High fashion

by Kalika HAstings

Last Thursday, Montreal designer Ralph Leroy presented his Men’s Fall/Winter 2010-2011 collection as part of Montreal Fashion Week at the Marché Bonsecours.

The fashion show began at 6:00 p.m. with full attendance. Spectators lined up outside an hour before the show in order to find a good seat. His collection, entitled “Manu Militari,” pays tribute to his homeland, Haiti, and the designs emphasize the timelessness and comfort of classic military cuts.

“A fashion show is like giving birth to a child, once it comes out, you have to love what you’ve produced,” Leroy said.

Once the crowd was seated, disorienting spotlights circled the room as the voice of a frantic woman confessed her mourning for Haiti. The models fiercely marched onto the runway wearing military outfits each holding a lit candle, while a journalist reports on the Haitian tragedy as it unfolds through the speakers of the room. The models retreat backstage and the show begins.

“The introduction was awesome, it gave me an uneasy feeling, in a good way since it went along with the theme,” Christina Morris, a spectator said.

With much detail paid to the buttons and zippers, the designs were imaginative and fierce, transforming the classic military style into a vibrant fashion forward piece with colours such as orange and red. The combination of fur, leather and linen emphasized the boldness of each outfit.

“My favourite was the size of the gold buttons on each coat, they really stood out,” Vallerya Yatsenko, a Fashion Week volunteer said.

His new collection remained true to his signature well-fitted classic pant and shirt design, with even more daring combinations such as colourful double layered shirts, oversized handbags and extremely long military inspired coats.

“His clothes have a great fit, they were comfortable to walk in,” Alexandre Damour, runway model said.

Leroy has been immersed in fashion ever since a young age; he was first introduced because of his mother’s boutique Haiti. In 2004, he moved to Miami and later New York to pursue his career as a model. Leroy moved to Montreal in 2005, hoping to expand his fashion career in a French speaking environment. He launched his own jewellery line called Kofi Collection in 2006 and finally, his clothing line for men debuted in 2009 with great success at the Montreal Fashion Week.

“I didn’t like the clothes I was wearing as a model, so I decided to create my own clothing line for men,” Leroy said.

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