Dries Van Noten S/S 2017

A mosaic of ideas, fabrics and cuts at Dries Van Noten

The Belgian designer unveiled a truly great collection of Flanders-finessed, path-breaking menswear.

Dries’ big idea for spring 2017 was using late Renaissance tapestries from his native Lowlands in a whole gamut of clothes. From matelassé bomber jackets or baggy military shorts to deconstructed blousons or elongated trench coats, Van Noten wove in the images from tapestries from his own private collection into this memorable show.

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Beautiful mosaic work at Dries Van Noten SS 17

The designer began the proceedings in a boxing auditorium below Bercy Stadium, with mono-color linen cabans and a series of superlatively cut men’s suits – made with wide-leg pants with roll-ups and big-lapel jackets. What were once called De-Mob suits in the UK for the style preferred by de-conscripted soldiers after World War II.

Next, Van Noten mingled in his draperies – wonderful images of huge leaves, aristocratic gents and nobles in helmets or bucolic paysages. Some overstitched, many cut up into patchwork fabrics used in multi-pocket parkas. Again with a military theme, as Van Noten managed to incorporate street and regimental into single looks, even garments.

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Military print combined with tapestry motifs

“Kelmscott Manor”, explained Dries, referring to the home of William Morris, the Victorian English writer, textile designer and socialist activist. On a day when the UK would vote to turn its back on Europe, it was ironic to see the influence of Morris, who delved into foreign cultures throughout his creative career.

Staged with edgy authority before a fantastic backdrop of battered French car headlights. Those old faded yellow ones, by which one could always spot a car made in France 20 years ago. A clever reinvention and recycling of an antique idea, as indeed was this great collection by the most fertile mind showing in the Paris men’s season.

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Baby blue coat with a patch-work look