Montreal Fashion Week opens today with an off-site show by Philip Dubuc, and though the show will still take place in Montreal, the term off-site could be used to describe the general trend among young Canadian designers.
Jeremy Laing, Rad Hourani, Mark Fast and Erdem Moralioglu are all emerging Canadian designers who showed their latest collections in New York and London. Laing and Hourani tended towards a silhouette with a more masculine cut, though Laing’s was both softer and with more obvious wearability. Hourani’s entire collection is unisex and works equally well on men and women (one thing you’re guaranteed to see at Montreal Fashion Week is a lot of men and women in stacked Hourani heels), with a great downtown near futuristic edge that’s appealing and hard to ignore.
In some way’s Fast’s collection felt overshadowed by the media attention surrounding his inclusion of full-figured models in his runway show. There’s no denying the curvier girls pulled off his figure hugging knitwear as well as the others but were the designs that interesting and the silhouettes new? Some of the colours fell a bit flat to my eye. The colours at Erdem looked new, however, and the prints were bold and wearable and I liked that everything was styled with a sturdy ankle boot, even the flowing evening gowns, it gave a bit of a tough edge to what could’ve been a overly girly collection.
Images from Left to Right: Jeremy Laing f/w 10, Rad Hourani f/w 10, Mark Fast f/w 10 & Erdem f/w 10.
Last week I checked out Griffé Québec a new exhibit that looks at the evolution of Quebec fashion. It’s a small show, divided in to two different locations, one in the city, the other in St-Lambert. Suzanne Chabot, the curator of both the exhibit and the Musée du costume et du textile du Québec, who produced the show told me they had a tough time finding pieces to add to the exhibit. “A lot of this work wasn’t preserved,” she said, “and what we do have, is mostly from private collections.”
The work on view (at least at the Écomusée in downtown Montreal) isn’t mindblowing, you’re not going to find anything here that you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the Western world (unsurprisingly a good deal of Quebec designers studied in France). But what I think is interesting and worthwhile about the exhibit are the questions it raises.
Quebec fashion (and by Quebec, I pretty much just mean Montreal) has become a paradox. Once seen as the most stylish city in Canada, it’s now known for its own brand of bizarre quirkiness, one that involves multiple patterned fabrics, unnecessary layering and asymmetric cuts. It goes without saying that there’s some great stuff coming out of Montreal, complexgeometries and Rad Hourani are two excellent examples, but when it comes to the majority, it’s more about quirk than class. Montreal continues to have a thriving, creative center so why is fashion outside of this? This exhibit reminds us of a distinctly stylish past and serves as a road map of where we should head next.
Above right a wedding dress by Colpron D’Anjou (at back) and an evening gown by Renee Chaumont.
Above left, a look from complexgeometries a/w 09 collection.