The Festival Mode & Design, known for its fashion-entertainment spectacles, has its serious side, too. Running Aug. 15-20, the festival has an ambitious program of conferences featuring international names.
Conference curator Stéphane Le Duc has spent the past year wooing designers, photographers, artists and game-changers: headliners this year include bandage dress creator Hervé L. Leroux, Sartorialist Scott Schuman, beauty biz icon Lise Watier, haute coiffure creator Charlie Le Mindu, artist Trouble Andrew and many more. Canadians on the list include Fashion TV host Jeanne Beker, Montreal photog Max Abadian and landscape architect Claude Cormier.
I spoke with Hervé L. Leroux, formerly known as Hervé Léger, for an interview to be published on the Sensation Mode website later this summer. The designer spoke of his inspiration, history and current work. “I am a fashion designer so my element is the woman’s body. The only goal is to make women look beautiful,’’ he said.
On Léger-Leroux, Le Duc said, “He’s a survivor.’’ Léger’s legendary bandage dresses are now produced under the label Hervé Léger by Max Azria.
“It’s still his style, but it’s kind of crushing his heart,’’ Le Duc said.
Le Duc said he was excited about Le Mindu because his hair creations are so wild, “and he’s the big thing to know now in Europe, so why not Montreal?”
Schuman is a legend after just 11 years of his groundbreaking blog, The Sartorialist, Le Duc said. His 10th anniversary book sold 100,000 copies, he pointed out, amazing considering that his platform is digital. “But it shows that his work has become a classic that people want to keep. So that’s great to know. And reassuring,’’ he said.
The conferences show that Montreal can attract those international names, Le Duc said.
“There was a kind of sparkle last year. That’s what I’d like to see again.’’
Last year, costumer Patricia Field, milliner Stephen Jones and artist Scooter Laforge were among the speakers.
The festival will feature grand runway spectacles, musical acts, popup shops and design contests. The events are free and open to the public, with the exception of the speakers’ program. Individual tickets for the speakers run $25 to $50; a pass for all 17 conferences is $150.
For more information and interviews (later this summer), click here.