Dries van Noten’s work has always fascinated me. A highly conceptual and independent designer, his garments have an ethereal touch that’s thoroughly unique. No matter how unusual his designs, you’ll want to wear them all- even the ones that are a touch out of line with your personal style. In many ways I think that’s exactly what Mr. van Noten wants to achieve with his seasonal offerings; he wants women to wear his garments and feel extraordinary in them. Season after season, this is beautifully done.
Mr. van Noten’s amalgamation of colour, prints, and embellishment is exceptional,and there are few other designers who can match his talent of combining and utilizing these elements. This season, he wanted to thoroughly exercise this skill right to the edge of what is considered design taboo.
For Spring 2015, the designer created a collection that effused a sense of the faded glamour of old Hollywood. It’s an inspirational source that was seen previously on this season’s runways, but Mr. van Noten’s rendering was remarkably fresh. Rather than just focusing on traditional glamourous elements of the Golden Age, he played up the melancholy of era of fast lifestyles and the tragedies of some beloved icons to create a look that was almost entirely new.
Not that there was really anything melancholy to be seen within the collection itself- Spring 2016’s offering was a vivacious cacophony of colours, prints and flashy ornamentation that was anything but downhearted!
“Flamboyant, not eccentric,” is how the designer summed up his latest work, which was bursting with his signature jewel toned and richly adorned designs. “Eccentric can be a sad old lady with twenty-five cats. A flamboyant lady is the lady who lives. She wears and she dares and she has fun.” Judging from all the gorgeousness on display, it’s clear that this lady certainly leads an exciting life.
The collection ran through a gamut of references, many of which suggested exemplary women as their inspiration bases. There was a hint of Katherine Hepburn to the strong shouldered gowns, outsized jackets, pantsuits and forties hairdos. 80’s- era Madonna showed up in frothy full skirts, tulle slipdresses, and vintage satin bras worn over tee-shirts; while wing motifs, swirling surrealist prints and graphic tattoo art bodysuits suggested fashion’s resident queen of surrealism, Elsa Schiaparelli.
Considering Mr. van Noten’s usual degree of design modesty, this collection was a surprisingly bold display of bravado which made for a refreshing and thoroughly engaging show!
Spring 2015 wasn’t just flash and flair, there were plenty of gorgeous looks that would be a dream to fit into most wardrobes: easy swing coats, silk blouses, full-cut trousers, pantsuits in tweed and printed wool, patterned knits, button-front shirts, embellished shorts, and printed skirts.
While dizzying colours and patterns are at the core of Mr. van Noten’s work, this season he forwent mixing prints with patterns in a myriad of hues and set a two- colour limit on most of his looks. With variations that ranged from shocking yellow and purple, burgundy and grey, fuschia and cream to navy blue and black, the results were exceptionally vivid. The designer pushed the button even further by adding sequined organic patterns and graphic geometric prints into the mix for an effect that was as flashy as it was fun.
When you think of “elegant fashion” you probably envision something along the lines of vintage Dior, but Mr. Van Noten has totally created his own version of elegance. This show was an exceptional example- the audacity of this onslaught of colour, pattern and surrealism was equal parts shocking and mesmerizing. More than beautiful, it felt inventive and original… like Mr. van Noten was pushing the boundaries of elegant dressing onto new ground with a chic sense of surety.
It’s simply gorgeous and I love every piece. Bergdorf Goodman cannot stock this collection soon enough- I want it all!
Xx – Ana