muse_christian_chenailF1004MONTREAL, Mar 1, 2010 / FW/ — Background music with strong military beat, Christian Chenail began his collection with Russian military inspired pieces that were aspirational.

Originally trained as an architect, Christian Chenail knows how to create strong silhouettes that can catch your eye.

There is a definitive masculine aura in the collection, though it is far from a Victor / Victoria statement.

Using a gamut of fabric from wool to jersey, stripes to solids, patent leather to natural leather and brocade black and white patterns, the Muse Christian Chenail Fall 2010 collection is for glamazons.

And again, as I have mentioned several times already this Montreal season, some editing will make a collection have a stronger statement.

Halfway through the show, other elements were introduced and thus the Russian military and masculine aura of the clothes were emasculated, no pun intended.

It’s not to say that the collection was not good. Christian Chenail had a theme and a story going during the first half of the show.

Yet for some strange reason, the show was “extended” so that it will last 30 minutes, not the optimal 12-15 minutes. Perhaps it is because of the mixed audience. To journalists and buyers, 15 minutes is more than enough for the designer’s message to be heard.

With “customers” in the audience, they want more; they want their money’s worth. And that is where the conflict begins. The designer and the show producer have to decide whom they want to please – the critics or the customers?

In New York, London, Milan and Paris, the audience is 95% trade, i.e. writers, photographers and retail buyers. Everyone is concentrated on the collection and what the designer is proposing next season. The moment you throw “customers” in the mix, it becomes an entirely new ball game.

I will go out on a limb and say that this conflicted scenario does not only affect Christian Chenail but a majority of the designers showing at Montreal Fashion Week.

Photos courtesy of Bureau de la mode de Montréal and Jimmy Hamelin

Montreal Fashion Week Fall 2010