Montreal Fashion Week: Andy Thê-Anh layers on the black for his fall collection

ANDY THÊ-ANH Fall 2010

Andy Thê-Anh’s “cocktail” show last summer at the Marché Bonsecours was a crowded, on-tip toes affair (thank goodness for platform boots). So his recent presentation for Fall 2010 in the airy atrium space of Excentris was a breath of fresh air. An intimate gathering of thirty or so of Montreal’s fashion editors and bloggers loaded up on appies from next door’s Café Méliès and giggled like little girls after a round (or two) of white wine spritzers.

A hometown prelude to the big production in Toronto at the very end of March, the Montreal-born Vietnamese designer greeted guests as they arrived and then proceeded to emcee his own show while slick-haired models strut out one by one.

The mainly black collection featured the midnight hue in varying textures. There was a pinstriped “laminated” acetate wool that, from a distance, had the sheen of leather and was seen on the tuxedo jackets with asymmetrical folding and matching pencil skirts or wide-legged pants. There was double layered jersey resembled neoprene, and butter soft lambskin leather on a wide-lapel bolero. Of the coordinated blouses that dripped with pearl beads and tiny crystals, Thê-Anh noted the convenience of making them body suits, “so when you bend over nothing falls out.” A particular fresh look was the new cut for cargo pants: pleated fronts and tapered ankle-length hems. I personally coveted the digital prints of flowers, which gave a romantic, painterly effect, in black and white, as well as deep blue and an army green that had a modern camouflage effect.

Much of the oh-ing and ah-ing came for the evening gowns, several in mermaid-esque style detailed with mini-trains, others in short A-line pleated bottoms, deep V-neck and jersey backs. Thê-Anh joked that a particular ensemble was for the next Jutra Awards. (in fact he told me later he will be dressing actress Karine Vanasse for the local awards event.) Post show, I caught Mitsou Gélinas trying on the heather grey, alpaca wool opera coat , which made a perfect monotone match with her little grey perfecto and skinny pants. (Non-Quebeckers may remember Mitsou as the vixen who sang “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy.” She’s now a local icon doing radio and TV.)

This particular season marks an important turn in Andy Thê-Anh universe, as his team launches a new logo and brand identity, as well as two new concept stores (one in Toronto’s posh Yorkville area, which was relocated to 27 Bellair St., and a second at Bayview Village) on March 25th. According to company president Étienne Lecompte, who has been spearheading the image revamp since June 2009, the new boutiques will feature “a concept that hasn’t been seen yet.” Basically, the idea rids the store of behind-the-scenes stockrooms and introduces a procession of ten-foot-high drawers that each roll out to reveal racks inside. (The concept will eventually trickle into the two Montreal locations as well.) I know I’m hooked.

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