Three weeks ago I’ve been to my beloved Paris – the pre-coronavirus-outbreak times… – and now is the moment to share some of my highlights. A trip to the Dries Van Noten store on the Left Bank is a ritual, but this time, it was even more important because of the very special collection that is there. I mean spring-summer 2020, the one where Dries collaborated with the legendary designer Christian Lacroix. You might have already observed that I really fell in love with this one-of-a-kind collaboration. Or better, say match; dialogue; meeting. When this bacame a fact during the last Paris fashion week, in that very moment the planets moved or maybe the time stopped. This collection is something you never thought you needed in your life. I’m still in absolute awe, while going through the looks over and over again. “The idea is to bring fun ideas, nothing too serious, things that I think perhaps we have lost a little in fashion”, Van Noten told the press back then. “I wanted to do something joyful”. Dries and Christian weren’t acquainted before their collab (it came up spontaneously), but their contrasts became actual similitaries once they started working together. They fulfilled each other. Lacroix’s iconic legacy of ‘never too much’ combined with Van Noten’s mastership of colour-and-print balance. Looking at the final result, all the Lacroix signatures are in place, filtered through Van Noten’s sensibility: polka dots, broad stripes, animal prints, ruffles, matador jackets, gigot sleeves, silks woven with scaled up, bright flowers, pouf skirts, duchesse satin and grosgrain. The vocabulary of Dries Van Noten is fused with that of Mr. Christian Lacroix throughout: said jacquards have been scanned and appear as prints across cotton and organza; lightweight polyesters, made out of recycled plastic bottles and coated papers rustle alongside precious French silks; basic white tops are decorated with a single overblown embroidered sleeve here, jeans with an appliquéd feather or feather print on one leg there. If Mr. Lacroix was among the most feted couturiers of the latter part of the 20th century (in his own words, he “failed with ready-to-wear”), Dries Van Noten is one of the pret-a-porter leaders of today. It’s a match made in heaven. Such fashion wonders happen very, very rarely, so seeing them IRL, in the charming Van Noten boutique, was an ecstatic experience. Below are photos I took there, mixed with my new collages feauturing the collection photographed by Tommy Ton. As most of us are staying at home now, here‘s a link to the interview where both designers talk about their work – and even if you’ve seen it, it’s worth rewatching!
7 Quai Malaquais – Paris
(The place is temporarily closed. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)
Photos and collages by Edward Kanarecki, photos of the collection photographed by Tommy Ton for Dries Van Noten.
Commission is a New York-based label co-founded by Huy Luong, Dylan Cao and Jin Kay. Since their debut, the designers are set out to redefine their Asian heritage using Western style codes. Their fourth season continues to be a modern reinterpretation of what their mothers wore to work at the end of 20th century, this time however the style is more refined and after-dark chic. Business-ready tailoring, leather pencil skirts, turtleneck dresses and soft retro prints – the Commission look is taken out straight from 1990’s Vogue Italia. As Cao told Paper, “we’re first-generation immigrants to the US. So around the time that we started there was this conversation we wanted to have, about Asian, especially East Asian, culture and representation in the visual world, and especially in the fashion industry. And for a long time we found it really limiting, and really literal.” When looking at family photos, all three designers realized that their mothers styled themselves in a similar manner to go to work, dressing with the same “visual code,” as Cao put it. “The ’80s and ’90s, that’s sort of a period when not a lot of people talk about Asia, because there’s less to romanticize” he continued. “By then there were a lot of Western influences in the way people dressed in Asia. Growing up we’d see our parents go to work and tweak the Western-style codes in their own way. And just looking at our moms and the way they dressed – the big suits, the shoulder pads, the pants – but adding their own personal flares to the way they styled the clothes, that’s what kind of connected us.” If you still haven’t done that, make sure to follow Commission’s steps, as the brand is getting better and better with every season!
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.