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Marie Saint Pierre

Montreal Fashion Week S/S 10

Dazed fly over to check out Canada's most fashionable city

Montreal in Canada is the home of world-famous circus troupe Cirque du Soleil, which probably goes to explain the amount of theatricality that fuelled the shows at the 17th Montreal Fashion Week, organized by Sensation Mode.

There was a live ballet performance, rapping session and even a jewellery line modelled by an opera singer and a man in drag. At one of the shows, the runway was covered in hundreds of rose petals, causing all models to take off their shoes, which brought feverish excitement among the guests.

Not to say that the drama mattered more than the raw design talent, which this year, stood out equally well on the runway as in the showroom space. Among the week’s highlights was the collection of Montreal native Marie Saint Pierre. A pioneer of the crinkled fabric, Saint Pierre is known for her playful use of draping, and has been a firm part of the Montreal scene for the over 21 years. “I want to find new ways of putting clothes at the body” she explained to me at her studio. And though Saint Pierre decided to cancel her show at the last minute, she presented her spring / summer 10 collection in a look book form, highlighting all her signatures, including raw edges, crinkles and structure juxtaposed with volume and drapes.

Two of the more playful collections came from young designers Barilà and Eve Gravel. The first one took a trip back to the 80s, with colourful jumpsuits, crop tops and bodycon dresses fit for a contemporary Bananarama girl. Gravel on the other hand, stuck to a mainly monochrome palette, fusing maculine and feminine elements in oversized tees, waistcoats and shrunken blazers – all kept in shades of black, white and grey.

Montreal’s rebellious streak came to life at the show of Denis Gagnon, who previously collaborated with another Montreal star, Rad Hourani. “I always experiment with leather” he explained of his style. “I cut it, I burn it, I dye it!”. And this season, Gagnon certainly didn’t disappoint on the experimental front, creating swirly patterns with zippers on his silk dresses and leather jackets. Wet hair and chunky bangles complimented the look, bringing forward a somewhat beautiful yet brooding aesthetic – something, which despite the plethora of colours at many shows, continues to be Canada's biggest asset.