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Inside Mercedes-Benz StartUp Montreal Semi-Finals

by Alessandro @thecaprissimo
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Martin Lim & UNTTLD advance to the fashion finals in October but Anastasia Lomonova has my heart.

Mercedes-Benz held its StartUp Designer Runway Presentations, another platform to foster Canada’s up and coming (and struggling) fashion designers, who’ve been in the business five years or less .
Prior to the show, the judging panel had meetings with a scope of Montreal designers, evaluating their collections, vetting them with questions, reaching for their visions. Then, the judges settled on a selection of five to walk the red-lighted contemporary style runway of Usine C (the cultural hub of Montreal and haven for theater-goers, artists, performers, fashion showers)
The lineup included MARTIN LIM (Danielle Martin & Pao Lim), FAREN (Faren Tami), TRAVIS TADDEO, ANASTASIA LOMONOVA, and UNTTLD (Simon Belanger & José-Manuel St.Jacques): a blend of experience, youth and avant-garde (where my heart lays).
Each designer cat walked eight looks that epitomized their designs: for women and (sometimes) men.
Each designer tailored a music selection. Runway music can, indeed, make or break a show’s success.
The latter is worth mentioning because fashion show music is often neglected by reviewers.
Not to the Mercedes Benz Jury of Canada’s and Quebec’s fashioners’ judges: ROBIN KAY, president, Fashion Design Council of Canada (FDCC); show producer HANS KOECHLING; Quebec fashion designer MARIE SAINT PIERRE; TERESA ELOY, Communications Director, FUR COUNCIL OF CANADA, Mercedes-Benz Canada Director Communications and PR, JOANNE CAZA with JARRAD CLARK, Global production director and Project Runway Australia, IMG FASHION; and FASHION magazine’s Montreal editor PATRICIA GAJO.
Most designers opted for electro-house and dance music to get the audience and the prestigious jury’s attention. Nothing was subdued, lounge, or chill. As for the winners, MARTIN LIM stroke with their flawless bright, color-blocked fluid dresses. The inspiration came from two months wanderings in Paris and Berlin scrutinizing doors, les grandes portes, that stimulated Danielle Martin, ex- intern chez Christian Lacroix.

Martin Lim | Credit Sébastien Roy http://lephotographiste.blogspot.com/

UNTTLD’s collection was more of a front-row style with mini-skirts, fur, more fur and new blacks. The talented duo Simon and José-Manuel proved that their love for high quality garments paired with old couture techniques is the new modernism. Undomesticated is their motto. Indeed.

UNTTLD | Credit Sébastien Roy http://lephotographiste.blogspot.com/

Next Martin Lim, UNTTLD, Triarchy and Cassie Dee will present their lines in a group show with three other preferred designers at LG Fashion Week in October. Following the Seven Royale, the winner will be mentored by key influencers, including Fashion Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra, to clue a solo show at LGFW in the spring 2012.
Nevertheless, Anastasia Lomonova had my heart.
Her simple, yet sophisticated frocks depicted a variety of dark looks that blew me away while being red silken and anonymous: silhouettes walking not women. Wrapped dresses draped with sumptuous delicate silk, a dress with a fur touch, and delectably drapés seventies revisited, established, in my opinion, her avant-garde flair paired with undeniable sartorial hold. She has un je ne sais quoi Alexander McQueen meet John Galliano: fiery and scarlet, yet to be polished along the journey. She won the 2010 Toronto Fashion Incubator, a $10,000 prize, against another of my favorite: Toronto’s House of Groves.

Anastasia Lomonova | Credit Amy Lee Corkum (http://corkumphoto.carbonmade.com)

May I wish that Mercedes Benz, The Toronto Fashion Incubator, the Fur Council of Canada and others pool their resources into ONE non-profit organisation like the British Fashion East. An endowment, catwalk show-production, PR support and expert advice to help them launch their labels will be more suitable to the realities of money-driven fashion exposure. Not just money and a spread in fashion magazines but the whole nine yards for permanence.
Fashion East has a high profile and 10 year track record in the industry for launching future stars; scouting and working with some of the most exciting new designers and thus directly contributing to London’s reputation as the epicentre for creativity. “Fashion East is such a reliable next-big-thing barometer that it’s no longer an off-schedule quirk but one of the official LFW schedule’s hottest tickets”

À bon entendeur,
Alessandro Berga | t: @thecaprissimo |www.jetsetconfidential.com

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