In a city that houses approximately three million people, few have been given the gift of design; fewer are given the chance to explore it. Born and bred in Montreal, fashion designer Arti Gogna is one of the chosen few.
During her second year in the fashion design program at LaSalle College, Gogna put on a fashion show where one of her teachers attended.
“He really liked one of my skirts. He worked at ELLE Québec at the time and said that it would be perfect to feature in the magazine.
That’s what triggered it,” said Gogna. “I knew that this was my calling, it’s what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life.”
Five years later, on Feb. 22, I found myself at Espaces des Arts waiting for the launch of the Arti Gogna summer 2013 collection to begin.
As people filled the room, wine glasses started to clink and the lights began to dim to signal the start of show. The first model strutted onto the runway in a beautiful lace and chiffon peek-a-boo turquoise and lime dress.
“This is the first time I work with chiffon, I’m really experimenting with it and so far I’ve gotten a good response,” explained Gogna. “I’ll be using it for the next collection as well.”
Her collection features an array of gowns in blues, greens, beiges, and reds in lace, chiffon and brocade. Each dress possesses a unique trait that’ll suit any occasion. My favourite look was a turquoise asymmetrical gown with a chiffon bunched-up skirt and a high-cut lace patterned top.
“My designs are glamorous yet practical. I want women to wear my dresses and feel comfortable but still look sexy. We [women] have curves and my fabrics compliment them. They’re tight and fitted but accentuate the female shape,” she said.
As the show came to a close, the last model rocked the catwalk in a form-fitting crimson red silk sweetheart cocktail dress with a black tiered lace peplum skirt.
Gogna’s collection is currently sold at both 1861 store locations as well as on her website.
“I walked into Razberry [1861’s sister store] one day and just thought that my dresses would look great in the store so I asked to speak to the owner. I showed her my samples and she liked what she saw and that was that, they’ve been carrying my garments ever since,” said the designer. “I was lucky. Most aspiring designers aren’t given that opportunity which is why I always tell people to fall in love with what they believe in. If you do that, you’ll always succeed.”
After a trip to India during the holidays, she admits that her perspective on life changed. “Everyone is so free there. They’re just in a different and better state of mind. It has inspired me to do the same.”
Her upcoming collection will showcase that newfound sense of freedom that was triggered in her native land.
When it comes to the fashion industry, Gogna admires anyone who strives for originality. Her newest obsession is Indian-born, American fashion designer Naeem Khan. With his elaborate patterns and accents, first lady Michelle Obama can’t even help but indulge.
Before expanding her eponymous brand to the United States, Gogna would like to establish herself in Montreal.
“This is my home, I can’t fathom leaving Montreal without really getting my name out there,” she said.
After such a successful show, there’s no denying her potential to expand and succeed across the border.
To purchase any pieces from the Arti Gogna summer collection, visit http://artigogna.myshopify.com/.
Simply want to browse around? Have a look at http://www.artigogna.com/summer2013.htm.