Frédéric Caplette and Wanted Landscape’s Urban Forest
From August 1 to 4, Montreal’s downtown core is occupied by Festival Mode & Design, providing fodder for your fantasy wardrobe. Now in its 11th year, the fest showcases multi-national fashion powerhouses alongside local amateurs, established and up-and-coming designers, vintage hunters and bloggers, as well as a slew of art installations and exhibits, DJ sets and live music performances.
The festival is broad in scope, offering truly awesome art installations and a unique chance to get up close at some grands défilés in conjunction with some pretty pitifully transparent PR exercises and cash grabs (Cashmere toilet paper dresses, anyone?). There’s so much going on that it can all be a bit overwhelming, but Cult MTL offers a preview to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, with a special focus on locals and independents.
Throughout week, an Urban Forest installation again takes over Victoria Street, extending from Sherbrooke to President Kennedy. This year, the McCord Museum commissioned designer Frédéric Caplette and Wanted Landscape to transform the downtown block, and the result is a psychedelic wonderland of lilac and plum, with metallic sculptural “trees” and a be-purpled terrasse with a gazebo of sorts. The terrasse is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. til 3 p.m., and from 11:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Urban Forest also hosts some special events, including an installation by Geneviève Moisan and a visit from the much-beloved Fruixi cart, making it a great place to chill between shows.
Jeanne Beker, bloggers and a festival overview on Wednesday August 1
Kick off the weekend with a high-heel race for a good cause. For a $50 sponsorship or donation, you can hoof it in style while raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. All participants will receive a much-needed free foot massage after the race from Bota Bota, which also sponsors the winners’ spa package prizes.
Jeanne Beker gets her style on
Canadian fashion doyenne and longtime host of FashionTelevision Jeanne Beker launches the inaugural collection for her new line EDIT, where she recreates her signature look for a more mass market (read: YOUR MOM). That’s at the festival’s Main Stage at 6 p.m.
On the Select Stage, the night belongs to independents and amateurs, as several prominent online bloggers style looks to present their visions of fashion right now. At 6:15, catch Collective 5 Bloggers, 5 Looks, where Total Velour’s Sophie BT, Duc C Nguyen, Gaëlle Leroyer, Mélodie Mode and Montreal in Fashion’s Candice Pantin show you how you should dress. Stick around after as Lolitta Dandoy stages a series of styles from her online store mywalk.in, a treasure trove of reconstructed vintage finds.
Design junkies should head to Inbox Design’s vernissage, where artistic director Lacy Barry presents a series of “boxes,” each representing some aspect of Canadian wildlife and the northern experience. That’s at the Design Studio after 8 p.m., with music by DJ Kyle Calma.
For those who need to brush up on their local labels and want to a preview of what’s on offer at the festival, head to the Main Stage at 9 p.m., when Clin d’oeil sponsors Highlight on Montréal Fashion Week, sending Quebecois celebrities down the runway wearing a selection of pieces by celebrated and up-and-coming local designers of note.
Just after, the Main Stage hosts the first Tendances SMM22, the first event in a series of themed collections by established and well-reputed local labels. At 9:30, Wednesday’s installment “Glamania,” features a roster of some heavy hitters, including Denis Gagnon and Dubuc, among others.
The night closes with “Dressing Room,” a dance performance choreographed by Noémie Lafrance that draws attention to the beauty rituals surrounding fashion rendered in movement. That’s on the Main Stage at 10:00 p.m.
Ethical, vintage and conceptual fashion on Thursday August 2
Vintage diggers OldWIG present 30 looks from their fall collection on the Select Stage at 6 p.m., a mix of retro appeal spanning from the 20s to 80s that offers a taste of what’ll be on-sale in their pop-up shops over the next few months. Stay put for a set by A Rock right after.
OldWIG pop-up vintage shop mannequin
At 7:30, you can check out Jef Barbara’s show while Against Nudity unveils their fall collection. The nostalgia-tinged local label founded by Louis Moreau and Thierry Charlebois aims for transparency in its sourcing and employment practices, in an industry not exactly known for its openness. Their commitment to using healthy-looking models, donating unsold or unusable stock and anti-sweatshop stance will make you feel good about coveting their clean-cut, bright separates and breezy sundresses.
If you’re into more conceptual design, there are two back-to-back shows for you on the festival’s Main Stage: Tendances SMM22 presents Transe/paraître, a buffet of high design featuring Ça Va de Soi, Travis Taddeo and Rush Couture, among others, at 9:30 p.m., followed shortly by F&D Nation’s architectural collection that blurs the lines between fashion and design at 10:00 p.m.
And from 5 p.m. til 10 p.m. on Thursday night, the festival hosts its annual Shopping Rally on Ste-Catherine and surrounding malls. This is to say that all the stores in the area will be open and willing to sell you clothing, as ever, but framed in such a way as to convince you that there’s something merry and novel about the fact.
Jock appeal and emergent designers on Friday August 3
Catch a historical perspective on local fashion at Mode Sur Esplanade PVM!, at 12:15 on the Select Stage. The défilé showcases styles and garments sold at Place Ville Marie over the last 50 years, and is an ideal place to channel the past for inspiration.
Friday is your chance to support local neophytes, when the Cégep Marie-Victorin’s recent design grads present their work to showcase the breadth of the program’s training options, from men’s wear to fur to high fashion. Directly following is Métro’s collaboration with the Collège LaSalle design program, where, from 5:45 p.m., recent graduates will show just how much you can do with very little, crafting an entire line out of sheets of newsprint.
Real sparkly: Gold Rush
The Tendances SMM22 showcase of the night is Gold Rush, styled by José Manuel St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger. As the name suggests, this collection features glitzy and bedazzled pieces by Dinh Ba Design, Eve Gravel, and Unttld, among others, and more glitter than you can handle. Main Stage, 9:30 p.m.
Finally, bridge the worlds of athletics and high fashion at Podium, on the Main Stage at 10:00 p.m. Backed by the rhythms of the Carabins (cheerleaders) from Université de Montréal, followed by U.K. glamrock band GIRL, this show explores the sports-fashion complex, pairing sneakers with minis and heels for a jock-inspired glam.
Locals own the stage on Saturday August 4
Girliness explodes on the Select Stage for Créme à la Glace, Limonade Sucrée, a series of shows where “girl bands” Grenadine, TOPS, and Jolie Jumper play back-up to launches by Anastasia Lomonova at 3 p.m. and Valérie Dumaine at 4 p.m.
At 5:15 on the Select Stage, you can see Défilé de la Diversité Corporelle, a show featuring fifteen teenage models of all stripes, the winners of the Défilé Sans Cliché contest to represent racial and bodily diversity in fashion. Directly after, at 5:45 on the same stage, check out Ethik BCG, a collective of global designers who offer insight into ethical production trends from around the world.
But the closing night belongs to the locals. Select Stage plays host to Collectif de: Montréal, which, as the name suggests, is a collaborative show profiling a group of the 514’s most-hyped independent designers, including Betina Lou, Coccolily, Soia & Kyo, Mackage and Blank, for just a small sampling. The show is followed by a runway collection from Boutique Onze, a preview of looks for sale in the small local chain store this fall, followed by a DJ set by Shaydakiss.
On the Main Stage, America’s Next Big Model alum Jay Manuel launches his British-inspired ATTITUDE menswear collection, rife with charcoal and navy colour blocking and lots of other suit-y man-looks and soundtracked with a live set by Chinatown. Directly after, the same stage hosts new collections by mass fashionistas Le Château at 8:30 p.m., and Guess/Guess by Marciano at 9 p.m.
The final installment of the Tendances SMM22 series, called Chromatic Fantastique, brightens up the Main Stage at 9:30 p.m., with vivid pieces by Bodybag by Jude, Duc C. Nguyen, Envers and !NUI by Vickie. Right after the festival closes with one last blowout, a sumptuous collection of Bollywood-inspired pieces and kitsch. ■
Festival Mode & Design Montréal runs from August 1 to 4 along Ste-Catherine, McGill College and in the plaza of Place Ville Marie. See the program for more information.