Denis Gagnon makes us cringe with jealously

Denis Gagnon Shows All fashion exhibition is running at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

fashion review By Camille Chacra

Gird your loins, eager fashionistas! A new season has wiped out all traces of sunshine, floral dresses and daisy dukes. Thankfully, we need not fret for long. Couture has come to the rescue, thanks to esteemed Quebec designer, Denis Gagnon. 

Denis Gagnon Shows All is the newest fashion exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It made its debut on Oct. 19, to nothing less than rave reviews. For the first time, the designer is displaying his most lavish pieces for the public to fawn over, like his preceding exhibitionist, Yves Saint-Laurent. Considered to be an innovative juxtaposition of art, fashion and architecture, I was immediately drawn to explore Gagnon’s work. I became even more encouraged upon hearing that there were no entrance fees. Midterms became a distant thought, as I ditched Freud for fashion, the ideal distraction.

Entering the world of Denis Gagnon was an exciting experience. In the exhibition room, a large pyramid-like screen protruded from the ceiling, showing clips of the designer backstage at his runway show. Large- scaled images of his tools, materials and studio blueprint, adorned the walls, offering an in-depth peak into his creative process. 

Yet, the crème de la crème of the exhibit was undoubtedly the twenty futuristic pieces presented by the designer. Gagnon’s signature materials, being fringe, lace, zippers, chains and leather, were wonderfully rendered into masterpieces. Each outfit loudly displayed his skills; the drapery of chains, the braiding of zippers, as well as their three-dimensional geometric structures. The fiercest outfit was a roman-inspired mini-dress made entirely of gold zippers. Only risk-taking fashion moguls such as Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness could wear a piece of such extravagance. I’m still dreaming about this unique number, though it makes me appreciate Denis Gagnon’s fashions as works of art, instead of commonly trend-ridden clothes. 

I left the museum with a journal full of notes and a mind full of sadness. If only I could afford anything remotely close to high fashion. This exposition is a surefire must-see, if you’re willing to take a break from the world of mainstream trends.

Ready to slam your books shut on midterm madness? Denis Gagnon Show All runs until Feb. 13, 2011, at the museum on 1380 Sherbrooke Ouest. Don’t miss it, before Jean-Paul Gaultier replaces the zipper king this coming summer.


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