Envers - fall/winter 2006

Yves-Jean Lacasse reveals “Harlequin” for fall/winter 2006, a whimsical collection that takes us to the edge of the designer’s playful lunacy and back.

For women, black and white tartan prints (something we’ve curiously been seeing a lot of) are used on the foldover dress, a tame number when compared to its ribbed, bell-shaped cousines. The tartan billow dress with patchwork is an example of the fantasy material that forms the bulk of this collection inspired by vintage children’s clothing. There are wrap dresses in vaporous silk, and sometimes very uncomplicated dresses reigned in at the thigh by invisible strings. A black off-the-shoulder dress goes well with georgette neck pleating.

Envers dares to dream in technicolour. The blue and green houndstooth check sweater flares at the bottom, a reminder that an old haggard print doesn’t have to be relegated to the memory trunk-it can be resuscitated with a surge of colour. The cherry fuchsia dress with two-tone bands flows like melting candy.

This idealized little doll look, however, is so far removed from reality that it’s hard to pick anything marketable out of the fantasy wear. The draping is at times lazy, a fact exacerbated and made to look foppish by the Christmas colours.

The men’s collection was the usual assortment of dandyish, academic costuming, a tired look, which to Lacasse’s credit was rescued by a raw-cut felted wool jacket with fur trim. The tailoring is still what we’ve come to expect from Lacasse: asymmetry, superposition, topstitching, and cleverly executed variations on a theme. Some hems were embroidered then ripped, and the pants are tailored with an exacting, typically Montreal cut.

Visually challenging, yes. But when compared to previous collections, neither the men’s nor the women’s seem particularly breathtaking.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer