Montreal’s Renata Morales is renowned for her exquisite eccentricity, wowing fashion crowds both at home and abroad with her whimsical dresses and colourful canvas works. Starting June 5th, the multidisciplinary artist and fashion designer will take over the Old Port’s Phi Centre to host the cultural space’s first-ever “curatorial,” featuring eight days and seven nights of art, fashion, food, music and film. (Future guest curators will include other such Montreal alum as Rad Hourani and Vice founder Suroosh Alvi.) FLARE sat down with Morales to talk about passion, the project and her very own pop-up shop.
You’ve worked with the Phi Centre before, designing costumes for Denis Villeneuve’s award-winning short film, Next Floor. How did The 8-Day Week come about?
I was invited to begin with because of my textile and artistic background. I think there was an interest in having different people do the projects, and because I come from that background, it was just natural to bring in a pop-up shop. I’m also a huge fan of music, but also visual arts, movement, textile and presentation. So it’s multi-dimensional and multi-media, too.
What was the overarching inspiration for the project?
I always love going somewhere where you can actually hang around for awhile, and since the Old Port is so friendly this time of year, I wanted to create an experience where you can go outside, you can come back in, you can shop, you can go somewhere else. It’s a destination, and we’re going to have a party every night—seven nights of shows and at least three bands every night. It’s going to be fun.
How did Montreal as a setting influence the project as a whole?
Montreal is a unique place in the world, and I think that this kind of event is very Montreal. Yes, it’s fun and beautiful, but it’s still relaxed and chill. Everyone is going to give it their best, but at the end of the day, there has to a certain democratic side to it. [The event is] by far not elitist: the prices at the store—we could never and are not trying to be H&M—but there are going to be all kinds of prices, from super-expensive pieces that are beautiful and one-of-a-kind to very accessible pieces for everybody. Even the drinks—you can have Champagne, you can have a beer, you can have whatever. It’s very Montreal.
You’ve invited artists, fashion designers, musicians and filmmakers from all over the world to take part in your event. What do all the participants have in common?
I completely believe in every single person who’s participating in the event. For me, it’s people I admire. We’re all addicted to what we do, and we’re all very passionate. Every single person who’s participating in the event, and every single person who works at PHI, we’re all working really purely and believe strongly in what we do.
One of the most exciting features of the event is the pop-up shop featuring exclusive designs by the likes of you, Denis Gagnon, Complex Geometries, Arielle de Pinto and Andrew Floyd. What else will shoppers find?
I am going to have some archives available for my stuff, but 90 percent of the stuff that’s available at the pop-up shop will only be available for eight days, and it’s limited quantities. Every single Morales print that we made is 12 pieces, that’s it.
If you could sum up your event one sentence, what would it be?
We’re going to celebrate summer, celebrate the arts, celebrate Montreal.
The 8-Day Week by Renata Morales takes place June 5–12 at the Phi Centre, 407 Saint-Pierre St. For more information, call 514-225-0525 or visit phi-centre.com.