Denis Gagnon: is Toronto fashion week’s best designer from Montreal?

Denis Gagnon: is Toronto fashion week’s best designer from Montreal?

Designer Denis Gagnon (Image: Jenna Marie Wakani) 

Denis Gagnon’s spring collection was the most impressive we saw at LG Fashion Week, which wrapped up on Friday. The designer’s signature dark-rimmed glasses give him the appearance of a 2010 version of Yves Saint Laurent; fitting, because Gagnon brought the kind of excitement to Toronto that Saint Laurent did to Paris in the 1970s. (Of course, Gagnon is not a household name.) There was a kind of disbelief in the audience after the show. Do we really have a designer this talented in the city? Well, not really. Gagnon is from Montreal, but you will find his delicately fringed pieces here at Holt Renfrew.

What’s mesmerizing about his clothes is that from a distance, the fringe looks solid, but as the model approaches, you see the sway of the fabric (all hand-dyed and bleached) and then realize that it’s made from hundreds of strands. So intricate are the designs (some with zipper trims and silver chains), you could find a new detail each time you looked at them. Gagnon has been working for 10 years, and despite having a major commercial breakthrough, he is being recognized as the artist he is at an exhibit of his work, Denis Gagnon Shows All, at Montreal’s Musuem of Fine Arts. It runs until February 13.

See the full collection in our slide show >>