Art & Artifice at Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten held his men’s show in the same brutalist space that hosted his stellar collaborative collection with Christian Lacroix last season, behind the Opera Bastille. A non-stage waiting to happen, left unfinished since construction, replete with concrete balconies and plasterboard walls. This season, we were defiantly in the world of the theatrical. 

The shoes were a continuation of the women’s collection: platform heels, glam, gender-bending. These re-appropriations of women’s codes, in both fabrics and forms (particularly in the silk boxer shorts and devoré shirting), were just that: re-appropriations. His was the red-blooded male that took things out of his girlfriend’s closet and wore them with nonchalance. The boy that wasn’t afraid to make an entrance, who walked to the three-chord structures of the New York Dolls and The Stooges.

Dries Van Noten talked backstage of the importance of artifice and theatricality, pointing out that all of the fox furs, jewels, and snakeskins were fake. The entire look was built on impression and impressing. This was an in exercise in dressing up, continuing the pattern and color clashing of the Spring 2019 collection, a tour-de-force in layering and glamour. 

A raw sexuality has been unleashed in camp Van Noten, with couture-like flourishes in fabrication that could only be him. The show played out to the sound of Suicide, underground heroes, and pioneers of the U.S. punk scene, though this collection is destined to break through to the mainstream. We can’t wait to see the men wearing all of this on the street.