Dries Van Noten F/W 2015

Antwerp’s fashion leader is on fire

Talk about a brilliant closing image. The relatively unknown, though supremely handsome Egor Antonov, took everyone’s breathe away as he sauntered down the catwalk in the latest Dries Van Noten show Thursday evening.

Van Noten chose his best look – a hyper-embroidered fashion emperor great coat – and best lad for the last passage in the collection suitably staged in an RATP garage, the models marching on giant plates of steel, the speakers crying out DM Smith’s version of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby.

dries1 Dries Van Noten
Paul Boche shows Van Noten’s Inside Out approach backstage

Which was just right, seeing as the collection captured the dichotomy at the heart of Van Noten’s DNA – the encounter between Flanders Fields sobriety and masculine haute couture decoration.

Hard to think of another collection which had more fabulous coats than this one: from the Dixon of Dock Green goes to Bombay cape coats to the high-tech fireman looks with silk and high-tech silver stripes and flashy toggles, to the to-die-for finale. Talk about an instant classic.

“It’s all about what I do – deconstruction embroidery, color, protection and some help from friends in China,” smiled Antwerp Van Noten, referring to the Miao, the southern Chinese ethnic minority, and that nation’s most colorfully dressed people.

dries2 Dries Van Noten
Dries makes a fireman’s coat fashion fare

Though based in Yunnan province, visitors to Beijing can get some idea of the remarkable colors, and dexterity with needles of this special folk culture, in their stands in the Panjiayuan market. Their skills transported beautifully in this Paris event.

Van Noten was perhaps less inspired in his choice of matelassé wrap coats, dark floral shirts and one too many deconstructed kilts. But that’s a small complaint given the sheer beauty of many coats in this show. Polished couture for the global traveller.