As he prepares to celebrate his 100th show, Dries Van Noten took advantage of his men’s fall collection to take stock.
Not that he literally hit the stock room, though judging from the acres of traditional fabrics deployed in this show, he certainly knows his mills. The designer paid homage to the suppliers of materials, ranging from worsted wool to sweatshirt cotton, by printing replicas of their traditional labels and logos on some of the clothes.
A satiny navy quilted sweatshirt bore the ensign of Lovat, maker of tweeds of all gauges and hands. Another featured the red logo of Marling & Evans, purveyor of the finest English cloth.
Van Noten explained that the woven labels are traditionally sewn on the insides of his jackets and suits. “They were so beautiful, I wanted also to use them on the outside,” he said backstage after the show, which was staged in a parking lot tunnel where he last showed in 1996. “This is fashion show number 99 for us, so of course it makes us look back.”
Even without such overt tributes, those weavers and yarn producers should count themselves lucky. Van Noten used their products to optimal effect by sticking to simple shapes, many rendered in oversized volumes. The show had a rock ‘n’ roll vibe thanks to the Iggy Pop soundtrack — as well as references ranging from Mod and beyond. “Seventies, Eighties,” is how Van Noten described it, adding it was influenced by the club scene of those eras.
It was a roll call of archetypical garments — suits, duffel coats, tuxedos — rendered in a traditional palette of gray, camel, ivory, caramel and black. Yet Van Noten managed to make every look his own. Supersized double-breasted jackets were paired with cropped stovepipe pants and square-toed Chelsea boots. Ankle-length comforter coats came in traditional gray flannel or shiny technical variations, including one in safety orange.
Decorative touches came by way of superlative knitwear, which ranged from traditional Fair Isle sweaters to alpaca knits. One of these was lavishly embellished with black jet beads, in one of the designer’s rare nods to his dandyish bent.
Another standout was the outfit pairing rolled-up jeans with buffalo check panels on front and a floral-patterned silk shirt. It was equal parts pragmatic and daring.