Let’s get a few things clear. This is what Dries Van Noten ISN’T. It’s not a label for selfie fans, social media stars, Gen Z, or “look at me I’m so sexy” celebs. So what is it? Well, great actually. And after a few collections this Fashion Month that have been more than a little extreme, that’s very welcome.
Dries Van Noten knows how to dress women. Those pesky people over the age of 23 who aren’t 5ft 10 inch size 4s (even if the models on the catwalk are 5ft 10 inch size 4s). Ok, it’s not commercial/accessible like a high street retailer’s collection might be but it’s all good stuff.
So to yesterday’s show. There was some silly stuff in there, of course (but this is a big name runway show so maxi hobble skirts that are near-impossible to walk in are only to be expected). But there was lots to love and you knew it was exactly what Dries Van Noten wanted. After all, this is an independent business not dancing to a giant luxury goods owner’s tune.
Dries Van Noten shows aren’t flashy. There was no dry ice, although there was wet ice with beautiful frozen floral artworks by Japanese artist Azuma Makoto dripping slightly precariously onto the runway. It was lucky there were no crazy-height platform shoes or the models would have given us an early rendition of Holiday On Ice.
The floral artworks echoed the floral prints that came as allovers or placements on a silhouette that veered quite comfortably from slim (but never ridiculously skinny – apart from those skirts) to full. In fact, it was a collection of contrasts from the luxe to more humble materials, from the very plain to the joyfully printed and from the wide-cut tunics, wide-cut pants, and wide-cut coats that took their place alongside body-sliming slip dresses.
Along the way we also got relaxed tailoring, the season’s star blouse with plenty of sleeve detail, intricate beading and some great shoes from high-end flip flops to ankle-laced sandals.