On the Runway

Montreal Fashion Week: Day 2 with Valerie Dumaine and Second Clothing

There were bathing suits and baubles, peek-a-boo cutouts and prints galore. Oh, and a gong, too.

The day started with a super-fast presentation by Montreal Fashion Week newcomer Golden Fish Swimwear. As if by fate, designer Cynthia D’amours sent out her sexy striped bikinis as the temperature outside reached a very un-Fall-like 24 degrees.

With some free time between the afternoon shows, I headed downstairs to check out Le Showroom. Although normally open only to buyers and media, on September 30 the Showroom will shift into shopping mode, and any fashion lover can enter for a fee of $10 to snap up pieces from the Fall/Winter 2010/2011 collections of local and international labels, whose names can be found here.

While walking through the Showroom racks I spotted Toronto designer Philip Sparks, who recently previewed his newly launched line of womenswear for the Spring 2011 season in New York. Modeled after Sparks’ contemporary menswear collection, the 30-piece collection is part borrowed-from-the-boys (see: the single-breasted plaid blazer with pleated pockets) and part just-plain-pretty (love the cherry-blossom-photo-print frock).

One rack over I ran into Luv U Always Leggings designer Tara Garbarino, who just so happens to be featured along with her twin Gabi on the front page of the Planet Flare section in our October issue. Aside from their core collection of lovely legging styles, I spotted sparkly and lace miniskirts, set to land in stores in time for the holiday season, and some new trouser-like leggings with exposed front-fly zippers for next spring.

Next up, two cocktail presentations: ModEthik and Micalla. Organized by FEM International, a local non-profit dedicated to ethical consumption and the empowerment of women around the world, the ModEthik show featured planet-friendly fashions from nine different designers including Nicole Bridger, Marciouche Gagné (of Harricana) and Rachel F. And as always, Micalla staged a classy affair to showcase designer Camilla Jørgensen’s bold one-of-a-kind baubles created with crystals, chains and pearls.  

At Coccolily there was lots of love for the sexed-up ’60s vibe. Colour-blocked shift dresses and bright cocktail frocks with strategically placed cutout details were among the more wearable offerings from designer Naana Tennachie Yankey. Among the wear-if-you-dare-and-don’t-mind-stares styles: the sheer lace high-waist shorts with scalloped hems and the thigh-grazing babydoll dresses. Either way, the message of female empowerment through fashion was clear, and as if the daring designs didn’t speak enough for themselves already, Yankey stormed the catwalk for the finale and just kept on walking. Always leave ’em wanting more.

After a few seasons’ hiatus, longtime local fave Valerie Dumaine made a return to the runway with a clean and classic collection filled with sailor stripes, graphic prints and plenty of floaty little frocks for pretty young things.

The night finished on a high note with a show by Second Clothing. I’m not just talking about the crash of the gong at mouth of the runway that accompanied the live presentation of poses to demonstrate the bona fide flexibility of the brand’s Yoga Jean.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Second sent out a cheerful collection set to an upbeat soundtrack that has spectators shimmying in their seats. For the upcoming season, designer Eric Wazana delved beyond denim to create prêt-a-porter pieces that included an assortment of multi-coloured prints in various cuts, from billowy tops and frilly skirts to mini- and maxi-dresses and even one pair of floral-print harem pants. My verdict? I concur with the crowd: Second’s Spring ’11 collection is loads of fun and bound to sell out fast.