Dries Van Noten: Menswear AW23

Staged in the shadowy gloom of an above ground car park, Dries Van Noten’s AW23 show unfolded like an illegal rave with the experimental sounds of Lander and Adriaan reverberating through the air. The collection paid homage to the richness of the natural environment, our indelible connection to it and to each other, studying its surreal strangeness and indelible beauty. At the same time, the freedom and uninhibited self-expression of rave culture was a central theme, sartorially interpreted in the ribbons that flowed from cargo pants, the strappy, multi-pocketed outerwear, spellbinding psychedelic patterns and bulbous padded, puffer jackets. Through washed-out linen pants, swirly prints, and layerings upon layer of lacy-knits and hung sweatshirts, it crossed over into a bout of subversive teen anger.

Dynamic new tailoring emerged in earthy hues too, with wide-shouldered jackets and narrow waists, sharp and high-waisted flowy trousers and greatcoats that featured draped shoulders and soft-fit raglan sleeves. Noten’s decision to manipulate raw materials such as jute and alpaca was born from the informative contents of a book about the groundbreaking work of German naturalist, geologist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt whose visionary explorations of nature in the 19th century rocked the world. Other textiles appeared to be weathered by the elements; think washed silks, overdyed fabrics and fine textured knitwear that evoked the fragility of lace. On jackets and shirts, meticulous screen-printed abstract patterns and vivid renderings of flora and fauna motifs – unfurling tiger lilies, coiling snakes and airborne eagles – were inspired by the brilliant drawings that lay within the library of Meise Botanic Garden in Belgium. Romantic and daring, it was a wild nature rave framed and fashioned by Dries.

Photography courtesy of Dries Van Noten.


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