Every age has to reinterpret its own myths anew, to re-infuse the classics with a contemporary flare and life, and to re-imagine its own heroes and heroines as contemporary. Baz Luhrmann did it with Romeo and Juliet (1996), Tim Burton with Alice in Wonderland (2010). Now Montréal’s most celebrated fashion designer Denis Gagnon is back with a tribute to the girl who takes on Wonderland and its classic absurdities, a girl who stands up to the Red Queen, tames Bandersnatch, rescues the Mad Hatter, and slays the Jabberwocky.
Commissioned by Toronto’s fifth annual Luminato Festival, a 10-day multi-disciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, fashion, film, magic and more, as well as by Lancôme, Denis Gagnon designed a one-of-a-kind dress, displayed at the Garden of Roses installation in the Wintergarden, which provides an intriguing complement to Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet performed by the National Ballet of Canada.
One of the all-time masterpieces of children’s literature, Lewis Carroll’s classic fantasy also holds an enduring fascination for adults alert to the deeper psychological and emotional resonances of its enchantingly dream-like world.
Set to a score by British composer Joby Talbot with spectacular designs by Bob Crowley, Wheeldon’s ballet revels in the anarchic inventiveness of Carroll’s famous story, and its haunting evocation of the world of childhood. Presented for the first time in North America, this spellbinding journey down the rabbit hole enthralls imaginations of all ages.
Denis Gagnon is famous for his ability to blur the lines between fashion and art. Renowned for his use of fine materials such as leather and silk, Gagnon stands out with his inventive designs and his precise workmanship. In 2010, the designer celebrated 10 years in the industry and in April 2011 opened his new Boutique/Atelier Denis Gagnon in Montreal’s Old Port.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland inspired Gagnon greatly and allowed him to return to his early days as a costume designer for the theatre. “This project gives me the opportunity to unleash my creativity in a design where fashion and art transcend the limits of imagination”, says Gagnon.
The exhibition Garden of Roses: Denis Gagnon interprets Alice will be presented at Luminato in the Wintergarden Lobby (225 King Street West) in Toronto from June 10th to 19th, 2011. Admission is free.