Envers - spring/summer 2002

Montreal - On the evening of his Spring/Summer 2002 premiere at Aria nightclub, Yves Jean Lacasse of Envers could be seen standing on top of a huge canvas forest floorscape, welcoming customers of his who flew in from Brussels to see the show. Not surprising for the designer who introduced Québec fashion to Belgium, another thriving hotbed of creative activity. Strong overseas sales reflect the worldly theory at the core of Lacasse’s design and marketing paradigm.

Lacasse credits Mozart with the death of men’s fashion.

“In 1650,” he explains, “Mozart said to his father ‘I like to wear black because it’s so practical. I can play harpsichord and travel from town to town in the same outfit.’”

For the six years that Envers has been around, Lacasse has been trying to reverse the damage, bringing colour back into men’s wardrobes, harmonizing shades of lavender and taupe in nuances that reflect the daily moods of the modern man.

“We all go through bright and dark periods. Imagine the adaptation that occurred in he Victorian period when the English colonized India. The style of dress that resulted was a beautiful hybrid. I am echoing this in my work.”

Lacasse is also convinced that today’s perception of transparent fabrics as inherently feminine is the product of limited, localized trends.

The Envers label is clearly focussed on the architecture of the male body.

” I am constantly aware of a sense of volume and weight. The consistent light weight on the shoulders - this is the balance I try to strike when draping the body. “

Lacasse’s ergonomic draping techniques take western (often pinstriped) sartorial dress codes and infuses them with temple-like geometrical structure, employing sashes, sarongs and appendages to facilitate personal construction. The powder-blue pinstriped dress-shirt with versatile wraparound is beautifully tapered to the waist, the stiff, razor-sharp lapels rising with pride. Personally hand-boiling and dyeing the fabric allows Lacasse to test the limitations of the material, as well as to push the envelope. Actual rice and tea are used in the Spring/Summer 2002 collection to strike the natural balance he seeks. Being market-savvy on a global level has meant shunning the traditional 4-seasonal approach, a realization that Lacasse made while raveling the world . A sense of élan pervades the Envers catalogue.
Lacasse first cut his teeth in the fashion biz in characteristic multi-dimensional form as a window-dresser, stylist and buyer.

” The best fashion school is to know all consumer situations, to spend time changing in front of a mirror and to create your own fashion laboratory. “

Fast-forward to July 2001, on the eve of his twelfth collection, when he was invited to participate in the Québec - Europe 2001 delegation to Brussels as the fashion industry’s sole representative. Fitting, really, for Envers already shows a collection annually in Brussels, where he has become somewhat of a television celebrity. In addition, he teaches twice a week at L’Institut Supérieure de Mode de Montréal, fostering students who he hopes will become his future competition.

Only one trouble plagues Lacasse. What could it be?

“The paradox is that I want my customers to buy my new collections, but I also want the old collections they’ve bought to stay current! “

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Bruno Petrozza, Photographer