Text by Alessandro Berga.
Photos by Amy Lee Corkum and Dickson Ly.
Over 550,000 visitors turned the eleventh edition of The Festival Mode & Design Montreal into a feast. Tourists, people passing by, families, students and, of course, fashion lovers were all on the spot.
It was a good four days, contrasted only by shows of jejune girls’ fuchsias and make-up sagacity: where the shiny outranked the skin.
Models embraced doll and Amazon looks, paired with neon pink-tangerine lipstick.
And since the notion of being surprised by fashion seemed quaint, Montreal’s trend-organizers, Groupe Sensation Mode, revamped the so-called heroin chic this year. Bourgeoises sans âge, Mode & Opera and Les Intemporelles were the three shows that wielded a singular power to stir emotions in the public.
The last two months have showcased the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’s exhibitions From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk and Pinkarnaval. Gaultier’s Bourgeoises sans age, women’s fall collection, was his third exhibition in town that was presented to the sultry tunes of Amy Winehouse. For women: arrays of moirés, buns, tie-neck blouses, bouclé sweaters, tweed, bondage suits, corset gowns and Gaultier’s renowned marinières. For men: tailored skirts, bustiers in flamenco, matelot stripes, gold sequin and blunted lamés for the James Blond theme. Though they were not in bed, models were reclining on the runway in attractive but decorous pieces. Muse, model, fidèle extraordinaire Tanel Bedrossiantz paraded down the Haute Couture catwalk alongside Ève Salvail, the shaved and tattooed head Montrealer now turned Dj Evaliscious, and Francisco Randez, the first face of the fragrance Le Mâle. Gaultier was frippery, as always.
Mode & Opera was a show filled with emotion. Soprano-baryton-tenor interprets were decked out in high-fashion costumes and accessories of the Opéra de Montréal, and appeared throughout the show. Depeche Mode’s electronic music inspirations by Alex Attias & Christian Pronovost, alongside live visual Basquiat-esque artistry by Zilon, made the massive audience silent, in awe of the beauty of the arias. The looks per se were not of the caliber of Gaultier, but here is one word for puristas and critics: lighten up! Mode & Opera was not trying to make a couture statement. In fact, their next stop is Hollywood!
Les Intemporelles ignited lots of admiration from both critics and the public. Special host Jeanne Beker, from Fashion TV, with the brilliant Suzanne Chabot, from the Museum of Costume and Textile of Quebec, presented a retrospective by prominent designers in couture, from the glorious thirties to today. Designer Clairette, now in her 90s, showcased her coquettish grisettes and organdy. A fun fact: she is from Trois-Rivières, and she flew Christian Dior’s models in 1964 for a show in her little town! Her contemporary this year was Colpron d’Anjou, whose purple velvet wedding dresses with the veil were a must!
The audience was also presented with Lilly Simon, Arnold Scasi, Serge & Réal and Christian Chenail’s fashion pieces during the night. It was like reading a sestina dedicated to women.
Another warmly greeted show was the 5 Bloggers, 5 Looks by Montreal’s esteemed fashion faces. Researching, compromising on clothes and casting their models were Lolitta Dandoy, Robyn Chalmers of Fashionista 514, Gabrielle Lacasse of Dentelle & Fleurs, as well as Marie Darsingny, Josiane Stratis and Carolane Stratis of Ton petit look, and Patrick of Je suis l’aristocrate. The team had panoply of seductive styles, featuring easy silhouettes, simple chic and true elegance.
Whatever happened that night, you have to remember – with fashion, you can’t take it that seriously.
Follow Alessandro on Twitter at @thecaprissimo.