Add Dries Van Noten to the ranks of designers dialing back the sportswear this season. The show notes for his fall collection promised “a view on tailoring for the next generation” and “a step back from nonchalance and sportswear.”
It opened with a sequence of sartorial staples: a white shirt and tie, a pin-striped suit and a charcoal wool coat. Van Noten soon introduced a note of visual disruption, in the shape of tie-dye patterns that bloomed across sweaters, jeans and suits.
They were most striking in psychedelic bursts on silky reversible raincoats. Seemingly random, the patterns were in fact engineered to be “hyper optic and exactingly symmetric.” Together with a graphic carpet motif, they added a dash of Sixties bohemia to a display otherwise focused on subtle ways for a man to draw attention.
Those included a striking new suit shape, which paired a short jacket, with crisp shoulders and a high and narrow waist, with wide pleated pants. Also intriguing: the asymmetric quilted jackets that wrapped around the body like down comforters, and wool blankets that were wrapped around the waist like skirts.
The takeaway message: Being smart doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Underlying it all was a suggestion that men need to expand their consciousness — though a pair of brown rubber fly-fishing waders was perhaps an acid trip too far.
As models circled the lugubrious Bercy arena, speakers broadcast extracts of interviews with style icons such as David Bowie, Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent — all lessons on how to march to the beat of your own drummer.