Alternative Montreal travel guide! Hipster Alt Hotel, virtual reality museum, Thierry Mugler futuristic Goth fashion.

montreal fashion blogger, quebec outfits

If you’re an alternative or artistic type, then Montreal is a destination you’ll adore!

Particularly in the summer months, the city has a full calendar of edgy events. I was excited to return to Montreal, and see more of the groundbreaking museums and Gothic stores. 

Read on for a guide to offbeat, hip travel in Montreal –– including close encounters with robots and aliens! 

reformation black tencel mini dress

My alternative travels began with a stay at the aptly-named Alt Hotel Montreal. These hip boutique accommodations have contemporary rooms, and art everywhere… I was pleased to find what looked like a pentagon Pokeball on my concrete wall!

(This black dress is by The Reformation, worn over a white baby tee like in the 90s. Sandals by Lola Ramona, and more dresses by Ref below…)

montreal hotels downtown view

Alt Hotel is conveniently located in Griffintown, which is a short walk from Quartier des Spectacles, the Gay Village, and other downtown districts.

I had a room on the top floor, with tall windows and these cool views of Montreal. From one of the panes, I could even see the experimental Habitat 67 by Moshe Safdie (the community housing that looks like a stack of Legos).

hotel room gift chocolates wine

The staff at Alt Hotel Montreal makes sweet efforts to give their guests a memorable stay. They knew I loved dark chocolate, berries, and local wine — so I found this welcome plate in my room, upon checking in.

alt hotel montreal rooms bed

I always prefer to stay in modern design hotels, and Alt checked all of my boxes. The bed was excellent quality (which is not often the case, in hotels), and the bathroom finishings were new.

Hotel Alt strikes a balance between luxury, design, and affordability, making it a nice choice for young travelers.

farine five roses view montreal

Be sure to head to the 7th floor, which is a covered terrace for guests. From the balcony, you can spot the Farine Five Roses sign (a local flour company, and Montreal landmark).

hotel alt balcony griffintown

Once a poor industrial neighborhood, Griffintown has transformed into a hip Montreal hub. I was happy to discover that Alt Hotel was a block away from Adonis (a Lebanese grocery store / deli), and La bête à pain (a spectacular French bakery / cafe).

(I’m wearing a black mini dress by The Reformation, and red shoes by Lola Ramona.)

montreal instagram murals walls rainbow pride

The lobby welcomes visitors with this cheery rainbow wall, which is made up of square photographs. Alt’s interior design is made for Instagram, with “selfie stations” and guides to trendy restaurants.

alt hotel montreal review, design boutique hotels

Salut Alt Hotel Montreal for the fabulous stay. I’m very happy that I made this cool boutique hotel my home-base.

centre phi virtual reality exhibit

Now, let’s teleport into the future… I went to Hum(ai)n, a Montreal exhibition that lets you interact with AI, and discover new worlds through VR! 

The high-tech installation is inside Centre Phi, an art space for avantgarde, multidisciplinary works. 

montreal goths japanese gothic street fashion

I went to the Humain exhibit with friends both old and new. As you can tell, we adore Gothic and Japanese street fashion.

robot learning montreal humain ai artificial intelligence

Many of the exhibits have an interactive element, such as Ophelia the robot lady. You can ask her questions in either English or French, and each conversation helps her learn what it means to be human.

At first, Ophelia’s replies were simple and “robotic” — but now, after speaking to hundreds of visitors, she responds with remarkable depth and humor!

phi center humain ai robots exhibit

There were about a dozen stations to explore, each with a different take on virtual reality, artificial intelligence, or biotechnology. Is the “rise of the robots” something to worry about? Only time will tell…

perfume maker machine robot

My friends and I participated in “Algorithmic Perfumery,” which creates a unique fragrance based on your answers to a series of questions. The data includes your preferences, personality, and response to multiple scents.

technology customized custome performe cologne

Then, the machine mixes the custom perfume. The results were hit and miss: some of us felt that the resulting fragrance wasn’t to their liking.

vr headset virtual reality games gaming montreal

The Phi Center is in a historic building, which was quite the contrast with the VR headset stations. This one is “Emergence” — when I look around, I see myself running in a crowd of thousands. Using the wireless controller, I can change my direction and try to race into vertical beams of light, which alters the pattern. 

japanese virtual reality video

Some of the immersive narratives were rather intense. “7 Lives” is a Japanese production that includes traumatic experiences (jumping off the Tokyo subway platform, and being berated by an angry Japanese mother).

centre phi humain robot ai videos

When you put on the VR headset and headphones, you find yourself immersed in a new universe (you can look around in all directions, and react to sounds and visuals like in real life).

immersive vr games movies gallery

The “films” range from fantastical toys in a gymnasium, to psychedelic ayahuasca visions in the Amazon rainforest. As you can see from our reactions, they truly transport you to a different time and place!

HUM(AI)N montreal artificial intelligence, biotechnology art

What does it mean to be human? Are we creeping closer to the singularity? Montreal’s Hum(ai)n exhibit lets you ponder these questions, and witness the latest developments in art and technology.

(PS: be sure to book tickets in advance from Centre Phias there are limited time slots.)

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts building, Thierry Mugler

I got to see another futuristic exhibit at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. The fine arts museum houses the world premiere of “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” — a retrospective of the imaginative designer. 

quebec Thierry Mugler fashion costumes Exhibition‎

The visionary French designer, photographer, and perfumer rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s. At the time, Thierry Mugler’s garments looked like they came off a runway on Mars: he became notorious for his flamboyant, sci-fi and fetish inspired couture. 

Thierry Mugler Couturissime - Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

Montreal’s “Couturissime” is set in several dramatically-lit rooms, which match with Mugler’s pomp and glamour. The first room showcased his visionary stage costumes for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, including oversized black ruffs and spiked codpieces.

david bowie dress thierry mugler music video costumes

Thierry Mugler made costumes for many musicians, including David Bowie, George Michael, and Lady Gaga. This skin-tight dress was worn by Bowie; the peaked shoulders are typical of his “power dressing” approach.

mugler couture dresses exhibit

The screen shows music videos and concert footage from over the decades, with artists wearing his creations.

thierry mugler famous goth dresses gothic

“Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” includes over 150 garments, over 100 photographs, sketches, and more. His gowns span a variety of styles; of course, I fawned over these Mugler Gothic dresses.

alien weird bizarre costumes thierry mugler

No wonder Mugler makes an Alien fragrance… he had quite the affinity for extraterrestrial space couture!

thierry mugler futuristic strange gowns

I loved seeing the decadent fabrics and details up close. Mugler liked to break conventions and had a sense of humor; one mannequin had a “beer can holster” attached to her thigh!

sequin dresses thierry mugler 90s

Wouldn’t you like to wear a sequinned creation by Mugler? (Below are some of his designs for sale; click to see.)

goth fetish latex leather thierry mugler

As you can see, Mugler was inspired by fetish and S&M subcultures. He incorporated latex, leather, flogs, and other paraphernalia into his designs.

matières fécales fashion fecal matter designers, montreal dress

The exhibition also included a showcase of local fashion designers. How cool to see Matières Fécales (above) featured in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

I hope these photos inspire you to see the Thierry Mugler exhibit for yourself.

creatures boutique gothic store montreal

Speaking of Montreal fashion…. if you’re a “creature of the night,” then you should stop by Boutique Creatures, a Goth store in the Mont Royal district.

joe mcharg cabaret berlin montreal, creatures goth

I met up with Joe McHarg, owner of Creatures. He also runs Cabaret Berlin, an alternative event space. The club has frequent Gothic and underground music nights, as well as a Tech Noir synthwave party (I’m so bummed I missed the date!)

montreal alternative goth clothing

Creatures stocks a variety of underground brands, inspired by Goth and punk subcultures. The boutique focuses on original, local designs — including their own Creatures fashion line.

creatures boutique mont royal montreal

In addition to Victorian dresses and hard shell bags, Creatures sells art and prints by Quebec creators.

goth montreal fashion blogger model

Creature’s fashion line is one-of-a-kind: Joe picks out the fabrics by hand, and everything is stitched locally. I’m wearing one of his dark creations, a long sleeved top with mesh panels and scalloped edges.

goth shops shopping Montreal quebec

From skull wallets to glitter backpacks, Creatures has something for anyone who loves alternative fashion.

silver gothic witch jewelry occult equinox art

The jewelry case features deadly earrings by Quebec’s Equinox Art.

leather fetish chokers necklaces handmade

The O-ring leather chokers are also made by hand. Love how Boutique Créatures focuses on quality items, and supports local Gothic artists.

montreal kitsch swell pin up boutique

Montreal has other terrific alternative fashion shops, particularly in the Mont-Royal area. Here’s a peek at Kitsch n Swell, a vintage / pin-up / retro boutique. (I featured them on Touring Bird, the new Google travel project I’ve been working on — you can see all my TB.D Montreal tips here.)

montreal gothic fashion clothes diabolik

Diabolik is another diabolical dark fashion shop. I spy Hell Bunny dresses in the window.

montreal hotel alt, art design hotels griffintown

Montreal’s fashion, art, and museums are out of this world! The city is also known for its food scene — and that’s what I will show you in the next post.

I hope this story inspired you to book a flight to Quebec… before the robots become our overlords…

(Dress by The Reformation, with more below. The white top and other designs are for sale on my Depop.)



  1. Yukiro
    Posted August 3, 2019 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Wow! That Mugler exhibition is EVERYTHING!!

  2. Sarah
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Love that rainbow wall; the Alt hotel looks like a great find. The Hum(ai)n exhibit really intrigues me, would love to experience it for myself.

    • lacarmina
      Posted September 10, 2019 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      It was a real mind-bender! I think it’s still on – such a cool exhibit and I am sure there will be more that incorporate VR like that in the future.

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