It seems baffling that Dries Van Noten is celebrating his 100th show. He consistently evolves his unique vision every season, to the point where the past lives symbiotically with the present, and we are lost in the dizzying mélange. His references take on a plethora of past present, pop and future, which was evident in his Inspirations retrospective at Les Arts Decoratifs museum in 2014. But this time, the inspirations were all him.
Each guest at the show had a numbered hand-bound book on their seat featuring his favorite prints from the archives, starting in 1994 and taking us all the way to the present day. For some, looking backwards for an anniversary could produce a collection full of déjà vu, but Van Noten is not like the rest. The opening look set the tone with Kristina de Coninck in a hybrid print men’s style oversize overcoat with white shirt and relaxed washed blue jeans.
Kristina walked in his first womenswear show, and this full circle was the perfect opener. The casting was an homage to the women who have walked us all the way to this centennial moment, with many of the greats of the oughts coming out of retirement. With little to no make up, and natural hair, the effect was spellbinding: an ageless line-up for the age-defying maestro.
This simple move, mixing the Dries women together with ages ranging from their twenties to their fifties, showed us not only the timelessness of his vision, but was also a real testament to the customer. Age certainly doesn’t impact on his or her vision or ability to reinvent and surprise. The designer walked out at the end to a well-deserved standing ovation, with a room full of love for this magical moment.