A life with Dries Van Noten: Fall 2010

While the Spring 2011 shows are going on in Milan (or is it Paris already?), let us step back a little to the previous collections. I know I haven't been able to keep up since Spring 2010, but I still kept my tabs on what I found remarkable, like the Fall 2010 collection of Dries Van Noten.

Dries Van Noten 01

Now one may argue that it was Raf Simons' Fall 2009 show, with its knit and neoprene shrugs and its play with varying colors and fabrics for sleeves that influenced Dries Van Noten's stripes/plaid, plain/houndstooth, wool/cotton, white/navy, navy/beige combinations. Yet that doesn't fully explain the impact of the Belgian designer's Fall 2010 collection.

Just look at these two shirts. The one on the right has brilliantly combined a possibly boring (but of course, this is Dries Van Noten, and even the placing of the pattern on the placket and collar is well thought out) checkered pattern with a baseball tee, while the shirt on the left combines fine plaid with thick stripes from another era.

Dries Van Noten 02

You may notice that colors and patterns are interchanged — what was on a shirt or jacket gets transferred to sleeves, a scarf, a tie, and trousers, making the collection cohesive by exhausting a theme. (Just how soft is the fabric for these moss green trousers? Just look at the contrast with the quilted puffer.)

Dries Van Noten 03

The thing is with this collection — I don't know how Dries Van Noten does it — is that bold strips and contrast-piping jackets do not at all feel too strong or out of place.

Look closely and you'll see that the red-striped jacket is actually a vest. The long-sleeved tees become key.

Dries Van Noten 04

And how about the sleeveless trench? Or the cardigan with a white sliver or a crack at the shoulders.

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How can one not be convinced that the simplest (deceptively so) can actually become the most sophisticated?

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Even the brave contrast of blue and red is easily usurped another striped pattern, together with gray.

Dries Van Noten 07

A peak into the red-collared, similarly sleeveless puffer. Perfect styling: a gray baseball tee with striped sleeved over an immaculate white shirt, with the two collars coinciding.

Dries Van Noten 08

One day, I would like to wear blue in this tint, in semi-shiny fabric and in bold stripes. Just with a plain black shirt, the look is a notch above casual, dressy but not uncomfortably so. (Of course the fabric of the shirt has something to do with it.)

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Here comes the real vest (not sleeveless jackets).

Dries Van Noten 10

Excellent trousers, in this case cropped and with a belt of the same fabric, are more than enough to make a baseball tee look extraordinary.

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The trench is tied to look like a Rorschach test. The very finely zippered vest makes a reappearance. Doesn't it look like a male, watered down bustier?

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The lining of these jackets peel out to become the collars, with piping like the skin of fruit. I like the boxy cut of the jacket on Cole.

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Reminds me of Raf Simons, but is actually far from it. At second glance they look military, but then again, it must be the dignity the belts add to them.

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This is often the case with Dries Van Noten: what is remarkable is not so for being flashy, or new, out abruptly ingenious. Dries Van Noten produces clothes that accompany you, make you feel good but at the same time are instantly ready to be discarded, as should all kinds of objects, no matter how beautiful or functional. Beautiful because they are transcient.

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Understated jackets with pleated pants.

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I like the buckle concept of the bags.

Dries Van Noten 17

This time the lining of the trench pops out at the collar. The jacket on the right looks like crepe: fine and frail, but protects you from the weather.

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Pocket square like sea anemone.

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Collar pattern like the luminescent spots on ocean floor creatures.

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All the real wars have been fought, now fatigue is just that: tiring. Unless you mix it with other fabrics!

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Dries Van Noten 22

Hello, long lost double zipper.

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I love the insignia, which looks like lace, or a fine tattoo. Perfect complement (brooch replacement) for the fuzzily-striped blazer.

Dries Van Noten 24

The little things make me giddy: how the insignia changes shape and color and plays hide-and-seek. (Do you see the skinnier than skinny, ribbon belts?)

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Here's looking at it.

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Now it's time to make a mad dash to Spring 2011! (But of course I will be back!)