Culture & Conversation

Montreal fashion parade smiles at the rain

A splash of style and fashion walked down the streets and exhibition halls of Montreal for four colourful days, bringing with it the latest in clothing lines from major designers and companies around the world. To name but a few: contemporary classic mixes by Jude, the slender preferences of Suzy Shier, our own Aldo, and the ethical choices by Ethik BGC. Models both native to the city, and from abroad, came to show off these uncommon trends ready to take over the market.

Sadly, strong rains struck hard during many of the shows. As the petite frames of Suzy Shier’s models traipsed across the stage on Thursday night, smiles hidden on serious faces, a torrential downpour soaked the walkway and the audience. But to use the words of Noel Coward, “The show must go on,” and it did. Dressed progressively from somber tones to brighter ensembles, ending in a creative plaid outfit, Suzy’s girls ignored the slick wooden path and never lost their pace despite the sheets of blinding rain – a perfect picture of professionalism and excellent casting on the company’s part.

Safely under the tent behind the catwalk, Maybelle New York gave an open curtain view of the models between outfits, showing off the inner workings of a fashion show. As the rain lessened, Yves Martin’s male models took the stage clad scantily in a wide variety of colourful underwear. Unlike the prim posturing of Shier’s girls, Martin’s men flirted with and danced for the audience to the applause of a happy (mostly female) crowd.

But not everyone cares to see a fashion show, and the Festival de mode et design prepared for this. With DJ Inbox, the attendees had the chance to dance using a variety of mixed music. There were performances by artists and designers like Jean-Charles de Castelbajac with his crystallized angel drawings later donated to the city, and “FANTÔMES,” a conceptual fashion performance created by the same man. Castelbajac also toned it down for those seeking an intellectual angle towards the festival by offering a conference targeting art fans.

Games dashed across McGill College to add additional fun. A three inch high heel race included anyone willing to run in these awkward shoes. Needless to say the result was… uncoordinated.

Despite the poor weather attempting to mar much of this festival’s activities, Montreal, its citizens, and the performers never let it slow them down. People were able to check out the latest fashion and purchase them from dozens of small kiosks near McGill and Cathcart.

As usual, Montrealers were unwilling to let the weather ruin their summer fun, evident from the dancing, smiles, and laughter wafting up and down the streets that were hosting the festival.

The Festival mode et design was held July 31-August 1 on McGill College Avenue downtown. For more information visit the festival website.

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