Montreal: Behind the scenes at Denis Gagnon with model Dana Drori

Model Dana Drori walks at Denis Gagnon's fall show at Montreal Fashion Week

At Denis Gagnon’s fall show, I chatted with Dana Drori, 21, one of the models who helped bring the Montreal fashion designer’s vision down the catwalk. (When not working the runway, Drori is an English Literature major at McGill University). Here is her unique perspective on what was undoubtedly the show of the season. [See our review of the show]

What was the atmosphere like backstage before the show?
“I think the hype was mostly perfectionist stress, getting the hair perfect and stable, and making sure all the girls had nude lips. But it was a pretty positive atmosphere, which was good for me because I get nervous before shows. During the first show one dress got completely tangled and Denis had to come and try to untangle it under time pressure. Ryan (the model) was just standing there naked ready to dash to her place in line as soon as she was ready, but the dress was too knotted and she missed her place, which wasn’t a big deal in the end. By the second show (the one open to the public) Ryan’s dresser had the whole fringe thing figured out and everything went smoothly.”

Tell me about the hair and makeup.
“I heard backstage that the hair was ‘very McQueen.’ There were a lot of inspiration photos backstage from past runway shows that worked with braids and braided designs. Each girl’s hair took about 45 minutes. They had to sew the middle braid–on the centered part of our hair–onto our heads, which was pretty tricky when other people are also trying to braid and pin at the same time. A lot of the stylists were getting pretty stressed as the show time loomed closer and girls’ hair still wasn’t done. The makeup was very minimal, almost eerily pale, with emphasis on translucent skin. I really enjoyed having light eyebrows. The combination of braided hair and pale makeup made me feel like a Grecian statue.”

What about the clothes?
“There was a lot of fringe, which was difficult to get on and keep in position. I wore one of the fringe dresses and a leather jacket. My dress kept inching closer to exposing my left breast. I could feel it happening down the runway. I also held a leather and cow hair purse that had zipper fringe, which kept getting caught on my dress. The leather Denis used was so soft and yummy. My gloves felt so nice on my skin.”

How was it working for Denis Gagnon?
“Denis was super supportive backstage, telling us all we were beautiful and great, and he was pretty laid back. I guess he’s a pro at it. He didn’t have the nerves that new designers have in terms of putting their designs out there for the first time. Still, I guess he has the pressure of living up to expectations. But he knew that this collection was brilliant, and his confidence really helped keep us all grounded backstage. His only tense moment was when the fringe dress wouldn’t untangle, and that was really stressful to watch!”

How did you feel on the catwalk?
“The runway had a little speed bump bulge in the middle! Not fun in stilettos that made my feet clammy. Well, that was mostly my nerves.”

EARLIER: Sculpted zippers, butter-soft leathers and far-out fringe at Denis Gagnon

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