Fashion loves Dries Van Noten. Let me count the ways: To celebrate his 100th show (now that’s a real anniversary), he skipped a big party to keep costs — which ultimately trickle down to his customers — down. He brought back models from his first shows, meaning decades ago, and the clothes looked as sensational on them as they did on the new girls discovered this year. He’s one of the biggest draws during Paris Fashion Week, but prefers to headquarter at home in Antwerp. He’s intensely private, humble and dedicated to fashion, so don’t expect a social media blitz of celebrities and airless interviews, but do expect an upcoming documentary that was surely painful for him to make but which allow those who love his clothing the chance to understand how he works.
To mark 100, which includes his men’s shows which were his first in 1992, Van Noten dug into his archives. An exercise that was painful and liberating no doubt. He and his team didn’t go for the best-selling prints, but rather the ones that felt good now, the prints that could carry him into the future. He is the print master, one who loves the tension created when classics like lush florals and trompe l’oeil are paired with bold geometric circles, triangles, etc. Van Noten has been employing that notion since his start, and it never gets old.
The runway lineup also highlighted how a cacophony of print and color can turn into something beautiful. Dresses, blouses and tunics (often worn over relaxed white denim) walked out in vibrant patterns spliced together. To balance the clash of motion and color, the silhouettes were easy, fluid and often oversized and androgynous. Another DVN calling card.
There was an insouciant attitude of relaxed glamour at work here, seen in the subtle way models tucked a hand in their pockets lifting one side of crisp white shirts or printed tunics to the way super luxe metallic velvets that changed color as they moved were cut into relaxed silhouettes. Or how colored fur detailed the most proletariat of coats. Blazers, quilted coats, rolled up jeans, turtlenecks, day dresses with matching jackets all had on an easy throw-on layering appeal.
Evening was just as laidback. Denim for after hours! How Parisian piquant to do white rolled-cuff jeans with a beaded top and fur stole or faded blue denim with a men’s blazer and palm tree top? Cheers to the next 100 delightful, off-kilter, though-provoking shows.
By Nandini D’Souza Wolfe
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US