Muse - fall/winter 2001

She’s standing in the Plaza, one hand on her hip, the other concealed in her pocket. She scans the concrete horizon, through the fountain to where someone was just standing. She knows that as long as she remains motionless she can blend in with the surroundings, becoming a pillar in her own right. Pupils narrow - she’s closing in. All of a sudden, eclipse!… The Plaza is shrouded in darkness. When a distant scream restores the light, all that’s left of her is a delicate glove. You pick it up and read the embroidery: “Muse.”

It’s a Christian Chenail creation from his Muse label fashion show held at the Corona Theatre in Montreal on March 5, 2001. Muse’s Fall/Winter 2001 collection was presented under the theme “Hitchcock Women”. Suspense was the order of the day, as the show began with scenes from “The Birds” projected onto 30-foot white drapes covering the stage. A traditional catwalk was framed by empty, spotlit birdcages.

The Muse palette of colour is deep and rich. Burgundy, blueberry and chartreuse reflect ecological nuances. Black sheer dresses with pinned black feathers were paired with elegant red gloves. Satin tops gave an edge to the subtler brown, plum and eggplant suits. Lustre is a trend - Muse’s shimmering black banana sequins adorn the body beautifully and broadcast endless elegance. DIM was the purveyor of detailed, black hose, which was worn with nearly every piece. But the impact ensembles of the show were definitely the houndstooth skirts, pants and tops matched to chartreuse mohair-style shags. Despite the fact that we’ve seen houndstooth checks dominate the fashion landscape this season, Chenail uses them exceedingly well as balancing catalysts. Muse is in the wardrobe business - a defined image of the provocative, filmic woman was successfully sold to a crowd of Montreal fashion types.Pure Salon was responsible for great coiffure and make-up was courtesy of MAC. Despite a few technical glitches, the show was impressive. Chenail’s fascination with Hitchcock was explained to me.

“My designs are about magnifying women to super-perfection. In Hitchcock, particularly from 1957-64 we see these strong, feminine characters who are in total control.”

A nice break from fashion’s relentless pursuit of the perfect figure. For the tenacious 21st-century woman, fashion is a projection tool. But if consumers wish to pursue this individual endeavour while buying into an idealized image, they have to be aware of what elements within themselves are attracted to it.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer