Spring/Summer 2016 Dries Van Noten

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“Did it look like I was having fun? It was supposed to!” Dries Van Noten laughed backstage after his show that took the colourwheel and span it with glee. Clashing teal with mustard, purple with hot pink, orange with gold, and so on (and so on), it was a positive riot of juxtapositions – and that’s before the fabrics even come into it. Raised jacquards, satin ruffles, embellished tweed checks and lashings of pleated, tiered and frilled tulle –  it was the grown-up equivalent of raiding the dressing-up box, although under Noten’s watchful eye, the result looks really good.

“This season it was really about the flamboyant woman – she’s not just eccentric, because that can be old with 25 cats,” he continued backstage. “She wants to live, she wants to show herself, she wants to enjoy life. She knows how to mix things and she dares to.”

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A master of mixing things up himself, this show saw one of Noten’s personal passions realised: to have a live orchestra play the score to his show – a familiar yet distorted melody with a punchy baseline.

“The string quartet is something that I l have loved for over 15 years. It was the perfect time to have it at this collection as it was a collection of lots of things you know but it’s a very different way of thinking about them,” he explained, summing up exactly what we always look for – and always love – in a Noten show.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Dries Van Noten

IMG_8766IMG_8762If you’re going to a ball, then make Dries Van Noten your date. The designer put his casual-cool spin on fairy-tale dressing of the Cinderella kind – making tie-on splaying train skirts a must for next season. And if it’s not one of those (and they came in every eclectic incarnation – from utility style fabrications to molten and iridescent), make it a pair of cargo trousers. Note, here, they looked good with everything. Effortless has always been this designer’s forte after all.

“Anything goes,” enthused Van Noten backstage. This was once again an artisanal exploration into his easy dressing aesthetic but this time anchored within a more eveningwear-orientated domain – “couture and the casual” and “grounded glamour” were the buzzwords.

So macs became evening dresses, cinched at the waist and billowing behind; feathers and flowers fastened at the neck; brocade-rich boots were on feet. It was about layering individual garments together to incredibly rich effect – pailette-drenched arms on tops; a sandy-coloured trench atop sequin gowns beneath; velvet wide-leg trousers; shorts thrown into the mix; Scarlett O’Hara skirts.

“It’s about passionate women,” continued Van Noten backstage. By which he meant the combination of Anna Piaggi flamboyance and Jane Birkin nonchalance.

This was dressed-up dressed-down, and a beautiful collection.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten put forward the best case for forest living and returning back to nature – a collection of casual meets ethereal meets cool.

There was no soundtrack to begin, just the chirp of birds tweeting – or was that in fact just the audience all heads down and finger tapping into the oblivion of their phones? And was this perhaps a reminder – if not on purpose but quite brilliantly by accident – about what tweeting used to mean? The sound of nature, not technology.

Regardless, this was a collection about a girl who was in touch with the natural world around her, a mossy carpet beneath her feet as she took serenely to the catwalk in signature easy Dries separates – slouchy trousers (occasionally here with a dropped crotch), oversized blazers, shrunken bomber jackets, spacious T-shirt tunics, boxy-big shorts and a series of wispy-wafty dresses, all spaghetti straps and asymmetric hems. All easy. All elegant. All edited just the Dries way.

In patchwork and rich candy-coloured stripes, eclectic travelled patterns and bohemian frills, it was the coolest woodland clique we’ve seen. This looked like a fun – calm – pace of life to live. Textures were a combination of luxe and raw – veins of a leaf, lines of a tree trunk, that moss again, or dense fringing of the wilderness all transformed into beautiful and wearable clothes. Shirts were kimono-belted, denim (as it has everywhere) played its part too and there was a prevalence of the waistcoat.

In continuation of what seemed to be something of a silent protest, the girls wandered out for the finale and then sat down – a Dries Van Noten sit-in.


Autumn/Winter 2014-15 Dries Van Noten

ONE of the best ways to gauge what you’re going to see at the womenswear shows is by taking a look at the menswear shows – and there are some designers more than others from whom you’re going to get a good indication as to what to expect.

A case in point is Dries Van Noten. The designer picked up right where he left off in January with a collection of swirling, colourful kaleidoscopic prints for the girls that got us thinking the models weren’t wearing those oversized shades just for fun – though in bright yellow, dark green or light lilac round frames, they certainly looked like they were having fun in them too.

Magenta and yellow, grey and green, navy and orange, there were optical swirls spawning on hips and rampaging down skirts; vivid florals popping up on long-length blazers or gowns infused with a Thirties spirit.

Flowers then stepped off the garments and sprang into life as vibrant corsages or crawling across the collarbone as a neck adornment.

Aside from the colour and print, this was a collection that cleverly worked to combine and blur the lines between casual and dressed up. Mannish tailoring, sequins and tea dresses, T-bar shoes, a casual stole or furry jacket falling off the shoulder – mix them up whichever way you see fit and you have your look sorted.

To shop more Dries Van Noten visit: www.driesvannoten.com or click below to shop the latest Autumn/Winter 2014-15 collection: