Denis Gagnon - spring/summer 2003

So far the creative stand-out of the Canadian spring/summer 2003 calendar, Denis Gagnon’s brilliant take on the diverse rhythms of life both captures the imagination and sates hunger for good fashion. The oeuvre opens with white, cocoon-like silk crepe dresses with well-placed elements of chaotic neglect, the same sort of hibernation stretch that Ann Demeulemeester also totes out for spring/summer 2003.

The intimacy of these pieces is immediate, making the order-from-chaos narrative believable as the collection takes form. The women’s bias-cut tunic and the angular jackets with straight collars and utility pockets for men and women show that Gagnon does minimal as well as he does elaborate.

There is little sacred ground for Gagnon, slashing his tasteful way through bohemian floral prints. As effusive and lyrical as these pieces are, the collection is personal, and crumpled superpositions seem to momentarily recoil from the limelight. Among the killer separates are the men’s pants, including a low slung black pair bestudded with a string of hook closures down each leg. After the men’s sleeveless shirts and summer shorts made a brief, unimpressive appearance, the show finished with a vengeance. Women’s and men’s razor slashed black vinyl three-quarter coats have a decidedly melted look and are sure to be favourites with the label’s following.

The collection is without a doubt moody and sometimes remote, but it has just enough utilitarian practicality to keep it commercially viable. Gagnon is of that rare breed of designer’s designer, inspiring his peers and commanding their respect. Now he reaches out, like his collection, to touch even more with his unique strain of sartorial magic.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer