Jean Airoldi - fall/winter 2001

Cité du cinéma, a cavernous production facility on the site of EXPO ‘67 was the perfect venue for Jean Airoldi’s 25th women’s collection and first solo fashion show. Framed by luminous, inflated structures bathed in an ethereal white, Airoldi’s dual-themed fashions paraded forward with a demeanour befitting designs sought after by Jane Seymour.

The first theme to be explored with the indelible Airoldi touch is sophisticated, dressy bourgeois chic. Deluxe materials such as coloured tweeds and combed wools are worked to include such luxury features as smoking details. Rust and purple plaids are bedecked with rhinestone cummerbunds. Pointed bias-cut hemlines boasting shear-cut cutouts alternate from front to back. Particularly striking ensembles include a front-tied jacket with nehru collar, buta brocade across a swath of burgundy fabric stitched around a matching skirt. Forays into bolder territory can be witnessed in the black knit-lace cropped transparent dress, and the black/chamois faux-fur zig-zag dresses and tops.

Glam rock and biker chic flaunted their way onto the Canadian Fashion Stage for the second theme of the show, with models decked-out in true rock star form. Gold and silver lamé pants and tops are presented as a wardrobe favourite, to be paired with any of the ferocious leather items, such as the black leather triangular-cut jupes. Chanel-style suits are featured, as seen in one ensemble with a cropped-waist black suede jacket embellished with blue and white rhinestones. Sassy touches like holographic gold sequins and heart buttons, as well as fresh designs like “hearthole” encircled open cleavage exhibit M.Airoldi’s consistent originality.Many of the pieces bridge the two looks presented, creating beautiful hybrids. A mauve transparent two-piece, with floral sequin appliqué lining a cummerbund and creeping up from the hems of the pant is a fine example. Airoldi accomplished something remarkable this season: classic European traditions are injected with 80’s élan and mellowed with 70’s fluidity.

Make up For ever did a spectacular job, as did Blu Salon for funky styling. Among others, Specs and Montage agencies sent their best to the front lines. I asked M.Airoldi what he thinks the Canadian fashion industry needs to further raise its international image. (translated from French) “Money. We need to raise customs duties on imported fashion and apparel and devote a percentage of that to international marketing campaigns.” When a dynamic designer approaches his métier with a sharp business outlook, success like Jean Airoldi’s is inevitable.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer