Dries Van Noten: Menswear SS25

It was always going to be emotional. Saturday evening saw Dries Van Noten take one last bow, as he unveiled his final collection as creative director of his eponymous brand. If an event was going to draw out the elite of the luxury fashion world, it was going to be this. Designers in attendance ranged from Haider Ackermann and Pierpaolo Piccioli, to Thom Browne, Diane von Furstenberg and Dries’ fellow Antwerp Sixers Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck (there were murmurs that Martin Margiela was secretly in the room, too).

The mood was bittersweet, as the fashion pack prepared to say goodbye to one of fashion’s most brilliant colourists, whose stellar collections – chock full of vivid prints and tactile, textural flourishes – has placed him as a favourite in the fashion world for the last three decades; his cult appeal only intensifying as the years have went on.

“This is my 129th show; like the previous ones, it looks ahead. Tonight is many things, but it is not a grand finale,” wrote the designer. He took over a vast warehouse in the north of Paris. Guests drank cocktails around an enormous cube projected with clips from the designer’s most memorable catwalks, before a curtain was pulled back to unveil a giant, 74 metre catwalk lined with 70,000 shards of silver foil that broke off and waltzed through the air as the models walked. There were many familiar faces. Like opening model Alain Goussin, who walked Dries’s first men’s show in 1991, as well as Hannelore Knuts, Debra Shaw, Karen Elson and Kirsten Owens. They wore tuxedo jackets elongated into duster coats, organza smocks that snaked the body and billowing trousers that bloomed with an explosion of pastel-hued florals, crated using Japanese marbling technique suminagashi.

“Before a piece of clothing is worn, it is encoded with stories. When design comes from a personal place, every detail and decision is meaningful,” said Dries, who looked to the work of Edith Dekyndt for inspiration. The Belgian artist’s work, which changes the appearance of every materials through chemical treatments and exposures to natural elements, could be seen in the collection’s crinkly, semi-sheer outerwear in shades of red, yellow and rich purple. “Clothes that move through life with us, carrying us forward,” said Dries.

It’s a rarity to see a designer like Dries, so fiercely independent and singular in his approach, bowing out on his own terms. To a standing ovation, he took a final bow to the sounds of “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer, backdropped by a giant disco ball which commenced an after party of epic proportions. It was the ending of one glorious chapter and the beginning of another, as the brand’s new creative director is due to be unveiled in the coming months. Farewell Dries, what a spectacular journey it has been.

Photography courtesy of Dries Van Noten.


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