Montreal Fashion Week Fall 2011
Dates: February 7 – 10, 2011

MONTREAL, Nov 24, 2010 / — A pivotal change happened last week in Montreal with Groupe Sensation Mode, producers of Montreal Fashion Week announced that MFW will be held on February 7 – 10, 2011.

Chantal Durivage and Jean-François Daviau - co-Presidents of Groupe Sensation Mode

A strategic date, this puts Montreal right before New York Fashion Week and by virtue of the dates, MFW will unofficially kick off the Fall 2011 women’s ready-to-wear season.

This initiative by Groupe Sensation Mode is a major step in the history of fashion in Canada. It also demonstrates MFW’s phenomenal evolution over the past 5 years and confirms its leading role position.

Still, this change will not be without growing pains and will also require significant adjustment with the fashion designers and the fashion industry as a whole in Montreal in particular and Quebec in general.

But as Jean-François Daviau, co-president of Groupe Sensation Mode told FashionWindows in an interview, “Montreal is just an hour’s flight from New York. We want it to be the ‘Sundance’ of fashion, where young talents congregate on their way to the big show, which is New York.”

Jean-François Daviau was referring to Sundance Film Festival which is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. When it began in 1978, Sundance was not even a blip in the radar. With Robert Redford as the Chairperson and the dates changed from September to January (which was the ski season) to attract Hollywood to come, Sundance slowly built a very influential following.

Today, Sundance opens doors to actors, writers and producers among others to be recognized in the film industry. In fact, it even gave birth to a new classification of films – “made for a film festival”!

With MFW’s change of date, Montreal’s geographic proximity to New York, and Montreal’s ties with Paris, Jean-François Daviau might as well be the Robert Redford of Montreal fashion as Daviau fulfills his vision of MFW being the international fashion incubator.

MFW’s date change also brings back memories of when New York Fashion Week was just beginning. For several years, NYFW was held after Paris Prêt-a-porter. Because it was the last in the cycle – London, Milan, Paris and then New York, European designers accused the Americans of copying their designs and that there was no creativity in New York.

Whether it was out of pride or to prove that they are creating their own designs, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) who was the producer of NYFW those days decided to put New York ahead of everyone.

Yes, there were also growing pains and retail buyers who were used to go to Europe first and then shop last at home had to adjust. New York became a fashion powerhouse and today, no one can imagine the international fashion season without New York.

The fashion world had changed; for hundreds of years, fashion was dominated by Europeans. New York put the U.S. on the fashion map. Will the 2010s prove that it is Canada’s turn?

Photos by Lauren Scruggs

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