Never one to shy away from gilded luxury, Dries Van Noten took his men’s game to a whole new level. We entered the grand Opéra Garnier through an austere wooden staircase to find ourselves in what looked like a rehearsal room filled with props and columns of the current Strauss opera, Capriccio. It was only when the lights came on and the curtain lifted that we realized where we were sitting on the stage. The other side opened up to reveal the resplendent Foyer de la Danse, celebrated by the likes of Manet and Degas. It was the most spine-tingling moment of the season.
Calling his men Peacock Peaceniks, Van Noten collaborated with Wes Wilson, the American artist of the infamous psychedelic melting text synonymous with the peace movement of the 1960s. Meanwhile, the clothing was almost resolutely military-inspired, whether in the form of the garment or the twisted application of grosgrain ribboning and bullion-embroidered badging. It was in the re-appropriation of these utilitarian menswear classics and the adornment of officers that he spelled out his anti-war message so defiantly. The psychedelic prints were used to great effect in leggings and shirting in subtle black print on khaki — a new peace-camo for his army of lovers.
With the attacks in Paris still lingering and with violence occurring every day around the world, Van Noten’s call for peace was heart-felt. We sat on the opera stage questioning global stability through the medium of a fashion show. It’s no small feat to make such an elegant political statement without coming across as contrived.
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