Meet the Fashion Darling of French-Canada

We’d like to introduce you to Denis Gagnon, as he’d probably be too shy to do it himself. We met the bashful, French-speaking créateur on a recent trip to Montréal, sponsored by the Festival Mode et Design. A local favorite for the past ten years, Denis possesses all the hallmarks of his transatlantic counterparts—the daring of Rick Owens (his own fave), the eccentricity of Alber Elbaz (his signature glasses are Lanvin wayfarers replaced with prescription lenses), the reclusiveness of Martin Margiela (well, not quite as much)—but with an edge unique to Quebec.

In the video below Denis gives us a tour of his fall collection: shimmery dresses draped and layered out of peek-a-boo fringe, skirts sculpted entirely from zippers, expertly crafted leather jackets and pants, and gloves fashioned out of his very own animal-skin rugs, yanked right off the studio floor. (He also gave us a preview of his top-secret spring ’11 collection—expect more gorgeousness.) We know the video is sideways and shaky, and the sound quality sucks—apologies. But in a way, it’s only fitting for Denis, whose designs themselves are often skewed, requiring closer, tilt-of-the-head inspection. But if it’s too much to bear, here’s a proper video of the runway show at Montréal Fashion Week, so in-demand they showed it twice.

On October 18, Denis will not only present his anticipated spring collection, but also launch a four-month-long retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, the MOMA of Montréal. Considering the next designer to exhibit there is Jean Paul Gaultier, the first stop in a multi-city tour, a showing in the museum’s grand galeries seems only natural for one of our northern neighbor’s foremost artistes.