The Consumable Art of Fashion with Katrin Leblond

Semaine de Mode Montréal 18
Silvia Di Iorio
Fashion shows all have the same basic structure: gorgeous Barbie doll models walk up and down the runway while posing and being admired by the audience. Katrin Leblond’s fashion show for her Fall/Winter 2010 collection had that, plus average-sized non-Barbie-ish women. And an elderly woman, too. Oh, and also acrobatic performances.

For the Fall/Winter 2010-11 collections, most designers opted for black and gray as their primary color choices. Katrin Leblond chose an ecstasy of color. Her latest collection is vastly different from the other Fashion Week collections because there is a strong emphasis on art.

Silvia and Katrin SMM lounge

I met Leblond after her show in the Designer Lounge. I asked her about her inspirations and she said she wanted to portray "consumable art in fashion." She wanted creative and artistic pieces, but to make "art you can wear."

I couldn’t help but think of a phrase one of my fashion design teachers repeatedly told her students: "fashion is an art, not a science." So true. That is why fashion exists and why it evolves season after season. Leblond captures that notion to the fullest. It’s pretty evident in her clothing. Her collection is so full of life. It has a certain joie-de-vivre.

The elderly female model is reminiscent of John Galliano’s collection for Spring/Summer 2006, in which an elderly lady walked the runway in a gray blazer and fedora hat. Leblond’s elderly model also walked out in a purple blazer, and she gained applause the unpredictability factor. She also made another appearance in a long gray dress, wand in hand. I curiously questioned Leblond about her choice in model, and her answer was simple and made a heap of sense: The collection can be worn for years by the real woman, at any age. Leblond designs for a broader target market. The woman who appreciates art, comfort, femininity, and style all rolled into one.

Katrin LeBlond fall/winter 2010

Leblond's show also surprised her audience with simple acrobatic circus-inspired acts that the models effortlessly performed. It was refreshing to see at Fashion Week. The designer was also inspired by nature, as it was evident in her colorful floral fabrics as well as some of her most creative pieces, such as the large sparkly tree branches peeking out from behind the models back. The wire corset with fuchsia ribbon at centre back was ingeniously unique and stood out from the collection. Tutus and frills, roses in the models’ hair, and the fuchsia and bright colored pieces also added femininity to her collection.

I am incredibly happy to see that someone like Leblond portrays herself not only as a designer, but additionally as an artist. In the end, that’s what fashion is: wearable, consumable art.


Galliano image from

Last photograph by Deborah Farinotti

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