Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten has a knack for choosing epic venues. Last June, during the spring shows, he took over a stretch of dirt beneath a dock on the Seine, where pedestrians and afternoon joggers could rubberneck freely as they went about their mid-summer jaunts. Tonight, he commandeered the Musee Bourdelle. The catwalk ran through a sculpture gallery featuring the enormous works of Antoine Bourdelle, an assistant of Rodin’s who left behind a few sizable pieces.

Van Noten has another talent, the art of juxtaposition. For fall, it started off simply, with a single white lapel turned against a black trench. Next came a peacoat bearing a fur lapel (a ubiquitous trend this season), then another white lapel, folded over a navy double-breasted blazer.

Color play was just the starter. The entree came in the form of extreme proportion, namely big coats with skinny trousers and voluminous pants with tailored jackets. This was followed by the classic high/low scenario, blending the man who wears fashion with his counterpart who wears clothes: a camel blazer paired with acid-washed, zip-legged jeans and a fur-trimmed vest worn with cargo pants. A great idea is only as good as its rendering, and the success of this collection was that, all themes and venues aside, the individual pieces were incredibly good-looking on their own.

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