Montreal fashion week diary: Day 1 delights from Harricana, Martin Lim, UNTTLD, and Travis Taddeo

Photography by Allen McEachern
UNTTLD Spring 2012 shot by Allen McEachern

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Montreal Fashion Week rolled into town yesterday and parked herself at the usual spot at Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal. But the first show to kick off the Spring 2012 collections was off-site at Harricana. Mariouche Gagné debuted her new écono-musée de la creation de mode, a kind of open atelier where the public can discover first hand her upcycling methods. Tired fur coats, wedding dresses, and old leathers that enter the building eventually exit as haute manteaux, whimsical separates, and trendy accessories.

Next stop was at the Centre des Sciences. The largely windowed Hall Panoramique was a bright and airy setting for Martin Lim’s latest collection that seemed to float over the runway in creamy café au lait, a sober grey-blue hue, and dazzling hot pink. Fitted sheath dresses and pencil skirts were adorned with glossy ceramic tile details and elegant stovepipe pants and short shorts balanced a fly-away silhouette of square-cut silk dresses and blouses that billowed in each model’s wake. Sublime. This was the first time design duo Pao Lim and Danielle Martin showed at MFW. The husband-and-wife team also recently won the Mercedes-Benz contest alongside UNTTLD. Both will show at LG Fashion Week in Toronto next month.

It was fitting, then, that the boys from UNTTLD also made their MFW debut this season. José Manuel St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger unleashed their avant-garde geometric vision in stark black and white. Zombie-eyed models decked out in dangerous silver stilettos strut the runway in racy, mainly sheer separates. The standout pieces for me were a jersey cape in a graphic print and all the crocheted pieces, such as the slinky, web dress or racerback tank.

Just announced the day of his show, Travis Taddeo was also recently added to the LG Fashion Week lineup as a “wild card” addition. Not entirely a newcomer to either the Montreal or Toronto catwalks (Taddeo has already done both), his new line, “Dry Heat,” was a breath of fresh air. Improving each year on his sexy sportswear for him and her, the opening model was quintessential Taddeo in a simple, pale-pink jersey maxi dress, with armholes elongated seductively low. The glittery platforms laced up in pink gauzy ribbon complemented the disco soundtrack, making way for fun and carefree fashion.