At a time when emerging and new talent is a fixation of the industry, and long-established fashion powerhouses have to seismically shift to regain the attention; Dries van Noten is playing it cool, as ever.
The exhibition that has been running at Les Arts Decoratifs since March, rather than a retrospective on his work, is an assimilation and presentation of his inspirations, and design process. Beautiful objects such as Damien Hirst’s butterflies juxtaposed with a Schiaparelli dress from 1937 are citied adjacent as informants for his own work. “The starting point of a collection can either be very literal or abstract. A painting, a certain colour, a thought, a gesture, a smell, a flower, anything really”, explains van Noten.
Beautiful compilations of garments from the catwalk are collated with artists’ work, items from museums, paintings, films, to create an all encompassing and completely engrossing space, a live and palpable look inside the designers mind. Take S/S 2000; a collection that takes it’s reference from Mexican and Spanish gypsy traditions and passion is complimented by suspended giant skulls by Cindy Wright. The curation of the exhibition is fantastic, his personal inspiration Jimi Hendrix in a beautiful floral jacket graces a large photograph, beside it, the jacket itself and an intricate waistcoat from the time of Louis XV. All the articles in the exhibit work in perfect harmony, and really instil a sense of fluidity and purpose behind the world renowned collections.
Largely, in this age what we lack, with immediately disseminated information; live catwalks shows, instant click to buy and innumerable social media followings, is the garments themselves. The intricate handwork, premium materials, ingenious cuts, seems to be lost often in young design, and vast quantity of media output and spectacle prevails over quality. Being able to interact with the garments and truly appreciate their beauty and purpose excels any other medium of truly connecting with fashion.
This is why Dries is always such a key player in the industry. From his first collection nearly thirty years ago, emerging as one of the Antwerp six in the 80s, the designer has been persistently attuned to socioeconomic shifts, the changing tide of taste without compromising on his own very idiosyncratic aesthetic. This season’s proffering extends that; inspired by the pre-Raphaelite’s Ophelia and a Midsummer Nights Dream – the ephemeral beauty is almost tangible within the gossamer threads and gilded fabrics. Continually captivating and eternally stylish, Dries van Noten’s boots only come in one size.
source of image: DazedDigital