08 March 2010

my end-all MONTREAL FASHION WEEK blog post

For me, Montreal Fashion Week is an interesting specimen. MFW feels like it could be so much greater. There is such a compelling energy that flows through everybody when it comes to fashion in Montreal. The media lounge is filled with people sporting their best dresses and shiniest shoes. It's quite the scene, lots of hustle and bustle and drama about who gets into what show and where everybody sits, blah blah blah, but the thing that kills MFW and that is holding it back, for me, is the actual quality of the clothes. After all, you can have all the scene and glitz, but if the quality of the clothes isn't there, what is actually driving the fashion week: the party scene or the fashion? A complicated, complex question for sure.

The clothes tend to be wayyyyyyyyy too commercial. Designers SELDOM push the envelope. And when they THINK they are pushing the envelope they aren't.  (case in point, the Helmer show. keep reading).

So here it is kids: THE PROBLEM WITH MONTREAL FASHION WEEK IS THAT THERE IS A DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE EXCITEMENT OVER THE FASHION AND THE ACTUAL QUALITY OF THE FASHION BEING PRODUCED. When you are in Montreal, you can actually feel that people on the street are enthusiastic about clothes and how they dress. The potential for Montreal to become a fashion capital is limitless. The problem is, if someone is a good enough of a designer, they tend to get sucked away to Paris or New York.

So by some act of God I received accreditation to attend the shows at Montreal Fashion Week. I guess I was pretty honored to have at least a little recognition that what I do here is somewhat relevant? Anyways MFW usually isn't my thing, I think it's a little too commercial and I actually question whether there are important people coming to the shows. Every person I met had received accreditation for their blog or for some campy website I had never heard of.

ANYWAYS I supposed it was cool just to get a vague sliver of a sense of what attending a fashion week is like. Lots of see-and-be-seen types, people dressed obnoxiously and reeking of failed attempts at being ironic. blah blah blah, everyone acting so casual and disenchanted and cool, but if you were too cool for school then why the heck are you at MFW?

OK enough of the snarky ranting, let's talk turkey.

The shows were for the most part crap. Someone needs to teach Montreal designers about proportions and how to make clothes that don't look cheap. I wanted at first to criticize msot of the shows for being too safe and commercial, but a lot of them were sending clothes downt he runway that at the end of the day just left me baffled.

Helmer, for instance. First of all, his show sold tickets for charity, so i have to commend him for that. But the charity was for handicapped people, and the clothes were inspired by Haiti. The clothes also had a lot of bizarre harlequin and even 1990s/Brooklyn references that left me wondering whether I was in a medieval court, cruising through Carroll Gardens, or stuck in some blighted third-world country. Here's one of my 'favorite' (barf) moments, very reminiscent of something one would find at an Osh Kosh BGosh sample sale: (this also feels vaguely like a failed attempt at a ripoff of Balenciaga Spring 2010):

ENVERS PAR YVES JEAN LACASSE: The only thing I liked from this show was the drop crotch pants that every male model seemed to be wearing.  Unfortunately, the man in charge of taking the photographs for which I was given access seemed to forget that this was a major element of the show. WHATEVER.

EVE GRAVEL: So cute, so wearable. Great show.

BARILA: For once, it feels like a Montreal designer is riding the same wave as the rest of the world. Barila had this great schoolboy look that felt fresh and exciting. Also lots of partygirl looks for when school isn't in session. This model's walk was killer, btw.

DIMITRI CHRIS: FAVORITE MENSWEAR OF THE WEEK. So great. Didn't really feel like the collection was following any sort of trend (which I still haven't decided is a good or a bad thing). Classic yet fresh menswear. Something I could see myself wearing. LOVED IT. Hellloooo velvet ties and sportcoat with hemlines like waistcoats!

And of course, both I and Montreal Fashion Week saved the best for last: DENIS GAGNON. This was probably the only collection I saw all week that I could envision being on the runway in New York. The collection showed signs of masterful craftsmanship and unique vision. He totally rocked these great draped zipper/metal/thingy effects I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO PUT IT INTO WORDS! Made me feel like I was in a Star Wars fantasy (the Princess Leia hair styling wasn't helping) but smoething about how different and futuristic the collection looked just felt so right....

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