Dries Van Noten’s Artistry in Fashion

It’s a beautiful thing when everything comes together for a designer (the venue, the collection, the mood, etc.). Such was the case in Paris on Wednesday, when Dries Van Noten showed his fall 2015 collection. Richly hued with military undertones, it had stellar outerwear, pieces that are simple yet special enough to stand on their own, tactile surface interest, ornamentation, and standout accessories (the chunky gold metal twisted ropes and feather and fabric flower necklaces are bound to be highly sought after), and it represented Dries at his best.

It also perfectly illustrated why this highly revered, influential designer, (known for his cross cultural, global aesthetic, predicated on effortless layering and superb fabric mixes), was awarded the CFDA International Award in 2008, and the 2009 Couture Council Artistry in Fashion Award.  Previous winners were Ralph Rucci, Alber Elbaz, and Isabel Toledo, and to say these four illustrious creators set the bar high for his honor, is an understatement.

The collection was luxurious and glamorous in a way that can best be described as unforced and believable; ageless in that one could easily imagine it on a wide range of ages (which is not an easy feat!); and with its Eastern references (China is on everyone’s minds these days thanks to the upcoming exhibition at the Costume Institute), it was timely, yet timeless. In addition, it was the epitome of deluxe bohemian without looking one bit costumey (long a Van Noten signature).


The models looked beautiful, graceful, and comfortable, as they easily strode the runway in their blocked heeled footwear (boots and open toed sandals, which were often covered in brocade or damask), and slouchy chino pants. In one fell swoop, Dries made slightly rumpled, super wide legged chinos look desirable and chic. By the way, his use of humble utilitarian cotton drill in tan and navy, along with more opulent gold threaded brocades and pailletes, was just one of the highly effective ways he was able to create those perfect mixes he is known for (fusing the banal with the opulent, day with evening, boy meets, girl). At a time when everyone is talking about modern luxury and modern glamour, he hit the nail on the head.

Anna Dello Russo wearing chino cargo pants
and fabulous  patterned fur coat

Speaking of chino pants, while they are not likely to ever replace denim as the universal, all time favorite wardrobe staple, it looks like we might be bracing for a revival of sorts (such as the one following Nicolas Guesquiere’s landmark fall 2007 collection for Balenciaga). Apparently, Anna Dello Russo already got the message as she was spotted sitting front row at Dries’s show, wearing chino cargo pants (narrow ones), with a crisp white shirt and Navajo turquoise jewelry beneath her fabulous patterned full length fur coat.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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