Dries Van Noten didn’t have to build a set or go location scouting for his men’s fall 2021 collection film: He just set up a camera at the monumental back door of his warehouse building, opened it and let his models walk into the frame, down a few steps and back.
It was shot over three days and at various times, offering a different sky-blue backdrop for each model, occasionally dotted with clouds, or gulls and swallows swooping around. A Thierry De Mey and Peter Vermeersch track propelled the nine-minute ritual.
What stepped through the doorway was familiar-ish. Van Noten had decided to take cherished wardrobe items and revisit them in terms of shape, volume, technique and texture.
“It’s not a loud collection. It’s a pity you can’t see it in real. It’s a very tactile collection,” he said, describing coats made of shirt-weight woolens with light padding, for example. “It was more exciting for us to work on shapes and construction rather than loud prints, as much as I love color and prints.”
You might call it voluptuous minimalism: Blue shirts extended almost to the length of djellabas, cardigans and sweatshirts widened and were slit on the sides, and pants came full and puddling. Some styles overwhelmed the young models and seemed ungainly. But you couldn’t help think: These are the kind of men’s clothes women pining for #oldceline might want to borrow — or steal.
Van Noten explained that he doesn’t design in silhouettes, but rather by individual garment, and each one must have a value. This garment-focused approach to fashion is quite deeply ingrained in Belgian designers.
His press notes describe the fall collection as “a study of sensation and the reassurance a garment may offer.”
And so what does Van Noten find reassuring? “I always have my navy cashmere sweaters — and my scarves,” he said, caressing the one wound around his throat.