Toronto: Denis Gagnon’s Cartoon Noir

The celebrated Montreal designer delivers a boldly irreverent collection

Photo by George Pimentel
Photo by George Pimentel
Photo by George Pimentel

The flourish of the tutu was the starting point for celebrated Quebec designer Denis Gagnon’s show in Toronto yesterday. No, this wasn’t an ode to Black Swan, but a twisted take on noir looks spiked with cartoon-hued tulle. The opening exit–a black waxed linen sleeveless dress sprouted blue tulle from it’s full pleated skirt–was gothic Lolita meets Harajuku girl. Brilliantly versatile outerwear followed, such as toppers with zip-off schoolgirl skirts, avant-garde anoraks and perfecto leather jackets with tulle-stuffed backs. Fur-panel boots and colour block wedges from Aldo added punch, while racer-stripes running the length of chiffon pleated dresses and utilitarian backpacks lent a sportif flavour. Ending on a ’90s note, fuzzy angora in toy blue and pink, either trimming a miniskirt or knit into oversize sweaters, had an offbeat Empire Records feel. “Yes, it’s true that I rarely do colour,” said the designer known for his moodily dark style. What brought upon this new direction? “I can’t tell you anything!” joked Gagnon when we attempted to get to the bottom of his singular genius. “It’s hard enough to describe in French, let alone English, but I really love colour and in winter it’s hard with only black, black, black. When you go outside, yes you need a black layer because it’s dirty, but inside you need colour.” And riotous new ways to wear it, apparently.

See a gallery of looks from Denis Gagnon’s Fall 2011 show

Check out our backstage beauty gallery

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