As soon as we entered Dries Van Noten’s space in the Grand Palais, our Instagram feed was full of images of his incredible runway. Van Noten had commissioned Alexandra Kehayoglou, a Buenos Aires-based artist, to make an incredible hand-made carpet. It had all the relief and texture of a wild herbaceous plain, replete with tufted weeds and barren earthy spots. The light was dappled, as if coming through the leaves of trees, and the models entered to birdsong and crickets.
It was so serene that we were momentarily transported into this woodland populated by the coolest of nymphs. A tour de force of color saw shades collide and layer, proving once more that Van Noten is a master colorist. The prints were as dense as the plain that carried them, often clashing within the jacquard itself, with total disregard for convention, emphasizing the individual pieces. The sexiness of the men’s spring show had trickled down to the womenswear, with bandeau tops worn under the lightest of silks, showing skin aplenty. The clothes seemed to float down the runway with a deftness and lightness that contrasted perfectly with the dense woolly carpet.
The finale was the pièce de résistance. All the models came out and lounged one by one on the carpet, forming a kind of dejeuner sur l’herbe, in reference to Manet’s famed painting of the same name — Van Noten’s latest nod to the art world since his own sprawling retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.