Shoes were heavy and bags had structured lines and were made of rigid leathers.
If you can’t afford a new wardrobe, no problem! Simply revisit your style rules and don’t be afraid to match feminine pieces with bold and graphic items.
Barilà and Mulcair were certainly favorites because of their youthful, and more importantly, commercial appeal. Mulcair’s sweet dresses, cropped tops and trousers are very now and are considerably more wearable than the overworked outfits featured at Label Europe, for example.
Although the first fashion show of the week was the label UNTTLD, Harricana by Mariouche Gagné invited media and buyers to her store near Little Burgundy earlier that day for a private event.
Harricana is Montreal’s most celebrated fur coat and accessories label. Every piece is made from recycled materials and the brand is known as a true eco-business success story.
Eco-friendly and socially responsible fashion has certainly come a long way. Soïa and Kyo, Mackage’s daughter brand, presented their spring collection of coats made from recycled fibres on Wednesday.
On Thursday, FEM International (Femmes entrepreneures du monde) held a fashion show featuring the labels Chromozone, Rescued and Veinage. FEM is a non-profit organization that aims to support entrepreneurship among women worldwide.
But like at any fashion event, movie screening or vernissage, when my eyes are bored with the art, they turn to the people! Everyone there was so young, it seemed like MFW got a facelift. Even Sensation Mode’s official blogger Naomie is barely legal.
Bye-bye head to toe black and pursed lips, the vibe was fun and colourful.
It seems Montreal’s fashion scene has been invaded by street fashion. Bloggers and alternative media rub shoulders with international buyers without pretention. Even though there were some hits and misses with the clothes, fashion in Montreal is alive and well.

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