Sunday, June 10, 2012


By Eva Fydrych

TÉLIO - Les créateurs mode de demain (Photo courtesy of MFW)

Montreal, the largest city in the province of Quebec, is considered to be a fashion capital of Canada and is quickly getting more and more recognition on the international scene. Montreal is home to the largest outdoor fashion and design festival in North America, has a great number of art galleries, breathtaking architecture and rich cultural background. It is consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities, and in 2006 was named a UNESCO City of Design.

I had a chance to visit this exciting city last June and take part in the opening night of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It was a great opportunity not only to see the work of the famous French designer, but also to get familiar with the local fashion and art scene.

Window display at St. Catherine Street in Montreal (Photo by Eva Fydrych)


Montreal is a world-class shopping destination. There are so many fashion boutiques around the city, that you will be spoiled for choice.

Boutique Scandale, sometimes called 'The fashion soul of Montreal', has been run by Marie-Josée Gagnon since 1977. It features an exclusive inventory of high-end clothing for women. Most of the garments were designed by Georges Lévesque, one of Québec’s most talented designers, who passed away in August 2011. Known for his signature avant-garde style and integrity, mixing materials and styles in new ways, Lévesque also worked in theatre costume.

When designer Denis Gagnon arrived in Montreal in 1982 and saw Lévesque's work in the windows of Scandale, he told himself: "I want to be a designer like that." He also called Lévesque "the Christian Lacroix of Québec".

Scandale (Photo by Eva Fydrych)

The boutique offers a wide selection of beautiful Lévesque's clothes - gypsy-chic creations and colourful bohemian dresses - but also a variety of other designers. Carefully selected pieces, displayed on two floors, are a real paradise for all fashion lovers. Interesting interior design of the boutique makes shopping here an unforgettable experience. Sculptures, paintings, golden framed mirrors and old pieces of furniture are the integral part of Scandale and, together with the clothes, create its unique atmosphere. Celebrity clients include Julia Roberts and Céline Dion.

Another place worth visiting is a stylish Editorial Boutique, located in Centre-Ville, which definitely has something unique about it. Maybe it is a bright purple-blue neon sign, maybe a catchy name of the store, or maybe a small but interesting window display that attracts you to come inside...

Founded in January 2011 by Winnie Wong, Editorial Boutique is quickly becoming a popular shopping spot for all budget-conscious fashion lovers. The concept behind the store is 'STYLE - regardless of your budget.' Great fashion and latest designs with affordable prices. Brands that you can find inside, include House of Harlow 1960 by Nicole Richie, Lush, Luv U Always, Adriano Goldschmied, J Brand, Citiziens of Humanity, One Teaspoon, Fine Collection and Brandy & Melville.

Editorial (Photo by Eva Fydrych)

The store offers an eclectic mix of high-end labels and affordable street wear lines. Most of the garments come form New York, Los Angeles, Australia, Italy, France and Montreal. It also has a broad selection of accessories.

"Style is about having a unique vision, not about the price tag attached." - says the owner, Winnie Wong - "Walk into Kate Moss's closet and you'd easily find a scarf she bought from the streets of Marrakesh hanging beside a blazer she took straight from the runway after a Chanel show."

And that's probably what makes Editorial stand out form the crowd and what attracted me to it in the first place: an individual approach to fashion and a strong philosophy behind the brand.

DUY Autumn/Winter 2012 (Photo courtesy of MFW)


Montreal's art and fashion scene is very creative and versatile. There are many fashion festivals throughout the year, with Montreal Fashion Week (Sept. 6-9) being one of the biggest and the most popular ones. The event showcases the fresh, new, cutting-edge talent and attracts a lot of attention from the fashion industry.

“We’re proud to be delivering an exceptional schedule of forward-thinking designers once again this season. We’ve succeeded in producing a tailor-made Fashion Week where national and international press and buyers can come to discover the uniqueness and authenticity of our fashion designers.” - said Jean-Francois Daviau, co-founder of Groupe Sensation Mode.

Another event, The Montreal Fashion & Design Festival, takes place every summer, and it is a true style mecca featuring both local and international fashion labels. The festival attracts over half a million visitors every year since 2000 on McGill College Avenue, at the heart of Montreal. All outdoor fashion shows and concerts are free. The event is a unique platform introducing to the biggest trends in fashion, design, music and shopping, a one of a kind event you don’t want to miss. The next design festival takes place on August 1-4, so make sure you put this date in your summer fashion calendar!

The Illuminated Crowd by Raymond Mason (Photo by Eva Fydrych)


The Illuminated Crowd, affectionately referred to by locals as 'the butter people', is one of the many interesting spots to visit. Sixty-five individuals of all ages, races, facial expressions and conditions are portrayed in this sculpture. It was created by Franco-British artist, Raymond Mason and is located just outside the main gate of McGill University. The sculpture illustrates the degradation of the human race and symbolizes the fragility of the human condition.

Musha-Galusa Art Africain is a beautiful gallery featuring a huge selection of West African masks, sculptures, jewellery and fabrics. The collection has been carefully selected over the years by its owner, Guy Mushagalusa Chigoho, during his countless travels across the African continent.

Although different types of masks are sold in most African (and American) markets, these masks are only replicas of the original ones used in African societies. Most African masks are passed down from one generation to the next, and masks that have truly been used in African ceremonies are almost never found on the open market.

Musha-Galusa Art Africain (Photo by Eva Fydrych)

It is worth noticing that all masks displayed at Musha-Galusa gallery are authentic and they are still in use. Most of them come from Mali, Kongo, and other Central and West African countries. Some pieces were found in Tanzania.

Mr Chigoho is the son of an African mask-dancer and he keeps the tradition alive by mixing old with contemporary, organizing exhibitions, and promoting African culture in the heart of Montreal. He started collecting and selling art more than twenty years ago and has an extensive network of contacts around the world. The gallery was open more then one year ago at its present location (278 Sherbrooke Street West). It is a must-see destination not only for art lovers, but for everyone visiting the city!

Except several respectable museums and commercial art galleries, there is also a very vibrant underground art scene in Montreal. The city's artist-run-centers were established in the 70s and 80s as a way for artists to explore art for art's sake, and they have been showcasing new ideas ever since. Some districts have several buildings covered in colourful graffiti and unique street art.

Patati Patata restaurant at St. Laurent Blvd. (Photo by Eva Fydrych)

See you in Montreal!

If you know other interesting places in Montreal, please send us an email or leave a comment below!

1 comment:

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