Morales - spring/summer 2006

With her border-blurring collection for spring-summer 2006, Renata Morales adds to the growing number of Canadian designers mixing the prude and promiscuous. The midnight show in Montreal at the erotic moviehouse Cinéma L’Amour had the fashion media in a riot, some flabbergasted by the presentation, some fuming over missed deadlines.

If white lace signified propriety in Victorian times, Morales uses it to fashion chic transgression. The theme was “Craftsy”, a term that doesn’t embody this particular collection as much as it reflects Renata Morales’ general approach to fashion design.

For women, the wrinkled and dimpled check pants in yellow and white ooze happy-go-lucky as much as the button-up cinched blouses whisper restraint. The layering and overlapping is at times overstated, focusing on geometrical shapes instead of detail. The bell skirt is modishly futuristic and harkens back to the original Star Trek. Renata, you tease! That’s my favourite show.

A nice detail crept into the Canadian collections this season when nobody was looking: the rounded cut-away front, on blouses, dresses, you name it. Morales does it deftly with a frilly off-white skirt. There is a bit of neck detail that doesn’t come off so well, namely the fabric hoop clasped around the neck that would’ve been nice as runway ephemera, not as a central design feature.

The menswear, designed by Vincent-Olivier Arsenault, looks a smidge uncomfortable. Wouldn’t you, if you were made to wear the emerald green garden prints? I’m not sure the best way to show off a neatly tailored short-sleeved dress shirt is to cover it with silk-screened gauze chiffon, but the holographic effect does make you want to look at it a bit longer.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer