Van Noten-Lacroix collection at its heart romantic, joyful
Innovative once-off collaboration between the two designers was in itself a homecoming
Lacroix, from Arles, was known for the sunny prints of his native Provencal and his penchant for l8th century dress and those references resurfaced in billowing ensembles of leopard and botantical motifs
The red rose on our seats before the Dries Van Noten spring show in the cavernous Opera Bastille in Paris this afternoon was a clue to what lay ahead. Signed with the initials of Van Noten and Christian Lacroix, it signified the innovative once-off collaboration between the two designers, one of the best-kept secrets at Paris Fashion Week this season. For Lacroix, who no longer owns his name, it was a homecoming.
“Today’s world can be divisive and drab and left me thirsting for all that would be maximalist, optimistic, flamboyant, inclusive and exhilaratingly extravagant,” Van Noten said. “There is a place for powerful opulence, exaggeration and fun and I needed that energy from the 80s and 90s couture scene in Paris, a period mastered by the talents of Christian Lacroix. It became a natural wish to work with him on this collection”.
And what a collection. To the accompaniment of the haunting second movement of Schubert’s piano trio in E flat, the models, flaunting ostrich feathers in their hair and golden platforms on their feet, thumped down the catwalk in a wild parade of exuberant volume, colour, animal print and florals. Lacroix, from Arles, was known for the sunny prints of his native Provencal and his penchant for l8th century dress and those references resurfaced in billowing ensembles of leopard and botantical motifs and in voluminous tiered gowns in black or shocking pink, no holds barred.
Strict tailoring, however, in long narrow coats kept the temperature down, showing Van Noten’s textural skill in combining animal print, brocade or bold black and white in alluring ways – one white coat had sleeves embellished with white pearls, another stood out in a swirl of black and white, a simple black column dress was shouldered in gold decor while a black polka dot skirt with Carmen Miranda flamboyance was simply teamed with a black T-shirt.
The spring collection offered the choice of being daring – an orange tiger print floor-length coat – or more demure – with a severe black jacket and white trousers. But with its rich detail and playful combinations, this collection at its heart was one of the season’s most romantic and joyful. At an emotional finale, both designers, hand-in-hand, took their bow to loud cheers and roars of approval.