Charitable Fashion

Festival Mode et Design Gives Back With Vintage Love Show

  • Sponsors Catherine Pogonat, India Desjardins, Anne-Marie Cadieux and Andrée Lachapelle walked the runway for the cause. Photo Allen McEachern

Coco Chanel once said, “A fashion that does not reach the streets is not a fashion.”

At this year’s Festival Mode et Design on McGill College Ave., fashion and the streets united last Thursday at Vintage Love, a runway show celebrating the 80th Anniversary of Le Chaînon women’s shelter.

As part of Le Chaînon’s anniversary, 80 godmothers are chosen—40 in business and 40 in communications—as representatives of the organization’s 80 years, including co-president of Group Sensation Mode, organizer of Festival Mode et Design and the Vintage Love show, Chantal Durivage.

“The vision is to bring the fashion and design to the people,” said Durivage. “The people on the streets are bringing fashion to life, so they need to be in contact directly with that. This is what drives us all year long—how can we touch the people? How can we surprise them? How can we bring fashion to their hearts?”

Explaining the connection between the shelter and the festival, “It’s because of the women,” she said, “and fashion talks a lot about women.”

The theme for the Vintage Love fashion show was inspired by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s thrift shop aesthetic and Durivage’s experiences as a student shopping at Le Chaînon’s St. Laurent shop, Le Coffre aux Tresors.

According to Hélène Turcot, coordinator of the 80th Anniversary Celebrations at Le Chaînon, Durivage’s past has come full-circle.

“Chantal was shopping there when she was young, and now she gives to Le Chaînon.”

Photo Allen McEachern

Turcot also hopes the added visibility of Le Chaînon will encourage other young people to follow in Durivage’s footsteps and shop at Le Coffre aux Tresors, which is an important source of funding for the organization.

“The young people will know Le Chaînon exists and they can go there to buy clothes and give clothes,” Turcot said. “We hope the youngest people will still do what the older people do.”

Throughout its 80-year history, much of the needs at Le Chaînon remain the same—money, meals, and clothes. Around 65 women access Le Chaînon daily for various reasons including depression and financial concerns.

“Not just violence,” said Turcot, as some would believe.

Oftentimes, the women seeking help are especially vulnerable, “the too young and the too old,” said Turcot. “Any woman can come to Le Chaînon, and if its not the right place, we transfer her to a good place,” she added.

As for the fashion show, Durivage feels passionate about the experience of bringing the two worlds together.

“Some people think it’s very superficial—who I am is what I wear, what I see, who I see, what I love. But, also supporting this cause during the festival, I think it makes more and more sense, and I think it’s going to touch more and more people too.”

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