Day 1

We started with the new kid on the block in Montreal, Vancouver designer Melissa Taylor. For her first show on Quebec soil, she presented simple, fresh creations. The master piece: the cotton mini summer dress, very simple, very short, with a country vibe. It’s a collection tinged with vivid colours here and there, such as the aqua tunic and fuchsia leggings. There’s romance in the details, such as flounce, buckles and long ribbons for cinching the waist. Also notable: The designer used ecological textiles such as jeans made of bamboo and soy, as well as organic cotton.

Muse plays the seduction card this summer. Choice pieces to render a woman sexy: the dress and the skirt. These pieces were presented in all forms, sometimes balloon, sometimes pencil or draped, or even flounce, sometimes long, sometimes very short. Christian Chenail worked with a large range of textiles, such as linen, jersey and cotton, all the while punctuating the neutral collection with vivid colours: apple green, fuchsia and pink. The bustier was also present, accentuating the female form to make her even more feminine and seductive.

For this spring-summer 2008 collection, Yves Jean Lacasse transported us to a romantic universe with Maghrebian flavours. Inspired by a Moroccan myth, in which Isli and Tislit are two lovers with a tragic destiny, à la Romeo and Juliette, the Montreal designer presented romantic and ethnic creations. He revisited caftans and tunics, and westernized them, all the while giving a Moroccan touch to suits. Like a spice market straight out of a souk, the clothes were illuminated with warm, vivid colours. Brocade, lace, embroidery — the textures were rich and the fabrics noble. Yves Jean Lacasse transformed his show into a benefit soirée helping to finance a humanitarian clinic, the Bonnes Oeuvres du Cœur (Good Works from the Heart), of Sainte-Justine hospital. It’s a team of cardiologists who will go on a mission to Morocco to help children suffering from heart defects. ‘

Last season, Helmer Joseph stole the hearts of the public, which surely must have added pressure for his second showing at Fashion Week. Yet he seduced us again in presenting a collection that was completely different from the season before, where he used different processes of patchwork and flower appliqués. For spring 2008, the creator offered something new: a line of jewellery and bags. On the clothing side, he was inspired by the 40s and 50s. He also played with volume, cuts and colour. Dresses were cinched, highlighting feminine curves, or else the designer accentuated volume to add voluptuousness. The result? Grace and sensuality.

Photos courtesy of Jimmy Hamelin/ SensationModeDay 2

Claudette Floyd is known for her evening gowns and glamour. This summer 2008 is no exception, the creator having decided to continue dedicating herself to her fetish piece: the cocktail dress. This time, she was inspired by the aestheticism of contemporary art, which is why she named her collection “Canvas.” Like a painter, she played with textures, colours and contrasts. We noticed lots of satiny finishes, fluidity in the fabrics and pearl motifs. Like an abstract work, the Montreal designer also relied on very graphic forms. Elsewhere, to transform her collection into a work of art, she called on the artist Besner, who painted some of her creations.

Renata Morales’ shows are works of art in themselves, and a must-see for fans of Montreal fashion. To present her spring-summer 2008 collection, the designer orchestrated a spectacle marked with creativity, but in its most simple expression. For music, a saxophonist improvised notes. For ambiance, a video of designs by Morales was projected onto a wall. For her clothes, Renata Morales flirted with contrasts and defies conventions, as is her custom, listening only to her intuition. As a result, she offered us a series of long tunics made from rich, satiny fabrics with skull prints. She has also perfected her approach to origami, despite the complexity of this technique, which gave a certain lightness to the clothes.

Marisa Minicucci addresses the urban woman. The designer dedicated herself this summer to simple cuts. For her dresses, skirts and suits, she worked with geometric prints. Her series of crop coats came in a variety of fabrics, such as vinyl and see-through. Minicucci also played with belts, sometimes slim, sometimes wide, and jewellery. She ended her collection with a series of designs featuring golden touches, such as a gold diaphanous evening gown, a sexy dress with leopard motif and some lamé tops. Everything was sprinkled with gold!

Photos courtesy of Jimmy Hamelin/ SensationModeDay 3

It was a very minimalist collection for the young Fashion Week recruit. The spring-summer 2008 season for Mylène Bélair made a statement of simplicity. The pure lines of her creations testified to a certain refinement. The pieces amounted to translucent T-shirts, pencil skirts, cigarette pants and square cuts. The tones vacillated between black, gray and white, and sometimes a hint of pale yellow arose from the lot. Very restrained creations for the Montreal designer.

The name says all! As seen on the runway, the Foxy woman is sexy and provocative, in skinny jeans and mini-shorts. With their Lolita allure, many of the creations were seductive, featuring polka dot motifs and leopard prints-not to mention that most of the tops featured a bustier. This season, Foxy also offered a series of close-fitting cocktail dresses.

After Morales, Marie Saint Pierre’s show was the most popular, and with good reason. Marie Saint Pierre remains the leader in Quebec and Canadian fashion. She distinguishes herself by her professionalism and her concern for perfection. Nothing escapes her when the time comes to present her new collections to the public. The show was impeccable, the picture of its creations. The designer continues to evolve along the lines of the purity of shapes. Each season, she overcomes another dimension in her creative approach. Always inspired by material and texture, this time Marie Saint Pierre worked more with simplicity, abandoning somewhat her textured fabrics to dedicate herself more to superimpositions of translucent fabrics. We also noticed straighter lines. What stood out from the show remained the designer’s capacity to create clothes that are at the same time aesthetically chic and uniquely comfortable.

Photos courtesy of Jimmy Hamelin/ SensationModeEthical shows

The week ended with a show in honour of ethical fashion. Under this theme, seven designers presented their spring-summer 2008 collections, created from organic, recycled or fair fabrics. The participating designers included the doyenne of eco-fashion, Mariouche Gagné, with her label Harricana. For the summer, she offered a series of dresses and tunics made with scarves. Despite the summery season, she did not forget her prime material of creation, recycled fur, which she transformed into jewellery, including strings of fur pearls!

Also included was Myco Anna, a Quebec label that is more and more present in the industry, and designer Ani from On & On, who has also began to establish herself in Montreal fashion. For the hot season, she worked with secondhand clothes to give them a second life.

Also part of the ethical show was the line from Jean Second, who decided to become conscientious in creating a line of eco jeans, S(eco)nd. In uniting the latest technologies with organic fabrics, these jeans aim to be the greenest on the market.

Since its creation in 2004, 88 Queen St. has dedicated itself to the protection of animals and the environment. Each season, the designer behind the brand, Marie Geneviève Pilon, unites her two loves, nature and fashion, to invent street wear fashions made from recycled clothes.

For four years, Geneviève Genest, the designer behind the brand Création Genest, has also specialized in the creation of clothes made from recycled materials. Gaining notice, this creator possesses an excellent reference, having already worked with designer Denis Gagnon. And let’s not forget Véronique Milikovitch, the French designer who addresses her respect for the environment in her choice of natural materials. She works with cotton, wool and silk above all.

Photos courtesy of Jimmy Hamelin/ SensationMode