Autumn-winter 2017 was Dries Van Noten‘s 100th show. And just as he did at this season’s menswear, the designer was reflecting on the past, future, and most of all – the contemporary. Malgosia Bela, Nadia Auermann, Hanne Gaby, Mica Arganaraz, Carolyn Murphy, Debra Shaw and many, many more catwalk icons, veterans and today’s favourites walked the show. Some of them were present in Van Noten’s first show back in the late 80s, which is quite impressive. The collection is naturally one of the season’s biggest highlights, although it wasn’t about any statement piece. Masculine coats and over-sized denim pants were like the second skin of the models with experience (and a powerful gaze in their eyes). They made simple clothes look elusive. The designer showed off a remix of his forever-great prints on midi-length dresses and frivolous skirts, reminding everyone that he’s especially talented with colour palette and textile combinations. Lovely boas, big blazers and perfectly tailored shirts: there’s no doubt why throughout those 100 collections, women believed in Dries. And they will do so throughout the next 100 collections, that’s sure.
While others fall into mega-companies and stakes, Van Noten’s Antwerp-based label is independent. When I entered his cozy boutique on Saint Germain yesterday, it was crowded – and those weren’t tourists, who took photos of the ornamental interior, but women trying on dresses and shoes. Something I haven’t seen at all the same day at Balenciaga or Lanvin on the other side of Seine, even though these brands are currently “it”.
The secret of Dries? Maybe the fact he doesn’t play secrets; he doesn’t create packs of model-friends to propel sales; he doesn’t want to be in the spotlight that much. It’s about the clothes and his relation with devoted clients.