Our 5 best (Gaultier-less) bets for Festival Mode & Design Montreal

Fashionista514's Robyn Chalmers

The lineup for the outdoor extravaganza Festival Mode & Design Montreal, starting today and running through August 6th, is sure to be a circus of amazing events. And while tonight’s big fashion buzz surrounds Jean Paul Gaultier‘s ready-to-wear show, I’m also in a tizzy over all the local talent.

To really discover the backbone of Montreal street style, here are my five must-see shows that highlight local talent.

1. Montreal Fashion Week highlights
August 3 at 9 p.m.

In case you missed Semaine de la Mode last February, you can see all the fall and winter 2011/12 looks on one stage–and then go shop their looks, which should all be in-store by now. The models are some of Quebec’s most beloved stars, including Francisco Randez, who is the face of JPG’s fragrance, Le Male. Look for my coups de coeur: the sexy femme style of Barilà, avant-garde Denis Gagnon, glittery baubles by Micalla, and Mulcair’s tailored tomboy chic. Also part of the show is the dress by Kwantlen University student Earl Mabaquiao that won the Télio contest. I had the honour of wearing his dress to a posh event this past spring. (Thank you, Earl!)

See more of our festival picks! »

Looks from By Thomas

2. Collectif: Fashion Pop
August 5 at 6:15 p.m.

This quirky design collective features a bunch of up-and-comers who fly curiously just below the radar despite their obvious talent. Norwegian Wood by Angie Johnson shows limited edition clothes that are not for shy wallflower types. (I hear she also has a new lingerie line up her sleeve.) I’m also keen on seeing Ovate by Audrey Cantwell; By Thomas, whose geometric shapes make for modern silhouettes; and other new talents, including White Label and Dane Richards, that are not (yet) available at the retail level.

3. Collectif 5 Bloguers, 5 Looks
August 4 at 6:15 p.m.

This twist on the power of social media will put five Montreal fashion bloggers to the test. Each of them will have to source and style five looks and send them down the runway. One of the bloggers, the ever-fierce Lolitta Dandoy, is a media darling thanks to her awarding-winning mode de rue blog—not to mention the prettiest paparazzi in town. One part blogger, one part model, and 10 parts long legs, Fashionista514’s Robyn Chalmers is also presenting on the catwalk.

A look from Betina Lou

4. Noir C’est Noir
August 5 at 9:30 p.m.

Black is the new black—see it in leather, vinyl, wool, cotton, studs, and more. This show will feature indie lines by Juma and Unttld, Montreal men’s designer Philippe Dubuc (he also has a capsule collection for women at Simons, but don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet because there are still some items on the racks), leather experts Rudsak, and—long time, no see—Duy is back.

5. Crème a la Glace, Limonade Sucrée
August 6 at 2 p.m.

On Saturday, what sweeter way to spend an afternoon than to catch three of Montreal’s rising stars? Look for Betina Lou’s sexy secretary separates, Eve Gravel’s edgy vintage-chic revisited, and Travis Taddeo’s glamazon-chic dresses with attitude.