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MARKANTOINE x Icône: A Trip to the Heart of Originality
From being a young kid who enjoyed designing dresses while studying theatre to becoming one of the most prominent avant-garde designers of his generation, the career of Markantoine Lynch-Boisvert has been one woven with hard work, will, passion, and authenticity...
It was his love of drawing (and a suggestion from his mother) that led him to leave his hometown of Shawinigan for Montreal, where he enrolled in fashion design at LaSalle College. But, there’s a world of difference between drawing dresses for fun and understanding the techniques of designing a garment and the fashion industry in general.
“When I started at LaSalle College, I didn't know how to sew or draw a pattern,” the designer candidly admits. “After a few weeks, I became a bit discouraged, but I quickly decided to go for it and invest 100% of myself into what I was doing.”
After completing his bachelor's degrees in fashion management and design at UQAM, he went on a several-month-long internship to Paris, believing he would never return to Quebec. However, the distance soon made him realize that his creative future wasn't in the City of Light, but in Montreal instead. “I missed the city,” Markantoine explains. “Its energy, its ambiance, its openness. I wanted to create here, not only for me, but also for future artists and designers who choose this field.”
And that's how the MARKANTOINE label officially began in 2015 in Montreal.
The Joy of Creating
Markantoine’s energy is lively and contagious. Speaking with him for just a few minutes, you can sense the passion that drives him as well as his authenticity and desire to do things in his own way, to innovate, to surprise, and even to surprise himself.
You can feel this bubbling energy in his creations as well. “I often change my mind,” the young designer admits with a laugh. “There are lots of daily things that inspire me, whether it’s in the street, at an event, during a show, or at the movies. This can quickly give an entirely new direction to the vision that I had at the start. My goal is to tell a story through my clothing, but also by how I present my collections—the styling, the makeup, and the photography direction—everything becomes a world of its own.”
The designer knows that his creations are out of the ordinary. He even makes a point of designing his pieces accordingly. This idea isn’t to shock, but instead to stand out by bringing something new to today’s fashion scene.
“I’ve been told before that if I want to make money in this industry, I have to create clothing that’s more commercial. That’s probably true. Except that if I chose this job, it’s because I want to have fun. I want the people that I work with to have fun. And I want the people that choose my clothing to feel this energy, for it to take them places, and for them to have fun wearing the pieces.”
Thesis and Antithesis
The DNA of the MARKANTOINE label is marked by contrasts. The words “gothic” and “exotic” are often heard when you ask the designer to define his aesthetic. These two opposing ideas illustrate his vision. Darkness and light, shadow and colour—Markantoine makes connections between concepts that are antipodes and thus creates a new reality.
For his collaboration with Icône, the designer has chosen to focus on sources of inspiration that he has long loved and put a new spin on them. Elements taken from motorsports, the colourful world of manga, mineral-inspired motifs, saturated shades, and touches of neon are all found at the heart of this capsule collection.
While he usually develops his collections into complete looks, this collaboration with Simons led him to design the line by focusing on individual pieces instead. You can see the influence of streetwear in the sweatshirts, organic cotton graphic T-shirts, and in the surprising pair of jogger pants decorated with sequins. Denim pieces are made more dynamic by the addition of long, swinging fringe. Drawstrings, accent zips, and other practical details also punctuate the garments of this collection and add a utility feel.
This is how the MARKANTOINE label is making its debut at Icône this season, giving us VIP access to its rich, eclectic, modern, sexy, and utterly unique world.