Strutting It: ESMM Grads Show Their Stuff at Perseption

The other week I got the opportunity to see Perseption, the final collections from UQÀM’s École Supérieure de Mode de Montréal’s (aka Montreal Graduate School of Fashion Design) graduating class. Watching new designers before they get established is always exciting, and I’m clearly not the only one who thinks this way—when I arrived at the venue, it was nearly full. It was so full, in fact, that spectators were already finding standing room along the walls. Unlike most fashion shows, this one didn’t have a typical runway; instead, it was diamond shaped with four runways emanating from the centre, creating a chaotic, almost disorienting effect as models came and went from all directions.

The evening opened with Coupé à Vif by Duc C. Nguyên, which was all about playing with curves and creating volume where it’s unexpected. The red linen dresses were classic in shape but had geometric tweaks, a bustle here, hip triangles there. The look that got my attention was an A-line dress that left the model’s breasts exposed. I liked the edginess of it and her daringness to pull it off. All of the pieces were well-crafted and pretty, but this one made me think Nguyên could hold his own with the big leagues.

Mélanie Poupart showed a hard/soft mix (a tailored skirt paired with a draped top, for example) in her collection Hi, My Name Is… which took inspiration from grief. I quite liked the floaty organza clutches that the models carried down the runway. The final model, dressed in a figure hugging, long, white dress, came out on pointe and seemed to sum up the fluidity the designer was going for.
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