Montreal Fashion Week kicked off yesterday in a new, larger location in Old Montreal. The Marché Bonsecours is one of those charming old world tourist traps filled with restos, craft boutiques and a series of reception spaces where 13 fashion shows and four cocktail parties will show off Quebecois and Canadian talent until Thursday.
Every MFW starts with a government news conference and this time around the powers that be announced an 82 million dollar fund for the local industry. Designers, manufacturers and retailers can apply for grants for start up capital, marketing and other projects to build their businesses.
The star of the day’s afternoon cocktail shows was the Bërubë collection. Julie Bérubé began her fashion studies at Lasalle College but moved to London, England to finish her schooling at Central St. Martins. The line hinted at the UK knack for clever style juxtapositions (the finale metallic silver gown was accessorized with a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse) while avoiding the throw up of ideas that comes with many London town looks. Oversized, sweat suit grey shoulder bags and a series of blue and white stripe, trapeze tops and dresses will be easy sells next spring (shop for it a www.berubeboutique.com).
After the seasonal Holt Renfrew kick off cocktail (headlined this time by U.S.-based menswear designer John Varvatos who delivered an inspirational, you-can-do-it speech to a room full of young Montreal talents), the evening’s shows kicked off.
Love Deming is a B.C.-based line and in true Vancouver eco-hippy style, designer Melissa Taylor scored her presentation with sound bites from a climate change rally. Sweet selections included a line of dresses in paisleys and calico prints but sportier pieces like a pink scoop necked blouse with a pleated collar worn open as a jacket were more successful.
There was a very smart and chic statement in Christian Chenail’s Muse collection. Some looks mixed neutral, structured lab coats with underpinnings (capris and sheer bras) in tropical punch hues. Combined with chunky red heels and high ponytails encased in tall clear plastic rings, the look was clean, modern and tight. Unfortunately, the extra long lineup also included black evening wear, op art florals and other out-of-left-field ideas.
Yves Jean Lacasse’s Envers show was the usual mix of theatrical men’s and womenswear. This year’s collection was inspired by Morocco but it was a less literally North African series of dresses, skirts and blouses that hinted Lacasse could reach a wider audience by exercising a touch more restraint.
A simple navy, silk shift was beautifully light with a cascade of silk rolls down its front. Rips of the same silk in white embellished a blue pinstripe mini skirt. Another gauzy white fabric wrapped a model in a cloudy cocoon accented by a bow-belted, dropped waist.