Known for his « couture » approach of leather (his favorite material), his precise cuts and his talent to create aerial and spectacular silk pieces, Denis Gagnon is one of the most important Canadian designers of his generation.
In 1988, Denis Gagnon develops his passion for fashion at Lasalle College and discovers a talent which was hidden up until then. After graduating, he will then perfect his art and his techniques by working in making theater costumes.
In 1993, his temerity led him to accept a molding teacher position in Casablanca, Morocco. When he returned in 1995, the designer got back to making costumes for various theater groups. Over the years, the artist’s talent and creativity do not go unnoticed and the designer Yso convinces him to work together in 1999. His avant-garde sense of style, very popular in the fashion world, leads him to launch his solo career in 2000. Since then, his name and career are developing so fast and his fashion conquers the « fashionistas » very quickly.
In 2004, Denis Gagnon became one of Holt Renfrew’s suppliers with two collections per year. That same year, Denis Gagnon Inc. was born. Since then, the entity and character himself have gained both provincial and national notoriety. The constant reception of positive reviews only boosts the designer’s infatuation to push his own limits in order to create moving sculptures always more innovative.
In the following years, the designer retires from the industry to focus on his art. He’s back in the spring of 2008 with his eponymous show “Denise Back” at the Darling Foundry in the presence of trendy and fashionable people from Montreal. The next fashion shows, praised by critics, are all sold out and the designer imposes his style.
2010 marks the ten years anniversary of the designer’s career and Fashion Television pays tribute to him during the 19th edition of the Montreal Fashion Week. On October 18th, 2010, Denis Gagnon became the first Canadian designer to enter the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to present his most recent Couture collection including a huge fashion show. This grand event kicked off the exhibition “Denis Gagnon s’expose”, which was dedicated to him by the Museum from October 19th 2010 to February 13th, 2011. In April 2011, the designer opens his brand new shop in the middle of Old Montreal. Wanting to assert its presence on the Quebec market, Denis Gagnon’s boutique quickly became a go-to destination for local and tourist customers by offering tailor-made, couture and ready-to-wear clothing. During the year of 2011, the projects accumulate, among other a collaboration with the Lancôme cosmetics house, for which he’s brought to create a makeup collection bearing his name. He is then asked to conceptualize a dress inspired by Alice in Wonderland for the 2011 Luminato Festival in Toronto. His Spring/Summer 2012 called “Denise au Jardin”, presented and stylized by Dick Walsh inside the famous jewelry store Birks amazes many people with its freshness and daring. A film called “Nuits Nouvelles”, directed by Khoa Lê is inspired by the same collection and is presented as part of the Montreal New Cinema Festival.
At the beginning f 2012, Denis Gagnon launched his Autumn / Winter 2012-2013 collection, including men’s pieces, a highly anticipated return with male customers as well as a great success. In September 2012, he presents his Spring / Summer 2013 collection as part of Montreal Fashion Week. He surrounds himself with his friends and the Montreal nightlife community for this show, the idea being to free his differences and go beyond prejudices by dressing, by example, men in high heels. We see his friends Yso, Azamit, Fritz, Vyara but also Mado, Plastik Patrick and Tracy Trash. The collection plays on the feminine-masculine ambiguity and on the ambivalence of genres. Denis Gagnon also evokes a return to his origins with printing on fabric of an old photograph of his mother. The fashion show is full house and is highly acclaimed by critics, not only in Montreal but elsewhere in Canada.