|Semaine de Mode Montréal 18|
The show began with a touching tribute to Haiti. The Haitian menswear designer Ralph Leroy recorded a moving speech in which he paid homage to his native country. All the male models walk down the dim-lit runway in single file wearing long black robes and lit candles in hand. They exited the stage the same way and soon after, the show began. The clothes were mainly inspired by a military theme, which I absolutely love. Navy, green, and brown jackets and coats done in cashmere and leather were beautifully paired with pants with a yellow stripe on the side seams. Leroy made great use of large metallic buttons on the coats, using them both for functional and decorative purposes. Army boots and leather bags completed the looks perfectly. Naturally, there was a touch of camouflage prints. I really liked the classic cuts of the shirts and particularly, a cherry red leather jacket with a zipper on centre front and on the pockets.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Ralph Leroy after the show and telling him how much I enjoyed his collection, and he warmly thanked me. He said there’s so much talent in Montreal and was really excited about his show. He believes in community effort, and not just doing something for personal gain, which is why he brought attention to Haiti. Leroy was so popular in the designer lounge, which only reinforces the success of his Fall/Winter 2010 collection.
Soïa & Kyo’s show was nice. Nothing more than that. The wool coats and leather jackets that made their way down the runway were well-made and simply designed. However, there wasn’t anything new or different in terms of style from what they have been doing for the past couple of years. I have a cream-colored Soïa & Kyo wool coat that I bought four years ago that looks very similar to their Fall/Winter 2010 collection. I liked the new collection, but I didn’t love it. The plaid coats were very interesting. I could definitely see myself wearing a red, black, and white wool coat with bias cuts from the collection. Many of the coats were characterized by high collars, rectangular bands at the back waist area, and some asymmetrical openings. A gray herring bone coat with a belted waist in the self fabric was also very chic and classic. I really liked the complete looks that were suggested: dark coats paired with white stockings, a black sparkly skirt with a short black leather jacket, and large bows in the models’ hair. All of the clothing was very wearable, which allows them to appeal to a broader target market.
It was quite a struggle to get to the final show of Montreal Fashion Week. In the span of two hours, we all managed to get tickets (with assigned seats) for the Denis Gagnon show at 8pm. The first show began at 9pm and the second began at 10pm, making both shows an hour later than scheduled time. After much waiting, rejections, more waiting in a motionless but restless line, and feet cramping up due to massively high heeled shoes, we finally made our way into the theatre room. Once the show began, all our frustrations completely vanished as we were blown away from what our eyes witnessed.
Denis Gagnon is a designer with true craftsmanship. It’s difficult to match the quality and brilliance of Gagnon’s collection with words. He took an element so simple, so functional, and used it in the most revolutionary way possible: the zipper. Gagnon designed beautiful edgy garments with zipper details, as well as draped fringes. The zipper and fringe combinations were brought together to give the impression of delicacy and strength in one collection. He worked with a color palette of mainly black and chocolate brown, but despite the lack of color, the collection was completely extraordinary. The gold metal zippers stood out and added extra richness against the dark fabrics. I can’t even imagine how much time and effort Gagnon put into each and every garment. The gold zipper halter dress received much applause. It truly is a work of art. He deserved the standing ovation at the end of his show and it was definitely worth the two hour wait. Even more exciting was shaking Denis Gagnon’s hand after the show and telling him his collection was absolutely stunning. He shyly smiled and thanked me, and I got my picture taken with him. I cannot praise Gagnon enough. He truly is one of the fashion gods.
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