Explore FashionInnovative fashion without haute prices, Montreal is a shopping paradise offering funky preloved to elegant, and everything in between. Start with the Mile End Neighborhood with its offbeat boutiques and vintage stores. The designs of Montreal favorite Jennifer Glasgow and others can be found at General 54 (5145 St-Laurent). The designs of Judith Desjardins, her the BODYBAG by Jude label is often found at Montreal Fashion Week, are at her store Body Bag, at 17 Bernard Street West.
Rush Couture by Claudette Floyd is always stunning and brilliant at Fashion Week. Check out her Rush Couture boutique at 3971 Boul. Saint-Laurent Helmer's designs run the gamut -- sometimes done for shock, but always interesting. You can find his boutique at 2020 Saint Laurent Blvd.
Visit Citizen Vintage at 5330 St. Laurent Boulevard for their creative reinterpretation of pre-loved clothes. They specialize in vintage garments, manufactured over 20 years ago or more, turning pants into shorts, and cutting, washing, studding their way to reinvention. Their special events feature local artists and live music.
One true highlight of any shopping tour is the one-of-a-kind jewelry boutique of Charlotte Hosten who takes odds and ends and creates unique and intricately beautiful pieces.
Atelier b, also a staple at Fashion Week, is at 5758 Boulevard Saint-Laurent. The boutique of Denis Gagnon is at 170B St. Paul St. W.
The joy of fashion Montreal is its multitude of designers and shopping opportunities throughout the city. In addition to my suggestions, make your own shopping tour via ModeMontreal Keep current on the Montreal's boutique scene at Zurbaines.com
You can also arrange for a personal shopping tour with Carrie MacPherson. When not exploring the city for all things fashionable she's editor-in-chief at Zurbaines.com. Contact her via twitter @eatdrinkbcarrie
Catch THE ShowMontreal Fashion Week features mostly Canadian designers and is open to the public -- at affordable prices. In fact, waiting for the next show to start is prime people- and fashion-watching. And there's a program of off-site events as well. The Spring and Summer Fashion Week (which had been held in September) has merged with Fashion & Design Festival making for a dynamite design duo. The combined event will now take place in August. Reason enough to visit (and besides the weather should be perfect).
Montreal Fashion & Design Festival is the largest outdoor fashion and design event in North America. The focus is, of course, on fashion, but there's also musical performances, design in real time and special happenings. Both events are produced by and managed by Groupe Sensation Mode.
The Fashion Week taking place in February covers the Fall/Winter collections. There will be no change to that schedule.
Round out your trip with a visit to Museum of Costume and Textile of Quebec by the river in Old Montreal. It is the only museum in Quebec province devoted entirely to fashion, costumes, textiles and fibers. Sadly, I was unable to see most of the museum, but it looked fascinating and it's definitely on my radar for next time.
Pastry HeavenWith Montreal's French heritage, food is taken quite seriously and pastry shops abound with real butter croissants and pastry varieties that really deserve the appellation mouth-watering. O Plaisirs Gourmands at 1490 Sherbrooke West offers light flaky pastries, and sandwiches. Their croissants are fabulous.
When you're exploring Old Montreal for fashion, the Costume and Textile Museum or to investigate its charming cobblestone streets, you'll definitely want to try Maison Christian Faure -- a pastry school as well as a pastry shop. But really that doesn't do it justice when you walk inside and begin to see the delicacies available You can also enjoy their salads, quiches, and sandwiches.
And do add Brunch at Communion. It's a local favorite and shockingly good!
Hotel Le GermainThe Hotel Le Germain is one of several owned and run by Groupe Germain Hospitalite -- a family-run business headquartered in Quebec City. The hotel is perfectly located in the center of the city, on a quiet street yet near public transportation. The rooms are spacious, and elegant. A deluxe continental breakfast buffet is included with fresh smoked fish, several types of croissant, eggs that are more like a crustless quiche in texture, cheese and fruit.
One of the my favorite amenities is the 24/7 freshly ground and brewed coffee available in the lobby. The machine grinds the beans (decaf or regular) to create espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos. Hot chocolate is also made fresh. Gourmet teas fill china canisters. Pour a cup and sit in the lobby to wait for friends, or fill up a pot and bring it up to your room. With one of the pastries you picked up while shopping. Ah!
Exhausted from shopping? Appia Nomadic Spa Community will come to your room for facials, massages, and other restorative delights.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author
Published: October 25th, 2013