Dries Van Noten has a well-established love of exotica, typicallyexpressed via his innovative use of prints. He is also among theincreasingly few designers who give their runways over primarily todaywear — real, unapologetic daywear that could, aside from theeditorial flourish or two, make a speedy segue from runway to street. Inthe collection he showed on Wednesday, Van Noten again fused those twocore elements to ultrachic effect.


The designer has a particular gift for functioning flamboyance.Back in October, he started scouring the Victoria & Albert Museumfor historical Chinese, Japanese and Korean costumes. He thenphotographed the actual garments — robes, coats, skirts — forlarge-scale prints that he cut into various pieces to create graphicblocks on the clothes. The side of a lavishly patterned oriental coatbecame the decorative motif for a skirt; parts of an Eastern skirt, thepattern on a blouse. Sometimes one big, bold graphic made the case,while at others, it was an interesting patchwork.

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