At the grand premiere of the film Expo 67 Mission Impossible, on April 25th at the Place des Arts, three young women had the honour of wearing this mythical costume…
by Johanne Mercier
Photo credit – Les Productions de la ruelle and Mathieu Gauvin
To all scientists who have been trying to crack time travel: stop what you’re doing right now we’ve figured it out! All you need to do is wear the Expo 67 hostess costume for an evening and the years suddenly start to subtract from the calendar.
The magic begins when you slip on the white adjusted blouse, the blue pin skirt that barely covers the knee, the fitted blazer and the final touch: an adorable little beret!
It was double pleasure on the evening of the grand premiere of the film Expo 67 Mission Impossible, April 25th at the Place des Arts: first for the three young women who had the honour of wearing this mythical costume, and second, for the 1400 people who had the opportunity to admire them. Made specially for the 40th anniversary of Expo 67 and Jean Drapeau Park from the original suits, they had been in storage for ten years when they were taken out a new opportunity to shine.
Marie-Ève Lajeunesse, one of the delegated hostesses for the evening, has always loved the style of the 1960s. She is even moving into a new home soon, which was built in 1962! All of its furniture is from the 60s and her closet is already overflowing with hip clothing from the period, including some original pieces, such as one of her grandmother’s dresses. Being selected to embody a hostess from one of the most important events of the era in Quebec was very meaningful for her. “I’ve always thought this was a magnificent outfit, and I was so honoured to wear it.”
“I’d heard about Expo 67 in school and read a bit about it; I knew it was an important event in Quebec,” said Amélie Langlois. “But on that evening, I realized the extent to which people were emotional when recalling memories of Expo.”
“Wearing this costume was a dream come true for me, and wearing it in front of all these lovers of Expo 67 was just extraordinary,” confided Katherine Bissonnette, who is also a lover of the 50s and 60s. She is even in a band that plays music inspired by this period, called Slick Slick Revolver. “I was so moved throughout the entire evening, and quite surprised at the amount of stories all these people had to tell.”
At the start of the evening, the hostesses revealed to one another that they all secretly hoped they would meet women who had been hostesses back in 1967.
“About five minutes in, a woman came up to us and said she wore the same outfit in 1967,” recalls Amélie.
“We had chills. We ended up meeting four or five former hostesses.”
Amélie, the long blonde-haired young woman received a rather interesting comment from one of them: “At the time, I wouldn’t have been able to have long hair and be a hostess. They demanded that hostesses cut their hair, in order to highlight the suit and beret.”
An Unforgetable Evening
“Many guests brought their original passports,” says Marie-Éve. “They showed us their portraits and stamps for all the pavilions they had visited.”
“After the film, people were in tears, submerged in their emotions and very appreciative of the story they had been told,” recalls Amélie, who was handing over the new editions of passports issued this year by the Society for the Celebrations of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary at the exit. No one wanted to miss their chance of having a new and updated Expo 67 passport, 50 years later.
“I was an extraordinary experience,” concludes Amélie. “Especially when Yvon Deschamps told me I was pretty. That made my night.”
“It was a truly magnificent and enriching experience,” Katherine adds. “I am still on a high from it. So memorable! The evening was so magical that when all the guests had gone home, I didn’t want to remove my costume. I would’ve slept in it to stay in this dream.”
But it was time to go back to reality, which meant for Katherine , among other things, removing the make up from her tattoos, and letting loose her long bright-red locks that had been pin under a black 60s-style wig all evening. 2017 is never too far away.
It was just about midnight when the present was reinstated into the calendar.