Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear
March 1, 2017
Today marked Dries Van Noten’s 100th runway show, and on every editor’s seat was a personalized booklet filled with archive prints. Each vibrant pattern was numbered, and the season it appeared was noted.
It was a beautiful keepsake, but it served a purpose: This season, Van Noten celebrated his milestone show without getting too nostalgic. Instead, he dove into the future with the help of the past, utilizing those archive prints, but printing or embroidering over them to create something completely new.
Another nod to the past? The Belgian designer’s standout cast, filled with all his favorite models from the past three decades, including veterans like Amber Valletta, Malgosia Bela, Kirsten Owen, Alek Wek, Sasha Pivovarova, Nadja Auermann, Caroline de Maigret, and Kim Noorda, as well as current stars, like Hanne Gaby Odiele, Julia Nobis, Mica Arganaraz, Jamie Bochert, and Marjan Jonkman.
But that’s where the nostalgia ended. This season, Van Noten forged ahead, producing a soft, easy, somewhat comforting collection that highlighted all forms of femininity.
Oversized, sometimes boxy silhouettes, particularly in overcoats, suits, pullovers, and jackets, lent an ease to this collection, as did the pared-down leather boots and cuffed denim trousers—a rarity on a Van Noten runway.
There was an effortless sexuality here, too. Perhaps it had something to do with how the carefree silhouettes fell on the models’ bodies. A white spaghetti-strap silk camisole layered over a white blouse also projected a certain seductive vibe.
The prints, however, were the undeniable stars of this show, and the fusion of so many of Van Noten’s graphic confections (the prints are made in house, by the way) was a symphony of pattern and color. It was somewhat like looking at one of those Magic Eye posters, in which the abstract rendering is so mesmerizing, you don’t really want to see the image beneath.
The fabrics, from the velvets to the thick, metallic textiles to the fluttering silks, had a lightness to them. The garments seemed to kiss the body, and move with it as the model walked.
The finale was incredibly powerful—to a rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” each model lined up at the back of the vast space, which was lined with mirrors, thus creating an infinite group of women of all ages. They then walked as a group down the runway to form another line at the other end.
It was a poetic, timeless, and moving statement, just like so many of Van Noten’s collections. A beautiful way to celebrate not just his one hundred-show milestone, but the many different types of women who have allowed him to reach this point. Naturally, he received a much-deserved standing ovation.