Dries Van Noten polishes up Picasso
Imparting emotion is a key element in great clothes and, perhaps more so, when staging runway shows. And this was a sensational show imparting emotions via the very exuberance of its color, and the sheer beauty of its fabrics. A breathtaking collage of color inspired by Picasso’s painting -– Les Deux Demoiselles faisant leur Toilettes.
Van Noten has a huge team who work for him exclusively on prints in his dockside headquarters in Antwerp. It looked like they had worked double overtime shifts on this collection. Deftly assembled mixes of bold checks, silken florals, retro graphics and blindingly golden jacquards.
The music helped too: a blend of the Ronettes “Be My Baby" reinterpreted as a soft ballad by DM Stith interrupted by the dramatic drumming of Wanna Say Faux by Co La.
“An optimistic collection. We often say that fashion is reflection of the world. Well, there is so much negative happening, so I wanted to escape with fashion. I wanted a very happy woman who knows the rules so she can break them. Cocktails at 5pm. Why not?” explained the designer, who declined all questions backstage but posted a video shortly after the show with an interview with his loquacious communications director Patrick Scallon.
Turning to the Picasso painting, Van Noten extolled the famed collage - scraps of wallpaper, bricks, no brush strokes; and explained how he mingled scraps of fabrics from the 60s and 80s collages. Before finishing many looks with draped scarves.
“The foulard is a very bourgeois 70s idea, but if you apply it to a look it seems more finished,” he smiled.
In a bold move, the casting were covered in crystals, across their collars, eyebrows and even inside their mouths. But the key to this show was the mix. Just as Saint Laurent at his best could blend the most unlikely primary colors; Van Noten on form can jumble up the most disparate fabrics and prints to make a combination infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. Even his simple black fine wool blazers dazzled, embroidered with fab’ crystal leaves. Modern maharanis or haute gamme bohemians, the ladies who will wear this collection will already feel truly exotic and rare even before they step outside their own front door.
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