With the Cirque du Soleil in town, I was thinking of how it holds a special place in our hearts as it spreads our Quebecois joie de vivre and creativity around the world. We are as proud of it as if it were our own personal offspring – one who grew up here, learned the ropes on our streets and then went on to became an international pop star.
Since the Cirque is headquartered in Montreal North, that means that its design team uses Montreal businesses as its palette to create the costumes (and some scenery) that wow the planet. This time when you go to see Kooza, watch it differently. Look more carefully at what is being worn in each act – notice the feathered headpieces, neck feathers, glittery legs, metallic and rhinestoned bodies, and especially the big Hollywood number in part two with tuxedos and chorus girl high feathered hats. It adds a whole new dimension to the show – like tasting each bite of food on a gorgeous dinner plate instead of wolfing down the plateful as a whole.
So it is possible for those of you who have creative itches to shop in the very same stores that the Cirque teams go to .These businesses sell fabric-related products with high visibility levels, be they sparkly, glittery, shiny, glow-in-the-dark, or just plain feathery. For them all the detail is usually sewn or attached to a base suit of spandex (look for the boas in act two of Kooza). You too can have access to this exciting merchandise, which can inspire sparks of creativity for projects you have coming up.
Les Textiles Bon-mar, 8448 St. Laurent Blvd. at De Liege St. Phone: 514-382-2275. Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. www.bon-mar.com This is one of the stores that the Cirque du Soleil designers head to first for the yards and yards of spandex that they need for that second skin that the performers wear. Some of it gets printed on with animal-like or other patterns, while the rest incorporates metallics, shiny fabrics, glitter fabrics, holograms, netting or glow-in-the dark fabrics into the designs. The new state-of-the art fabrics that they are using are photonics. These are electronic fabrics which have thread like electric wiring running through them and are powered by a power source. The costumes can then light up in the dark in all kinds of patterns. The rest of this unusual fabric store is full of yardage worn in athletics – swimming, figure skating, dance, gymnastics, wind-surfing, aerobics and also for theatrical events. Their products go from keeping you warm to cooling you off. Other hard to find items are the Wonderflex and Fosshape for mask making, Scotchlite and reflective tapes and bejewelers for rhinestones and Swarovsky crystals.
F.F.F. French Feather & Flowers, 6565 Henri Bourassa Blvd. West at Sartelon St. Phone: 514-332-8584. Hours: by appointment, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Cirque du Soleil also need feathery things – flowers, veils, feathers and boas (in white, red, black, burgundy, fuchsia, hot pink, bright yellow, forest green, lime, light pink, orange, brown, etc.). Hand made flowers are a big specialty here, not only for the Cirque but for the bridal parties coming up this season. They can be made into headpieces or centerpieces, and the flowers can be created out of your own fabric or out of feathers. Feathers are being added to real-flower bridal centerpieces as well as those for baby baptism parties or used on lamps. Bridal headpieces (rhinestone tiaras) can be purchased at wholesale prices as well as bouquets, garters, silk flowers and ring bearer cushions. There are 1st communion veils, purses, gloves and parasols, too.
Frabels, 5580 Pare St. at Devonshire Rd. Phone: 514-842-8561. Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. http://www.frabels.com The Cirque du Soleil designers shop here for rhinestones, rhinestone banding, sequins, sequin appliques, sew-on stones (flat stones with two holes in them), beads and lots of chain. The company, around for 64 years, has a showroom that is full of findings, beads, rhinestones, pearls, semi-precious stones, resin beads and Swarovski crystal for jewelry-making. All kinds of rhinestone trim, tools, chain, wire, etc. are here along with catalogues to look through to find exactly what else you might need. You must spend at least $200.