Dries Van Noten Spring Summer 2014 (Grazia_live instagram)
Dries Van Noten is not a designer enamoured with stark simplicity or minimalism. Instead his cultured and technically accomplished eclecticism provides a wardrobe for refined women with exceedingly good taste.
The show opened with bass guitar chords reverberating around the massive warehouse space courtesy of Radiohead's Colin Green. Also unusual was the production of the show, with models traversing the catwalk and then instead of disappering, standing to attention on the far wall, allowing us to continue to marvel at Van Noten's wares.
These looks offered a typical melange of raw, ethnic inspired pieces, exquisite Asian influenced fabrics, python prints and embellished florals. As the master of poetic layering and artful juxtaposition, Van Noten pushed his patchwork further with sculptural silhouettes and couture level fabrication.This meant layered linen wide-cut trousers and Bermudas paired with hand-beaded T-shirts and camisoles in chiffon, finished off with linen and cotton sleeveless tuxedo jackets. Or swinging cropped trousers matched with tassel laden tops crafted from what looked liked a woven Mexican rug.
Accordion pleated gilded faux leather and sturdy damask was then ruffled and appliqued to short sleeved tops and dresses in wool, bringing the exquisite to the humble. Inspired by the designer and choreographer Fong Leng, the corrugated flounces went on to envelop the models' bodies in the show's final looks. One dress was covered in over 16 metres of crimpled, ruffled silk - a guranteed headturner.
Another piece which will ensure the wearer receives the rubberneck treatment was a kimono style coat crafted from heavy tulip motif silk, reproduced from the archives of Les Arts Decoratifs museum in Paris. Worn inside out, the silk threads looked almost like a painterly sunset. With an exhibition of his work at that museum slated for February, Van Noten is set to further confirm himself as one of fashion's most culturally invested designers with one foot in the archives and the other at the cutting edge.