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Dries Van Noten bids us farewell.

Dries Van Noten Spring 2024 RTW
Dries Van Noten Spring 2024 RTW

I was saddened to hear about Dries Van Noten's recent announcement that he will retired from his namesake label, with his last collection being Menswear Spring/Summer 2025. I always admired how he was inadvertently anti-trend. He conceptualized and designed collections to tell stories--just as a poet would. His runway looks were filled with unapologetic seams, structures, and color palettes. He asked for zero permission from the fashion media. He created, then gave his body of work as an offering for the world to enjoy it.

Dries Van Noten was part of the Antwerp Six, a group of six designers who trained under Linda Loppa at the Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1980. The other five designers were Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, and Marina Yee. Much to everyone's surprise many of the lot went on to become respected fashion houses.

In 2017, he celebrated his 100th runway show by including looks from his past collections and selecting models over the age of 30 (almost all of them were over 30!). It's remarkable that till this day we're still calling it monumental when designers, like Balmain, use models over 30.

I was about to go on and describe what Dries Van Noten's design signature is and then saw he discusses this right in his biography on his site:

I see a garment as a singular item of excellence that is part of a larger story told, firstly, within a designer’s vision for a collection and ultimately as part of the final wearer’s expression of their style through their wardrobe. My joy is to create a garment that fuses and balances beauty, craft and function, a garment that can perform well and continue in time to become part of life’s story. I enjoy juggling with colours, textures and light in a way that evokes rather than provokes.

Here are some of my favorite looks from his penultimate women's collection-- Dires Van Noten SPRING 2024 READY-TO-WEAR: