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Melissa Matos (top), Andrew Ly (bottom)

Fantastic Fantasme

Andrew Ly and Melissa Matos team up to put on a fashion show and film event on the cuff at Montreal’s Darling Foundry.

Conceptual designer Andrew Ly attributes Montreal as a city that is progressively more fashion forward than the rest of Canada and its from this sentiment that the event collaboration Fantasme was born. Together with London-based Melissa Matos, a creative director and designer of jewellery/clothing label Powerhaus, they put on a film and fashion show at Montreal’s Darling Foundry last week that showcased the work of other Fantasme collaborators such as Kevin Calero’s atmospheric films (see below) as well as their own respective collections. We speak to both Ly and Matos about how the event came about and what Montreal is offering up fashion-wise at the moment.

Dazed Digital: How did the Fantasme joint collaboration come about?
Melissa Matos: Andrew and I have been working together on shoots for a few years and the next logical step of our collaborative relationship was always to plan an event showing our work. Coincidentally, our first choice has always been the Darling Foundry in Montreal. The space is extremely open to possibility.  We were both working on independent collections when this opportunity came up, so everything seemed to fall into place quite organically.

DD: Is Powerhaus still concentrated on jewellery or is it branching out into fashion as well seeing as you work with Lenny Pier Ramos?
Melissa Matos: With Lenny currently at the Royal Academy in Antwerp, this collection was made on my own. It will be mainly accessories, although I did design the clothing accompanying the collection. What is so exciting about PowerHaus is its ability to shift, evolve and really make it our own. It is not defined by fashion seasons; it is open to involving different aspects of fashion. It’s more about just putting ideas out there.

DD: What is the idea behind the latest collection?
Melissa Matos: Brass, pearls, oxidized silver and a little gold. I have been working a lot with silhouette and outlines. Think: brass rod armatures and beaded wired structures- the illusion, allusion and delusion of a garment or of what could be there. On a conceptual level, this becomes a collection about substance and the instrinsic; ambuiguity and the power of suggestion.

Dazed Digital: What was the inspiration behind the film ‘Polet’ for the Fantasme event?
Andrew Ly: To me fashion is an installation of the body and a mood. Whether it be masculine, feminine, androgynous, powerful or what ever it may be. I really wanted my character to be a little bit of it all (fem, masc, both) as you can see he is very powerful looking and very strong but at the same putting on a chiffon kimono style dress on him did not make him look feminine but touches of it and still maintaining his identity. Playing with gender and the illusion of what man/woman should be in a stereotypical way is not interesting to me. Mixing it all was a great challenge and attractive.

DD: Describe the way you design fashion?  
Andrew Ly: The way I like to design fashion is to start with the simple construction of a garment and complicate it in subtle ways without losing the simplicity of a piece.

DD: What do you think of Montreal's fashion scene?  Is it burgeoning?
Andrew Ly: Montreal's fashion scene to me is one of the better scenes in Canada. Having moved from Calgary Alberta to Montreal was a breath of fresh air. It’s a city where no one really cares what you do or how you do it. You are free to express yourself. Having said all that, fashion can always grow in every city. There are good things and there are also very bad things about every city, so I guess you just have to stay in your bubble and believe in a your own concept and work on a conceptual living lifestyle.

Andrew Ly and Kevin Calero's film 'Polet'

Melissa Matos and Kevin Calero's film 'Cycle'