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6.12.2017

Dries van Noten

After last menswear season's ecstatic explosion of time and place at the Palais Garnier -opera house- in Paris, it was surely nearly impossible for Dries van Noten to up the impactful ante. And he didn't. Because how could he ? That was a thing never to be repeated. But that's not to say that this wasn't gold or at the very least silver on the podium of most entrancingly beguiling collections of the season so far. Because it was. Just look at the pictures. Dries van Noten is one of the very few designers who defies the giddy winsomeness of this business to churn out collections which, again and again, make you feel like you are reading poetry which you are slightly too ill-educated to understand, yet with which you connect and feel the propensity to emotionally travel. Luckily, the mild-mannered maestro himself was in particularly disposing mien post-show, and provided guidance. "I wanted to do a new take on Arts and Crafts. When you think about Kelmscott Manor and Rossetti and Burne-Jones, they came together -making craft also art. And for me it was also like a challenge to find a new way of embellishment. All those palettes and embroideries that we used in the past I didn't want to use, so I tried to find new elements in volumes, in shapes, and in putting fabrics together. So I looked a lot at fabric art, to textile artists who were very active in the Sixties and Seventies and in whom there is now a new interest", stated the designer. The handmade sweaters strafed with the explicitly analogue skeins of their creation were central here. Silk print jackets were drawn from late-Enlightenment-era naif botanicals. We shifted from there future-wards through the reverential nineteenth century and into the mass industrial twentieth via subverted camouflage. The quiet rebellion of the closing looks, when all-blue replaced patterned chaos was a dressed-down reminder of this designer's way with silhouette and cut. Look at the jeans-on-deans print joke on that denim : this was one of the few collections where one felt eternal writing would lead to the same ultimate conclusion : encore !

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