After 25 years and 100 shows, Dries Van Noten dazzles in Paris

The Belgian designer celebrated his centenery show in French capital

For the collection, Van Noten delved into the company archives going back to his first show 25 years ago

For the collection, Van Noten delved into the company archives going back to his first show 25 years ago

 

“It’s a milestone and very special and is 100 per cent my DNA,” said Belgian designer Dries Van Noten marking his 100th fashion show in Paris on Wednesday with a landmark show that earned him loud cheers and a standing ovation with crowds lining up to congratulate him backstage. The event took place in a large sports hall in Bercy installed with mirrors and featured 48 models of different ages and from different parts of the world, many of whom had walked in his early collections in the 1990s, modelling 60 outfits. For some, it was an emotional reunion.

For the collection, Van Noten delved into the company archives going back to his first show 25 years ago and selected some of his favourite prints, then overprinted them daringly with new, colourful geometric graphics or embroidery to give them contemporary relevance. It was a novel and imaginative way of avoiding nostalgia but creating the future from his past. Each guest received a hand bound book of these patterns – paper versions of the originals and their new counterparts.

So much dazzling pattern, print and colour applied in such a painterly way made for a kaleidoscopic winter collection, based around familiar, easygoing shapes with the designer’s customary mastery of discordant textures and androgynous shapes; an oversize vivid orange silk coat bordered with blue, white and orange triangles worn over blue jeans, for example was flamboyant.

Daywear dresses had their own drama. One in a multi coloured marble print from 2008 overlaid with distorted monochrome spheres was modelled by Ali Wek while another in a green jungle print was screened in parts with black and pink motifs. His mannish tailoring and familiar long sweeping greatcoats - one in patchworked denim - were worn in that slouchy, languid, off hand way with flat brogues and white jeans though dark oversize jackets sloping over delicate silk dresses sometimes created a look of vulnerability rather than strength.

The shoes were terrific too - embroidered velvets with crystal blue Perspex heels - but this show was primarily about the artful combination of prints and the celebration of the work of a designer who has remained proudly independent and true to his own aesthetic over the years. Irish fans, of which there are many, will have much to look forward to later in the year. See the full show at driesvannoten.com

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