Envers - fall/winter 2003

If Yves-Jean Lacasse was crossing his fingers for Fall 2003, it was with the utmost confidence.

Up until this collection Envers had only released a smattering of women’s pieces, just enough to create a buzz, and to keep fans wondering if it would ever crystallize into a bona fide line.

“The demand has been growing for the past few seasons. But I didn’t want to do both men’s and women’s in the same fabrics. They are two different worlds with different sets of emotions, and I knew this is how I must treat them. The challenge was to bring those two worlds together in one night, one show.”

The collection is a neo-classical ode to Eastern Europe’ noblewomen and noblemen, worn ragged by an arduous journey but buoyed by the hope of discovery. It’s a treat to see Envers’ radical draping techniques used to create feminine silhouettes in this loaded context; the results are deliriously original.

A vaporous silk skirt in cream tones shares the dreamy movements of the striped silver lamé wraparound skirt. This is contrasted with the density of a charcoal wool top with thick, leafy cutouts and the deconstructed woollen skirt in khaki and red with spiralling belt. These vociferous pieces are charged with details that play dangerously around the fringe or slightly out of sight. Yet they are no less feminine than the lighter women’s pieces, such as the wispy cotton veil top with murmuring strands of embroidery.

The miracle continues: the new blood of the inaugural women’s line also jumpstarted a masculine revival. Unlike Envers’ previous men’s collections, this one derives richesse from unfinished edginess, facilitated by rampant topstitching and mohair lining. The Slavic influence is felt in the yarn crepe sweater as well as the felted wool tunic with monk pouch. The dress shirts reclaim the spotlight, namely the effervescent blue and white striped cotton shirt, and asymmetric white shirts bearing bold leaf appliqué.

Swerving wildly between gypsy rhythms and ambient loops, the catatonic music played a key role in the show, staged in both Montreal and Toronto.

“The music is very important to communicating the philosophy of the collection. A collection must transport you somewhere, you have to believe that the characters involved are real people, that they really have been wearing something for 300 years.”

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer