As Montrealers already know, this city is the undisputed fashion capital of Canada (we may, in fact, be the only city in Canada that chooses Louboutin over Lululemon as a rule). Thus it’s no surprise that Montreal attracts the finest fashion events. This 15th annual Festival Mode & Design from Sensation Mode and in collaboration with Casino Montreal, begins today, July 31 — in fact, it’s already begun!

What can we expect on the latest entry of the long-running fest? It appears this year’s theme is play, so we can expect plenty of fun exhibits and interactive events, defying the perception of couture as stuffy and self-serious. To wit, the festival kicked off (literally) earlier today with the High Heel Race on College Ave., with proceeds donated to women’s shelter Le Chaînon, and there’s plenty more creative and carnival-esque antics to come.

We covered headliner Jean-Charles de Castelbajac yesterday; the French fashion legend will be running the main stage at 9:00PM tonight with his “Fantômes” show, a showcase of de Castelbajac’s “Tribal Pop” pieces — think Warhol and Lichtenstein trying to infiltrate a Maasai shamanic ritual and you’re on the right track. Colours and cultures will clash!

Also repping Le Chaînon is tomorrow’s Vintage Love event, starting at 10PM.  A fashion show celebrating the 80th anniversary of the shelter, Vintage Love will feature performances from local hip-hop darlings Heart Streets (whom we’ve previously covered). You will not leave this dazzling display with your heart un-lifted.

The cyberpunk ’80s vision of the future, having joined the ranks of ‘The Future That Never Was’ in the recent nostalgia wave, is the focus of Geneviève Borne‘s festival finale, “Mutations”, closing out on Friday. Think Blade Runner, RoboCop, The Terminator — the collision of man, machine and neon-hued New Wave informs this divine dystopia. Crank the Kavinsky and prepare for a showstopper as cool as Wintermute.

Between these big-ticket events, there are enough panels and posings to fill your entire schedule. Wednesday brings us a preview of this fall’s Montreal Fashion Week and Bodybag by Jude‘s 15-year anniversary show. On Thursday, The McCord Museum presents a Grace Kelly tribute for all lovers of femmes fatale and golden age glamour. On Friday Andrew McNally leads “Playtime!”, an interactive centerpiece show to this year’s fun themes.

And, of course there’s more. So much more. Festival Mode et Design is working to make it an inclusive space for everyone, so no matter what your interests, age, ethnicity or body type, you’re covered — literally. If you have any interest in fashion — or clothes — or breathing oxygen — this week is going to thrill you.

Here’s a little taste of what you can expect, courtesy of Tourisme Montreal: