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All Eyes on Downie

By Vanessa Vanelli

Tragically Hip at the first stop of their farewell tour in Victoria, BC (Source: Reuters) 

Gord Downie is an exuberant front man. 

Top hat, handkerchief, fitted trousers, boots & neutral tones: these fashion pieces are part of his iconic look. His performances are filled with improvised moments of brilliance, spontaneous dancing, and moves you have never witnessed before. But for the Man Machine Poem tour, Downie found another way to surprise audiences.

Dressed in leather metallic suits, audience members (even those sitting behind the stage) will not be able to take their eyes off of the main event: Gord Downie.

When planning for the tour started in September, an aspect Downie was particularly excited about was the wardrobe. 

According to an article on, Downie co-conspired with a team of Toronto-based fashion designers (Izzy Camilleri, Karyn Gringas and Jeff Churchil) to create and construct his look.

Camilleri says she and Downie started collaborating on the look last September, before he learned he had terminal brain cancer. The suits are made in four different colours: hot pink, gold, silver and turquoise, and all come with custom-made hats. Downie even had a new pair of boots made for him and they sentimentally have lyrics to The Tragically Hip’s Ahead By a Century imprinted on the soles.

Gord was very hush hush about tour plans. He even kept his wardrobe selection secret from his bandmates. He only revealed his wild look during the tour's kickoff in British Columbia when he strode onto the stage in the hot pink attire.

Thank you, Gord, for keeping us on our toes! 

The Hip’s Man Machine Poem tour hits Toronto on Wednesday, where they will play three nights at Air Canada Centre. The tour ends on August 20 in Kingston and CBC will air a live broadcast of the performance.