Posted on August 30th, 2011 by .

Fashion your seatbelts (yes, I stole this line). Montreal Fashion Week is just around the corner. For four days in fall Montreal’s fashion-obsessed gather to preview what’s in store for next spring and summer 2012…

Home base for most Montreal Fashion Week (a.k.a. Semaine de la Mode) events is at the Marché Bonsecours in the Old Montreal. Parking is a nightmare, so I suggest you walk, Bixi , or taxi it – the latter is most appropriate if you’re wearing platforms, stilettos, wedges, or any combination thereof.

Not all shows are open to the public, so it’s a good idea to check out the website here for complete details. Besides runway presentations, there are also a lot activities open to all, so don’t you be thinking you need to be a fashion VIP to participate. Here’s my list of must-see shows, otherwise known as see-and-be-seen attractions:

Harricana by Mariouche’s show (on Sept. 6) will be at their flagship boutique, which has recently added an Écono-Musée du Design – basically a cool spot where you can get an intimate look at Harricana’s design process. Known for recycling fur and remodeling (or updating) fur coats, Harricana’s up-coming collection will focus on leathers: think bolero vests, boho fringe, accessories, and bags. This is an invite only event, but otherwise the boutique has regular store hours and is a must for any fashion aficionado.

Earlier this August, I was honoured to be a guest judge in the Mercedes-Benz Start Up semi-finals that showcases and promotes Canadian fashion designers (with less than five years experience in retail). Of the final ten who each presented eight looks in a spectacular group fashion show, two were chosen to go on to the finals LG Fashion Week in Toronto next month. Representing the eastern Canada will be Montrealers Simon Bélanger and José Manuel St-Jacques of UNTTLD (José Manuel was the winner of La Collection in 2010, the French-Canadian version of Project Runway), as well as Pao Lim and Danielle Martin, the husband and wife duo behind Martin Lim , both of whom will present their first solo shows at this year’s Montreal Fashion Week at Marché Bonsecours (Sept. 6). After an impressive fall and winter 2011, I’m looking forward to seeing their spring and summer 2012 collections.

Also on Sept. 6 is Travis Taddeo. I’ve been a fan of Travis’ sexy sportswear now for several seasons. Definitely one to watch – and enjoy. Travis’ show is one of the few where the public can buy tickets for $27.50 plus taxes each. The price might sound a little on the high end, considering a typical show is not much longer than a Shakespeare soliloquy, but it’s well worth it as there are always fun, fashion-y things to do in the lounge, such as free makeup applications, complimentary hair styling, picking up beauty product samples or free magazines, and, of course, unabashed people watching. Come dressed to the nines and you just might find yourself included in a street-style blog.

Other shows I’ve marked on my calendar are Dimitri Chris (Sept. 6), Barilà, Anastasia Lomonova, and Soïa & Kyo (Sept. 7), as well as Mulcair and Duy (Sept. 8). (Read more about individual designers here.) The show of the season, on September 8, is surely that of Denis Gagnon, who will do an exclusive presentation at the elegant Birks boutique on downtown Sainte-Catherine Street. While this show is for guests only, I suggest you visit the Denis Gagnon boutique on Saint-Paul Street in the Old Montreal – and, of course, Birks is a jewellery-lover’s must too.

There is also one day during the week when the public is granted access to Le Showroom , a unique opportunity to meet many of the designers and see their collections up close. On the evening of Sept. 8 at 10pm, Montreal’s avant-garde fashion magazine Dress To Kill (or simply Kill) will present its fall issue. This will likely be the party of the week. The location is still TBA, so check the schedule until it’s posted. If you’re a devout fashion follower, you’ll need to be there.



Montreal Fashion Week, Sept. 6-9, 2011

Photo Credit: Allen McEachern, Louis-Philippe Maurice, Carrie MacPherson

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