The ability to take something cliche and completely contradict it is Denis Gagnon’s greatest gift. From flapper fringe to industrial zippers or muppet fur, the Quebec design star can take the most wanton of references and spin something desirable, modern and most of all, intelligent. For spring, ditzy Laura Ashley-esque florals were his foil. Given the Gaelic treatment, Gagnon whipped a singular red and pink-floral (either with a stark black or white backdrop) into multiple coquette iterations. With Left Bank regulars Piaf and Azvanour on the soundtrack, he sent our a Café de Flore-worthy suiting, both of the school girl and tomboy variety. Tapping in on the charm of a Sonia Rykiel romp, rosy-cheeked models skipped, waved and blew kisses to the doting crowd. Flaxen ribboned-silk and crisp Tennis Club de Paris dresses provided further folly, proving this wasn’t just a head-to-toe print affair. Inspired takes on the tuxedo (with white piping on print and gingham shirting) were also terrific. Accompanying backpacks and slim pochettes added a youthful kick, as did flat sneakers and patent jazz shoes. But with Gagnon, there is always an underlying edge that sears any surface sweetness. Here, it came via cutout leather harness tops and futuristic belt bags. The most knowing cliche came as show close when a les smoking playsuit-clad model shared a finale kiss with her gowned bride. A clever promotion for his new line of bijoux for Birks, it was yet another nod to Gagnon’s cheeky brand of humor. We all got the joke.
Click here to see Denis Gagnon’s Spring 2012 collection.