The salon in the Hotel de Ville was gilded to the hilt, in quintessential Dries Van Noten style, with gold chandeliers and 19th-century mural ceilings. It was the ideal setting for the designer’s celebration of iconic women, and what the show notes called “grounded glamour.”
Backstage he spoke of addressing the women he admired who wore whatever they wanted, without compromise — and the outfits themselves clearly conveyed this sort of utilitarian luxury. The models walked strode out to a soundtrack of a cappella female vocals, opening with the achingly cool Elizabeth Fraser, followed by Bjork, Rihanna, Courtney Love, Debbie Harry, and Kate Bush, among many more.
The effortless mixing and matching, with little respect for the rules of fabrication, has become a signature of Van Noten’s. Chinese embroidery sat alongside couture feather flourishes, rich brocades brushed shoulders with iridescent sequins, and batiks hobnobbed with Bloomsbury prints in chunky velvet heels. The Dries Van Noten woman is certainly a fascinating creature, even in her chinos, khaki trench coat, or bomber jacket.