And we have a winner… Dries Van Noten delivered a game changer in Paris. Mr. Van Noten raised the bar with this collection and demonstrated that fashion, real fashion, is alive and well this season. I will openly admit that this is not a collection for everyone nor does it even come close to universal appeal but, damn it was good. Dries, after all, is an acquired taste!
The man is known for his prints as well as his own particular slant on what is fashionable. Here’s a novel concept; he does not follow the flock and finds his own road to travel each season, whether it is for men of women. If one is predisposed to examine fashion according to trend, then we can do that as well as this season, Dries hits a few of the big trends of the season; prints, shorts, sharp tailoring, slouchy relaxed looks, outerwear , pattern mixing and, well no reason to go further. The point is, is that Mr. Van Noten did it his way without looking like a “me too” collection.
Being a “camo” print freak, I can only say whoopee!! This was literally a paean to the print on every weight and type of fabric that is possible. The point being is that here is a designer’s designer, one that creates and does not “borrow” or need to have paragraphs of rhetoric to explain that he has created GREAT clothes. The collection may not be one’s cup of tea as shown but there are oodles and oodles of pieces here once the looks are dissected. The extreme combinations that were offered were conceived with an extremely deft hand and discerning eye, not to mention an unmatched ability to please on a visual level…. Again, if you like this sort of thing.
What is the true litmus test for me is that there are aspects of this collection that I might have seen in others and found them abrasive or visually offensive/disturbing and yet with Mr. Van Noten, these very same aspects come off as great design. For example, lace for men, the plaids and even the shorts are all served up in such a way that they take a back seat to the total picture rather than the single part of a look. What should be highlighted are the fabulous sweaters which are just plain standouts, the trenches and his wonderful approach to tailored clothing.
If you want to see what a designer’s designer designs and what genuine fashion looks like, then you best have a look at clothes that screamed at me and hopefully will, at least, resonate with you!
P.S. It should be noted that I am not a rabid Dries fan by any means