Luxury By Design

A Celebration of Eccentricity and Awareness
Fashion was grooving to the beat of a different drum on November 5 in Montreal. “Luxury By Design” was a unique event hosted at Harry Rosen in a successful effort to raise funds for the Montreal General Hospital’s Prostate Cancer Centre.

Six original Salvador Dali works were on display for their fittingly surreal, exclusive North American premiere. They form part of a collection that was commissioned by luxury fashion house Scabal in 1971, in search of Dali’s vision for men’s wear in the 21st century. The inimitable eccentric, whose presented works included such descriptions as “Year 2000: A plastic and mica hat filled with helium elevating the spirits of depressed beggars and maniacs,” could also be seen expounding on his philosophies on a video screen, mingling electronically with the champagne crowd. Scabal created six exclusive fabrics inspired by the paintings that also debuted at this event. Scabal’s opulent Diamond Chip and Gold Treasure suits were also on hand to woo the invitees.

Canadian designer Marisa Minicucci created stunning black evening wear for the event, which was informally paraded around the venue with Swarovski jewellery. The crystal eye-masks played perfect counterpoint with what Minicucci describes as “simply sleek and showing some skin.” Minicucci’s bustier dress in silk charmeuse and velvet silk descending into a bell skirt perpetuated the masquerade allure of this evening ball.

An anachronistic celebration to its core, “Luxury By Design” also featured Italian luxury brand Brioni’s vintage 1957 Hess Tuxedo line. Credited with staging the first men’s show in 1952 and creating what the New York Times dubbed the New Look for men, Brioni went on to dress American celebrities Clark Gable, John Wayne, Rock Hudson and Pierce Brosnan of James Bond fame.

The festivities came to a close with a bona fide Christie’s auction, taking the highest bids for designer chairs made with donated men’s wear fabrics. The chairs were designed to the specifications of such “stylébrités” as Denis Desro of Elle Québec, Claude Laframboise of Fashion Montréal and France Larocque of Griffe Fashion File. All proceeds went to the Montreal General Hospital’s Prostate Cancer Centre.

Yosh Taguchi of the Prostate cancer Centre reminded the crowd that prostate cancer is the number two cancer killer among men.

“Traditionally, men don’t take care of themselves. A simple blood test costs four dollars.”

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer