“Bronzino and rave,” said a visibly relieved Dries Van Noten after his powerhouse show to explain the starting point for his fall/winter 2014 collection. “It was street style, ethnic, punk, new wave, new romantics, hippies, R&B, all these things but mixed with some Renascences,” he added with a rush.
With so many points of inspiration translating to fabric treatments as varied as tie-dye, over dyed, fabric patchworks and acid wash, the designer ran a real risk of being overpowered by all of the distinctive elements crashing up against each other on the clothing. But in a crystal clear presentation of his prowess as a designer Van Noten was able to blend all those sartorial ingredients into a show that was dynamic, and envelope pushing while still maintaining his brand’s fundamental artisanal codes.
The designer’s astute decision to inject romantic Renascence aspects into to a collection grounded in sportswear was what gave this show its contemporary twist. The high ruffled collars, pearl embellishments and the fur stoles helped to soften and give the colorful ensembles a more approachable allure.
And lets talk about the colors. Already this season, the use of unexpected shades has shown up on a few key catwalks. But nobody has come close to the high octane level that Van Noten offered up to menswear. He sent his male models around the circular catwalk in four color groups of pink, blue, yellow and green. An aspect of this collection that he underlined in the finale by sending the models out again in packs. Stalking down the runway in their chosen “gang colors,” brisling with hostel attitude and ready to rumble.
Van Noten has been in the throws of reflection recently. He is currently combing through his archives in preparation for his up coming retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs that opens in Paris in March. And he admits that the question was raised whether or not he should do a collection related in some way to the exhibition. But finally it was the thrill of the future and not nostalgia for the past that won out.
And the fashion world is all the better for it.