Looking at the euphoric images from the spring-summer 2022 lookbook (and the amazing video), it’s clear that Dries Van Noten started to enjoy presenting his collection digitally. He skipped a regular fashion show in Paris, and tapped the visionary, new-gen photograher Rafael Pavarotti to shoot the line-up in Antwerp. The effect is SPECTACULAR. “We just really wanted this moment of joy!” declared the designer. “Festivals and all these things came to our minds. We were looking at those moments when you get out, get with crowds, share emotions, and have fun together – whether it’s going to a pop or rock festival, going to a dodgy little club, or dancing in a discotheque.” One of those moments of gatherings is Tomorrowland. “It’s the biggest dance festival in the world, with all the top DJs, and it’s here in Belgium,” he said. “When you look at the pictures, some people are completely dressed up, some are in easy clothes, but they’re sharing something. That was what I wanted to play with in this collection. Visual fireworks!” Van Noten is completely spot-on about the feeling that we’ve all had it up to here with lockdown dressing. The desire for going to extremes, fashion’s fantasy revenge on the pandemic is, well, contagious this season. “We did all kinds of crazy experiments – handmade smocking, fluffy things, jacquards, silks. Different types of sparkle – different shine, depths of glimmer. All this stuff,” he said, laughing. Dries is convinced that the enormity of the experience we’ve lived through – and the uncertainty we’re still living with – has caused a permanent psychological shift in what we decide to buy in the way of clothes. “Is now the time for sad clothes?” he asked rhetorically. “Or is it that you need something to help you to get through the whole thing? I lean more now to the second. Even if we’re going to have a third or fourth or fifth wave or whatever – it’s still going to happen. Because personally, I think I would prefer do it in clothes like these than in gray and camel and sweatpants.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.