Michel Vaudrin is a Montreal designer known for creating spectacular women’s clothing using unusual materials. Halfway between dress and sculpture, his work is created primarily for theatre or film productions, large-scale promotional events, or ad campaigns. He also makes dresses for weddings, balls and galas. Quebec celebrities like Martine St-Clair, Michèle Richard, Mitsou Gélinas, Véronique Cloutier and Céline Bonnier have all worn exuberant creations from Michel Vaudrin.
Graduating with a diploma in couture from Montreal’s École des métiers commerciaux in 1976, Michel Vaudrin began his career working for Georges Pouliot, a fur company. For five years, he learned every aspect of the business, from design to production to marketing. Drawn to the entertainment sector, he took courses in theatre production and writing at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in 1981 and 1982. However, he decided to return to fashion and began work as a freelance designer.
In 1984, he launched the Vaudrin Montréal label.
Right from the start, he presented extravagant solo fashion shows featuring dozens of fantastical garments that resembled sculptures, in an atmosphere more artistic than commercial.
His creations could contain flexible hoses, recycled containers, wire, carpet underlay and even china, covered with layers of tulle, lace and feathers. For two years, Michel Vaudrin worked out of his apartment. He opened his first atelier on Ontario Street in Montreal, staying from 1986 to 1994, followed by a second on St. Viateur Street from 1995 to 2000.
In 2001, Michel Vaudrin went back to working out of his home on 13th Avenue in Montreal. He designs stage costumes, notably for Quebec disco band, the Boogie Wonder Band, and for Quebec casino hostesses to wear on themed evenings. The designer also specializes in decorating public spaces like shopping malls for special one-off events. To produce his vast fabric installations, he works with Étalage B, a display design and installation firm.
Madeleine Goubau, Contributor