Denis Gagnon is a women’s fashion designer who offers his clientele both ready-to-wear and custom clothing. He is best known for his couture approach to leather and creating volumes with diaphanous fabrics, almost all of it exclusively in shades of black. His unusual use of gold zippers to decorate his clothing has also been a signature of his for several seasons. Denis Gagnon is an easily recognized face in Montreal fashion, notably because of the oversized black glasses he has worn for many years.
Denis Gagnon – An Apparition
ModeMontréalTV, Denis Gagnon – An Apparition, 2010
A native of Alma, Denis Gagnon began his career in the field of clothing and costume in 1989. In the 1990s, he worked for theatre, film and advertising productions with other designers like Claire Nadon, François Barbeau and Mérédith Caron. He also taught fashion design at LaSalle College from 1992 to 1995, both in Montreal and at a satellite campus in Casablanca, Morocco.
After working for several months with designer Siphay Southidara (Yso), Denis Gagnon launched his own brand in 2000. His first collection offered high-end ready-to-wear clothing for men and women. His creations were sold at Holt Renfrew at that time.
Gagnon took time to focus on his artwork and then relaunched his eponymous brand in the spring of 2008, during Montreal Fashion Week.
The year 2010 was an outstanding one for Denis Gagnon. Following the trend of capsule collections designed by high-end designers for retailers with reasonably priced products, he partnered with the BEDO clothing chain to offer women an affordable version of his creations. The same year, he was the subject of the documentary Je m’appelle Denis Gagnon by young Vietnam-born Montreal director Khoa Lê. From October 2010 to February 2011, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) presented an exhibition devoted to his work entitled Denis Gagnon S’Expose. He thus became the first Quebec fashion designer to enter the MMFA, which in fact purchased one of his dresses.
Denis Gagnon has been running his own store-atelier on St. Paul Street West in Old Montreal since 2011, with a staff of four employees. As of 2018, Denis Gagnon clothing is also sold in Simons stores across Canada.
« L’état de santé de la mode à Montréal sur le podium », Montréal Express, 8 mars 2007, (récupéré le 26 septembre 2018 sur Eureka)
« Le Mile-End sort ses griffe », La presse, 9 août 2005, (récupéré le 26 septembre 2018 sur Eureka)
Vézina-Montplaisir, Geneviève. « La collection de Denis Gagnon pour Bedo : une belle initiative! » Journal Métro, Métro, 26 mai 2010, http://journalmetro.com/opinions/mode-et-tendances/53188/la-collection-de-denis-gagnon-pour-bedo-une-belle-initiative/.
Madeleine Goubau, Contributor