For the longest time I’ve been eyeing this grassy patch terrasse at the 433 Chabanel in northern Montreal. A part of the city where the greatest of fashion collections are born whether locally made or imported. I’ve been shooting for a few customers in this garment district and every time I would look out the window, there was this patch. I wanted to find the opportunity to shoot there, one fashion editorial that would capture the characteristic of this city… and what’s better than a terrasse in Montreal? Why, a rooftop terrasse in Montreal!

That day came last June (2013) when I was approached to shoot the Spring/Summer 14 dress collection for the Simon Chang label. When Michael Phillips showed me the line, so we could brainstorm on the mood of the next lookbook, this collection was bursting with color. I was given the choice to pick an empty suite for my set but something was missing…

I knew then, that rooftop was a great opportunity to give these fresh vibrant colors the attention they deserved, especially against the old-factory industrial look. I had grass, I had brick, I had tin, I had skylights and I had multiple cityscapes to choose from. The only issue was rain… Montreal weather is crazy!

On shoot day, the 10am breeze carried a misty haze in the background. The June sun was out strong. It had rained the night before making the rooftop puddles into tiny mirrors. The lighting was perfect! This was Mother Nature’s touch enhancing my depth of field.

As the day continued, we moved with the sun. It was HOT! Shade was precious. Every outfit changed location and we had to move fast. My wife (on mat leave at the time) came out to help with coordination. It was her first photoshoot since the baby but she understood the challenges of photography under the sun. My assistant was a champ, backpacking the laptop and table left and right so I could thither the images as the photoshoot progressed so the client can visualize the images and start pre-selecting.

Did I mention, IT WAS HOT… and humid by afternoon.

We worked the set between the North and South towers, where the sun could not find us for a while. The lighting was natural and fresh. We could see people in the adjacent buildings curious to what was happening on this rooftop. Some hung out in the windows for their 3pm break. Others asked us what/who was it for. I guess a fashion photoshoot is always cool to look at.

By 5pm, 30 outfits and… 100 water bottles later (I think)…. We decided to take the last 2 dresses to the street. Yes, lets stop traffic! I had done it a few years back on Peel Street for a wedding couple and it was cool. So yes, lets stop 5pm traffic when everyone just wants to go home! We had a few honks but they were dedicated to the model strutting her stuff. The day ended with cold ice teas, compliments of Café Gentile, a staple establishment to the Chabanel District. They noticed our disruption and ran out with cups for all of us. Re-fresh-ing!

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