The austere setting – a massive hangar like space that provided a long walk and plenty of viewing time for each exit, and a lone guitar player – Colin Greenwood of Radiohead, set the stage for Dries Van Noten’s collection of simple juxtaposed to the opulent (at times within the same look). As Vogue wrote online, “Spring be damned, the show was a stunning parade of dark tulip damasks, jet black ruffles, Byzantine gold, Ottoman tassels, and embroideries that set the night sky against barbed wire as the season’s leitmotif. Into that heady brew Van Noten stirred the plain and simple, in the form of honest, hardy fabrics like poplin, calico, natural linen…the result was a perverse, audacious marriage of rich and poor.”
“I thought about how Tamara de Lempicka, Loulou de la Falaise, and Charlotte Rampling dressed,” Noten said backstage. “And I wondered how they’d do it today.” His ending results were folkloric/ethnic pieces such as pheasant tops with easy pants, over-sized tasseled-carpet-shoulder bags and tassel-fringed knits over pants and loose Bermuda shorts. In fact, the Bermuda shorts with fringed knits or ruffles were some of my favorites. He then must have imagined his muses dressing on a grander scale, incorporating flashes of gold lame, a micro-beaded gold shift, an equally small amount of sequins paneling the front of a calico coat, and the aforementioned stunningly rich tulip damasks and jet black ruffles (his Spanish influence).
If you observed hints of Issey Miyake , and Comme des Garçons (frills of ruffles and pleats), I’d say you were spot on. The result for me, could at times, seem over whelming (yet I can appreciate the brilliance) but when tamed down I adored them: the chic ruffled halter top paired with ultra mini red on black dotted Bermudas; a romantic black ruffled skirt and blouse; and his first exit of a simple cream tank dress with gold lame ruffles lined hip to knee.
Next February, Dries Van Noten will be honored with a major retrospective of his work at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, curated by Pamela Golbin. With such a masterful body of work, I’d say it is well deserved.