A graphic gilded zigzagging wall greeted the guests of the Dries Van Noten spring/summer 2014 show. It’s golden light the perfect backdrop to the sounds of a single bass guitar being strummed by Radiohead’s bassist Colin Greenwood. It also, not incidentally, made for a post show Instagram photo op when all the models remained standing in front of it for the finale.
But that is what this collection was all about, dramatically beautiful clothing that always seems to find a way to never shout, but rather murmur their references. Folding them into the designer’s unique aesthetic in a manner that makes each show clearly from the same family tree but never the same branch.
This time Van Noten’s renowned beadwork, embroidery and floral prints came down the catwalk on outfits that explored volume, primarily via ruffles that crawled up and over the hips of a slim tank dress, whorled out from the center of a simple gray sweater or sprouted in pleated shelves of fabric; looking as if they were some sort of organic evolution of a dress.
There was a real dance between light and dark to this collection. And not just in the color pallet. For every stiff gold leather vest there was a top cut from black velvet with flowing poet sleeves. A casual creamy white ensemble of shorts, crinkled vest and open knit top would be followed by a dramatic and dark tasseled Peruvian inspired sweater worn with a murky brown short jacket. Romantic tulips bloomed from silk dressing gowns, while a ruffled shouldered dress was cut from a barbwire print.
In this dichotomy of ideas the designer created a union that felt authentic and was more than alluring.