PFW 2014: Dries Van Noten

For a man who claims to not worry about creating unwearable art, Dries Van Noten’s Autumn 2014 collection elevates wearable pieces to refined art. Practically on the eve of his show opening in the Musée des Artes Décoratifs, Van Noten pulls from pop art and from a cultural phenomenon (the rave), doing exactly that which an artist does: use the world around him as inspiration for his work.
Just as the man appears to be (he makes jam to calm his nerves), though, the collection is grounded, in the nearly mundane. Except that in the case of both the collection and the designer himself, mundane is refined. Grey wool underpins nearly hallucinogenic geometry. Mid-calf skirts, which could be matronly in their florals, instead use elementary color wheel contrasts, making the housewifely silhouette covetable. Tailored, structured coats thumb their noses (most beautifully) at their own practicality with a twisted stripe and a collar turned just so. Even a simple graphic shift followed by flouncing blooms shouldn’t make sense, but they do.
Reportedly, the Inspirations show will not be a retrospective, under the auspices of it being to early for a 55 year old to be able to look back at his life’s work. Rather, as Van Noten said recently the show’s name is truthful. Each element and piece in the show will tell part of Van Noten’s sources and how they wander through his brain and into his designs. Based on the most recent runway collection, that would be a welcome wander.
Dries Van Noten Fall 2014 RTW Look 5
Dries Van Noten Fall 2014 RTW Look 6
 Dries Van Noten Fall 2014 RTW Look 11 Dries Van Noten Fall 2014 RTW Look 24 Dries Van Noten Fall 2014 RTW Look 48 Dries Van Noten Fall 2014 RTW Look 53 Detail
by Alison Santighian 

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