Montreal: All hands on deck for Philippe Dubuc’s fall collection

Photography by Martin Rondeau

There was an unusual gathering yesterday on a massive ship docked at the Alexandra Quay in Montreal’s getting-hipper-by-the-second Old Port. Menswear designer Philippe Dubuc shot his fall campaign here and guests were invited to “jump aboard.”

Some journalists (I wasn’t the only one, was I?) didn’t read the invite carefully, and so gasped (read: freaked out) upon viewing the ladder (steep and tall) that was the only entry point of the unorthodox venue. Not such a big deal in flats, but for me in heels, another story. My friend Georgia, wearing a mini-skirt, was even more taken aback. Sorry G.! Besides the regular Montreal Mode crew, guests included National Post fashion writer Nathalie Atkinson, and local TV celebs, including Virginie Coosa.

In the end, it was worth the climb, as Dubuc’s collection did not disappoint. The working, albeit anchored, vessel was the perfect, tongue-in-cheek setting for fall’s “Northern Sailor” theme. A take on the ever-popular military look, Dubuc’s version enlisted luxurious boiled wools, nylon, jersey and ribbed knits in a subtle palette to create his decidedly fashion forward designs: double breasted jackets with classic lapels and zipper details, sheepskin-lined marine jackets, slim fitting pants, strappy vest, a hoodie/bib/vest, and so on. Amidst the metal intestines of what seemed to be an engine room, the mainly black and grey clothes hung at varying heights made a stylish juxtaposition with the metres of yellow rope and orange life preservers. All the while a speaker transmitted recorded foghorns, which echoed almost to eerie effect in the nautical chamber.

After guests previewed the new collection they were led outside to the deck where they sipped miniature bottles of ice cider and watched in the distance as photographer and long time collaborator Martin Rondeau directed three male models against the backdrop of the Montreal skyline and Dubuc, dressed in a hip-length pea coat, met one-on-one with the press. It was a perfect overcast day. When asked what was his Plan B should the weather have turned, Dubuc replied that there was none.

Bottoms up then to having a fashionable day at the docks.

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