You could argue that Denis Gagnon started the fringe trend that was so prevalent in Milan and Paris this season. After all, his Fall 2009 collection drew raves for a completely new approach to fringe, that showgirl stalwart. In the hands of this Montreal fashion treasure, thick, weighty, swinging fringe – the kind usually reserved for costumes or curtain tassels – got the gothic treatment. Only a true master could twist, drape and contort such a difficult, heavily clichéd textile into something so beautiful. From his opening, a white fringe pantsuit – yes, Gagnon makes even pale shades appear dark in spirit – we knew that this was to be the most accomplished show on the Toronto fashion week calendar. And how lucky we are that he brought it to Toronto, with tassle bags and Aldo corset-booties in tow. Good thing Gagnon was practically the last show of the week. Had he showed on Monday, I suspect other designers would have been tempted to throw in the towel. Even Flare’s fashion director needed ‘a moment’ when his version of le petit robe noir walked past. In twisted lambskin with a “horsetail” fringe detail at the small of the back, it was stunning and belonged on a fashion presence like Carine Roitfeld or Tilda Swinton, two women who know their way around a sexy/smart look. Ever the Frenchman, Gagnon, who often visits Paris for inspiration, offered his own version of the striped Breton top with sharp blazers and shirts. Dip-dyed fringe dresses also played with a less-literal version of stripes, with graduating shades of white, gray and black. In mossy greens and ultramarine blue, drippy fringe looks channeled eerie mermaids. Finalment, a sterling silver dress would be a winning look for a nominated star come awards season. Denis is just too good to be contained by our borders. The right boldface name would offer him the international cachet he deserves.
Watch our exclusive interview with Gagnon!