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Prabal Gurung’s designs weren’t showed in the runway only, that Tuesday night. Many guests wore  pieces from the designer à l’honneur. And how fabulous they looked, wandering graciously in the floor-to-ceiling windows residence of The Ritz-Carlton at the Champagne-Soaked cocktail party hosted by Ursula Babiarz. Named one of the best dressed women in Canada by FASHION Magazine, the hostess of the soirée was wearing a beautiful mirror printed dress, looking absolutely gorgeous with her short hairstyle that perfectly frames her face. Montreal blogger’s Svetlana, from Svetlanaandlittledog.com, was wearing an exaggerated peplum-top (loved the mix of black leather and sheer), and leather cigarette pants. My favorite look was undeniably Giselle Lerch, perfectly structured white top and printed skirt – Both Prabal Gurung. Dress To Kill editor, Stephane Leduc, was the sharpest with his all-white Olivier Theyskens suit and I just loved how he incorporated the olive-green shoes to the whole outfit. Super chic

 Crédit Photo : Josée Lecompte

If you sit back and think about what makes Montreal evolve in the fashion scene, you may think of the daring collaborations between some local players and international brands. We’ve seen it at the fashion & Design Festival, when Sensation Mode collaborated with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (by the way, have you seen the costume he created for Lady Gaga’s latest videoclip, Applause?). A week later, I’ve seen it again when Usula B. brought Prabal Gurung‘s fall collection for a private show at the Ritz Carlton’s residences.

Behind the beautiful store that displays numerous international designers collections, the owner Ursula B. is a passionate woman who travels repeatedly to dig out newcomers and conquer the experts, bringing to the city the most sought-after pieces to the great delight of a very select clientele. It is with a big smile, and bright eyes, she welcomed us that tuesday evening, to show us de prés Prabal Gurung’s fall collection. A premiere in Canada.

If the whole collection implied a strong position on women empowerment and force, femininity was nonetheless imposed through structured/adjusted cuts, strategically mixed materials and patterns. The first looks for example, suggested a military movement accented by army-green wool dresses, contrasted by big peplums, touches of satin here and brocade. Then followed a movement of black satin married with leather and wool vests, genuinely accessorized with knee-tall fierce shoes. And just when I thought the theme of women strength was reaching its paroxysm, soft and fluid white dresses smoothed down the show, portraying the woman as a Goddess this time. A soft, pure and thrilling Goddess – which I perceive like another hint of strength. Le Coup de Grace : the show closed on a long, magnificent, oscar-esque purple-grey dress that literally took my breath away. The long train flowing behind as the model walked near me made me want the same. In White. For my wedding, one day…

Credit Photo : Josée Lecompte

The Marquis De Castelbajac proved to be a very joyful and lighthearted man. Although he had a long day prepping for a show that brought together no less than 65 models and an intense live composition, he still had the energy to receive well his guests at the private party he hosted. After the show, around 200 guests made their way to the W where a red carpet was rolled to celebrate the passage of the marquess in Montreal. Surrounded by his two sons, Louis-Marie and Guilhem de Castelbajac and the adorable, Ai Canno. I was quite touched to witness this special bound and unconditional, obvious complicity between all of them. Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was redeeming an air of kindness and humanity – which made me better appreciate the man in honor.

Ai Canno‘s style is very eclectic and unique – and so I noticed the numerous times I bumped into her through Mr. De Castelbajac’s events. “I love movement. Casual movements” She said. That night, she was wearing a white t-shirt where the iconic creator signed ” Montreal Fashion Police”, an authoritarian cap and wide-legs pant. Montreal’s very own eclectic designer, Denis Gagnon, also brightened the night by his presence. His signature style composed by rigid vs smooth black material was mixed with a playful neon touch. I loved it ! Francois Grapeloux is a colleague of mine at my day time job, and I ran into him by chance that night! Francois have a sharp European style and he always looks perfect (Even super early at the office, when I, in the other hand, put my mascara in the elevator).

I really loved the palette of colours Francisco Randez chose for that first day of Festival Mode & Design. He also sports this European flavour, I often feel is missing in Montreal. The Montreal-Born famous Model is know for walking for Jean-Paul Gaultier in the past and was also the face of some characters from Assassin’s Creed series. I have to confess that I prefer him with long hair, doesn’t he look like a Don of a Spanish Hacienda ?

Mayoral candidate, Melanie Joly, was proudly representing Montreal’s colours that night through her outfit signed Denis Gagnon. I find politician rarely supports Quebec fashion and I really appreciate Mrs. Joly for this significative gesture. In my last discussion with Mrs. Chabot, director of Musée du Textile et Des Beaux-arts, we were saying how economically important it is, that our politicians support their local designers and also set example to the population.

Photos taken by Ian Woo

It was stunning.

Breathtaking, beyond measure, incredible,  unreasonably stunning.

But see… the show wasn’t just a show. It was a live experiment that celebrated creativity on different forms, and the artists were genuinely raw. Composed by the iconic Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, the concept was a theatrical story,  narrated by 65 colourful models phantoms and accompanied by Mr. ‘s live electronic sounds. But the show turned out to be deeper than I thought, and a special encounter made me understand it better.

Two hours before the show, I bumped into Mr., music producer of the show, with whom I ended up having coffee and an intense conversation on the show’s spirit. ” I met Jean-Charles after we performed in a show in France. I still remember when he came backstage and asked us to work with him, we just couldn’t believe it! ”. Few phone calls later, their collaboration started and the idea of FANTÔMES was born. ”We were three artists who had different levels of expression: Jean-Charles with his fashion; My partner Florent, with his 3D Video skills; And my music. The idea was to find a way to converge it all and this is how the show was born.”

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The Phantoms were wearing colorful (mainly primary colors) and illustrated dresses that were married to over-sized hairstyles; which was visually artistic by itself. Throughout the entire walk of the phantoms, Mr. NÔ was playing his electronic music besides Jean-Charles de Castelbajac who was drawing live for the public. Florent, the video expert, played with the drawings and made them come alive in 3D.

Nothing is calculated or pre-done.” added to me Mr. NÔ before the show. “We are like three kids who gather and play with phantoms. We love to break the codes, and do the inverse of what is supposed to be done.  We have our material and we’ll play with it! I think it’s important to be able to control the technology in a world where technology controls us, you know ?

How prestigious for Montreal to have welcomed such an deep and genuine performance. For Mr. NÔ, the city is inspiring in many levels and would probably come back soon for electronic shows.” For a show to be alive, it also have to embrace the city where it’s happening, the people involved in it. Hundred people are behind this project and they are an incredible added value ! It’s an amazing experience to do it here in Montreal

Here is some shots of the show in case you missed it ! The pictures were taken by talented photographer Ian Woo, who generously agreed to collaborate with me for the Show. Meet him here!

 Credit Photo : Ian Woo