To enter Renata Morales’ Old Montreal home-cum-studio is to walk into a mad genius’s mind. The fashion designer is also an artist and a curator and a collector and a breath of fresh air to all who meet her. Her space represents all of that…
Whether it’s the masses of printed fabric on the sideboard, the golden baubles hiding beneath them, or the pages and pages of band posters and drawings on the kitchen table, it’s clear this is as much a workshop as a beautifully appointed living space. Morales first left her mark on the Montreal fashion scene when she opened a storefront on Saint-Laurent in Mile End in the early 2000s.
Since then, she’s gone through various transformations, as an artist is wont to do, to finally end up with a select handful of regular clients and a devil-may-care approach to fashion. She doesn’t follow the constraints of fashion weeks, or the strict rules of fashion seasons – she makes beautiful things (dresses, mainly) when she feels like it, and launches exciting new collections when she is so inclined.
These days, the breadth of this dynamo’s talent will be displayed in an eight-day frenzy at the forward-thinking Phi Centre, mere steps away from Morales’s home. The 8-Day Week by Renata Morales is one of Phi’s five people invited over the year to curate the whole centre their way. “Given the dates that were offered to me – June 5 to 12 – and the excitement of summer, being outside, and the way the Phi Centre is made, for spaces to be transformed and used so many ways – it all inspired an eight-day party,” says the designer.
The café space, just as you enter, will be transformed into a pop-up shop open from noon to midnight every day and featuring designs by herself and other Montreal marvels, including Complex Geometries, Denis Gagnon, Andrew Floyd Jewelry and Of / Golf Wang. “I’m making a special line of prints and tops for the Phi Centre, and then there’ll be some of my dresses; I’m also bringing back some prints from the past that we’re reworking,” says Morales.
There will also be an exhibition by amazing faux-Flemish-historical painter Joe Becker, some film screenings, and more music than you can shake a stick at: Young Paris, The Salivation Army, Tenderness, Prison Garde, Tonstartssbandht and the list goes on.
“I like the celebratory part of summer – we made it through winter again! The Old Port comes alive. Every day you can come to the Phi to eat and shop; there’s a DJ all day and then in the evening you come to see cutting-edge musical acts. There’s a karaoke night too, for those who like that!” Clearly, Morales has thought of everything.
The 8-Day Week by Renata Morales, June 5-12, 2013
Phi Centre, 407 Saint-Pierre, (514) 225-0525
Photos by Coey Kerr