by Heidi Craig
Montreal Fashion Week
 comes of age this year, kicking off its 18th edition with an afternoon (3:30pm) cocktail party at Marche Bonsecours today.  

Tonight at 9pm, Montreal designer Joseph Helmer will display his elegant, romantic line of frocks and gowns (lots of lace, draping and tulle). All proceeds from the show will go to Handicap International’s Haitian relief efforts. Monday also features shows from Nadya TotoMarie Saint Pierre, and Muse by Christian Chenail.  

On Tuesday, Martin Delisle, president and co-founder of Blank (Quebec’s answer to American Apparel), will lead a discussion on how to start your own fashion company. The talk is free and open to all. 12:30pm at 338 St-Paul E.  Tuesday’s shows include eco-furrier HarricanaEnvers and Eve Gravel

Also on Tuesday, BodyBag by Jude will host a party at Hotel Place Arms (701 Cote de la Place Armes), giving us a rare opportunity to schmooze with the best and brightest in Canadian fashion. Starting at 10pm, the party is free, open to all (18+, bien sur), and features music from DJ Mary Hell. (And don’t miss BodyBag’s show earlier that night at 8:30pm).  

Local label Barila will donate all funds raised at an event on Wednesday following its runway show (at 9pm) to the non-profit organization MAAT, which works to improve quality of life for young single mothers and their children in Haiti. Barila Party 10pm at Velvet – 420 St-Gabriel, tickets $15.  

Perhaps the most hyped event is Concours Telio, a design contest in which 25 young talents from across Canada compete for a $10,000 scholarship. Thursday at 7pm, tickets $28. 

The closing party takes place at Koko’s (8 Sherbrooke W. at 10pm) this Friday, but not before Denis GagnonSoia and Kyo and Ralph Leroy show their collections.  

Tickets are available at Check out for more info.  

All shows take place at Marche Bonsecours (250 St-Paul E.) unless otherwise noted.