Ok, Dries. You win.
And it’s not only because you had the best fashion show venue, comparing to all the other designers and brands of this season. In fact, the runway was situated in one of the most important places in Paris – on Opera Garnier’s stage, from where the guests had a stunning view on the red, velvet auditorium. The Belgian designer said that he had been trying to book this place for 15 years: “Every year we applied and applied and applied, and every year they said ‘No.’ But then they said ‘Yes!”. So no wonder why the autumn-winter 2016 season seems to be extremely significant for Van Noten. The fashion industry holds two main types of designers – those who do a “show” instead of “fashion“, and those who do “fashion” but can’t afford or want to have a “show“. But Dries Van Noten is an exception – everything in his fashion show is in full, poetic symbiosis. And I tell you, the clothes from this menswear outing are as exceptional as the place they were presented in.
It all started quite calmly, with a few well-tailored tuxedos and coats. And then, then, it felt as if the Madame Butterfly appeared on the stage – the over-sized suits styled with turtlenecks; the magnificently embroidered military jackets with Belle Epoque motifs and baroque emblems; the to-die-for waisted coats with attachable fur collars made me sigh and feel the real, chronic yearning of the season. If talking of the oneiric, face embroideries, they were made in collaboration with Wes Wilson, the graphic artist who conveyed the visual expression of the psychedelic West Coast at its ’60s/’70s. There was a refreshing clash between the operatic, bohemian elegance and the “get high by the beach” skate-board guy. A kind of subverted reality.
“What is reality? What is the dream? Where does everything start and begin? So for me it was really good to be able to show here onstage and not in a room. It turns your world a little bit upside down.” Dries Van Noten has definitely staged the most beautiful (and additionally, wearable) collection up to now – but I don’t think anybody else will create a greater impression this season. A very, very high target is set.