The anticipation before a Dries Van Noten men’s show is becoming legendary, as he consistently surprises and reinvents his man every season. Spring was an exercise in sexuality and romanticism, while this season he explored men’s quintessential dress codes. Backstage he described the collection as “a lot of pieces that I really feel for” and it was exactly that, the Dries Van Noten wardrobe, reimagined and carefully updated.
The codes were mixed, often within the same garment — clearly Dries refuses to be pinned down. Ethnic met punk, military collided with evening, and our understanding of the individual associative elements was turned upside down and, literally, inside out. Classic men’s overcoats were reversed, exposing color-blocked interiors and Batik prints, fastened with Asian ribbon ties to create entirely new mutated forms. Punk was unexpectedly soft, with the kilt in silk, and plaids decorated with delicate metal discs informed by the Miao people of China, creating an all new way of looking at studding. Western men’s workwear was explored throughout the collection with high-vis striping across several pieces, often replaced with grosgrain silks, and a standout Batik version of a fireman’s protective duffle coat.
The soundtrack for the show was a cover of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby by DM Stith, which Van Noten used because he wanted a love song, but in its stillness and the closeness of the guitarist’s fingers sliding across the strings, it became so much more personal. With his beautiful, ingenious handling of menswear’s sartorial standards, we watched a very personal declaration of love for the male wardrobe made physical.