Dries Van Noten is a name respected by fashion connoisseurs and one of the rare living designers to be honoured by an exhibit. A very particular exhibit at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris, since it’s not just a retrospective of his designs. He chose to introduce the visitor to his designs by exposing them to clothes from other designers who inspired him like a 70s style outfit by Thierry Mugler, a golden tweed Chanel suit… He also introduces the visitor to scenes from a Visconti movie, classic art pieces from artists like Francis Bacon that influenced the collection but also popular art, musical references, or gypsy fabrics. We understand quickly that the designer works with associations that are sometimes unexpected. It’s as if we were able to get into the head of this designer that is both independent and pretty astonishing.
I saw him as a traveling spirit before visiting the exhibit and now I see him as a humanist, he examines his surroundings and what’s going on in the world from such a relevant point of view and you can feel it in his designs.
He’s excessive but reasonable. He always choses sumptuous fabrics, very bright colours, but without falling into the folkloric misstep of the one who judges others but comes from somewhere else. And we see it in the exhibit devoted to him. It’s as if he had taken the tapestries and curtains off the walls of an oriental or Indian living room he visited, to make thick overcoats and colourful dresses decorated with the psychedelic butterflies that inspired the famous “butterflies” painting by Damien Hirst. But the attitude remains and it’s never really about the ornament, the decoration, but more about the piece of clothing. Dries Van Noten’s etiquette and obsession with rich fabrics…
We love the decadent golds, the elaborate pleats and the distinctive prints. This mastered opulence is also highlighted through the museum with scenes of Indian embroiderers that have been working on Dries VAn Noten collections since 1987.Dries Van Noten : Inspirations From March 1 to August 31 2014 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris.