SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

It’s rare that a major retailer opens its doors to support local design in Canada, Dubuc added

MONTREAL — A carousel of Quebec fashion has rolled into Ogilvy’s fifth floor in a move that is a coup for local designers.

There is indeed a carousel, a conveyor belt of fashions on which a hot pink fur jacket stands out, among racks showcasing 26 labels in the third edition of the Cabinet Éphémère, a pop-up shop that will stay in place in the downtown luxury department store until Jan. 4, 2015.

Among the offerings are the sophisticated designs of Marie Saint Pierre and Philippe Dubuc, cocktail classics from Michel Desjardins, avant-garde pieces from Pedram Karimi, jewels by Micalla and Anne-Marie Chagnon, art-piece shoes and tough wearable boots from Anastasia Radevich, and fur and accessories from Harricana, Furlux and Inukt.

The initiative was spearheaded by Steeve Lapierre, vice-president of marketing for Ogilvy and Holt Renfrew, Montreal, and designer Marie Saint Pierre, president of the Conseil des créateurs de mode du Québec.

“The partnership with Ogilvy is a dream,’’ said Linda Tremblay, director of the Conseil, which organized and produced the pop-up shop with help from Ogilvy. It shares the fifth-floor space with a new outerwear department, each of about 4,000 square feet.

“The planets aligned to make it happen.’’

The pop-up phenomenon was pioneered internationally by Japanese visionary Rei Kawakubo in 2004 to generate buzz, and has been picked up by both emerging designers and major luxury brands from Paris to L.A.

Buzz and visibility is just what is needed for many local designers struggling in a tough retail environment.

Lapierre emphasized that he always wanted to do something for Quebec designers, and Ogilvy-Holt’s came on board when the opportunity of “fabulous” space and organization aligned.

“We want to be the place where there is always something exciting happening,’’ Lapierre said.

“Ogilvy is very much a part of the community, involved in the community, giving back.’’

It is just a taste of the changes sweeping through the iconic department store since Holt Renfrew, which bought the store in 2011, announced plans last year to merge the two luxury giants.

Designers and organizers agree that the downtown location in a major department store is a boon for business. They also say it’s a win-win situation for both parties.

“We conceived of the Cabinet as a tool for designers to sell themselves in a modern, flexible way in a contemporary setting,’’ Tremblay said.

Saint Pierre said the designers find themselves in a new environment that is prestigious, downtown, in the Golden Square Mile, providing an opportunity to capture a new clientele.

“It gives them a pointer on what the client is like, who has money, how they spend it,’’ said Saint Pierre, who is among the permanent designers at Ogilvy’s and has a shop up the street on de la Montagne. “You will see a more conservative client here, but also a fashionista, and a more artistic type.’’

The department store, on the other hand, discovers new brands and possibly new customers, Saint Pierre said.

Designer Philippe Dubuc, who recently relocated from the Plateau to Old Montreal, said the downtown venue was an important deal for many designers. To blend different kind of labels is important, too, he said.

It’s rare that a major retailer opens its doors to support local design in Canada, Dubuc added.

This entry was posted in CANADIAN FASHION, CANADIAN RETAILERS, JAMES FOWLER and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.