October 2, 2011

Dries, Dries, Dries

What better way for the Paris shows to commence than with a show which was strongly influenced by mid century couture. Dries Van Noten was particularly intent on exploring the architectural shapes of Spanish and Italian couture during the fifties and sixties. The phenomenal Balenciaga exhibit (I know I can't stop talking about it) at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute instantly came to mind from the opening look. I was hoping someone would use the Balenciaga exhibit as a starting point for their Spring/Summer 2012 collection. When prompted on drawing inspiration from couture, Dries Van Noten mentioned that "it's always about elegance and beauty." It's refreshing to see a collection that's academic and intellectual. One can only imagine the library research that went into this collection. Have I told you all how much I LOVE libraries?

The Balenciaga exhibit is an interesting starting point. The collections haven't offered sweeping changes or a new silhouette, which is fitting given our troubled global economy. The couture influence speaks to the larger questions of what luxury means today. The silhouettes are undeniably couture shapes, but in fabrics typically reserved for ready-to-wear. Imagine my excitement when I saw jackets that are fitted at the front with more drape and volume at the back. The peplums, size of the sleeves, slim trousers, inlaid shoulders, lace, and jackets that skim the wrist are all fifties Balenciaga references. Not to mention the Spanish embroidery on the toreador jackets- pure craftsmanship and workmanship. 

We all know Van Noten can do prints, but it's inspiring to see a designer who isn't afraid to challenge himself. The technical precision; cutting, draping and attention to line demonstrate that Van Noten is a true couturier. These shapes are complicated and sophisticated which requires precise tailoring. Juxtapositions are key aspects of Van Noten's work and the prints digress from the high fashion silhouettes. The prints don't feel as sophisticated or as high fashion to me as they have been in previous seasons. I have a lot of respect for the collaborative process that went into these prints, but personally I prefer a stylized and perhaps more "high fashion" print. 

A lot of designers have been flirting with ladylike style, elegance and refinement, but Dries Van Noten managed to do it in a wearable way that doesn't look kitsch. This collection is chic and grown up, which I always welcome. Can you guess which items I have my eye on?

You can view the complete collection here

PS- I love the last minute decision to do simple pulled back hair and natural makeup. Clothes this pretty don't need overly stylized hair and makeup. 

Credit- Image 5- The New York Times. All other images are from Vogue.com.


  1. Gorgeous. I found your comments on his technical brilliance particularly interesting - I own one item by Dries van Noten, and it's a pair of grey high-waisted wide-leg trousers. Just so beautifully cut and easy to wear. People are always surprised to hear that the trousers are designed by him because of his association with prints. I applaud his versatility and this recent collection is brilliant. I particularly love the fuchsia jacket, the cut is brilliant. I am imagining how good it would look with my trousers ;)

    The other collections that have caught my eye are by Carven and Haider Ackermann. Beautifully-cut, I particularly love the heavy silk trousers in Ackermann's collection. What a refreshing way to do evening wear!

  2. Ammu- I've always admired his tchnical skills, but I think his prints outshadowed his cutting and draping skills. I love how sculptural this collection is. Every once in a while I come accross a collection that I know instantly fits in with my wardrobe- this is it. Your trousers sound wonderful- Dries does that silhouette so well. That fushsia jacket is great. I have a few jackets that are cut like this and I find it so pretty. I love the pops of color throughout this collection.

    Ah... Always love Carven. So many lovely items with a touch of whimsy thrown in.

    Haider Ackermann made me think about evening wear. The silk trousers- so many pretty hues to choose from.

  3. These are gorgeous. I love the pattern and texture of the bottom look the best.

    Also, to answer your question, I do have my French ABC print available in my shop:


    Have a great week, Lindsay! :)

  4. Coco Draws- So gorgeous. I love the texture and pattern in the last image too. I tend to play with texture more during the fall and winter, so it's interesting to think about it for Spring.

    I love your prints, now I just have to decide which ones to order:) Thank you for sending me the link.

    Have a lovely week.

  5. This is an excellent review! I think this is one of my favorite posts from you! Hope to see more!

    I absolutely loved the Balenciaga exhibit. I even think I preferred it to the Alexander McQueen exhibit. *GASP*

  6. the line sheet- Thank you! The pressure was really on after my posting on fashion criticism. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed my review. I have had such a trying couple of days... So that really makes my day.

    I loved the Balenciaga exhibit too. I was completely enchanted both times I saw it. I also felt it was so intimate and well edited. It felt very personal in the way the McQueen did not.

  7. Beautiful - I love the shoes too, I think DVN did an incredible job this year - your review was spot on.

  8. Katherine-Thank you. Those shoes!!! This is one of those collections that I can't wait to see in stores. The Dries Van Noten store in Paris is one of my all time favorite stores.

  9. Thank you for the perfect review!
    I love that Paris Fashion Week starts with my favorite designer's show. And as always it was perfect in my book. I loved prints. I loved embroidery.
    I couldn't agree more about the technical side of his designs. I own a pair of slouchy pants designed by him, sometimes that kind of pants look untidy but mine looks just drapy and even structured. Besides they're in the most perfect shade of blue.

  10. Ginta- That means so much coming from you. I think we see fashion reviews the similarly. The Dries show was such start to Paris Fashion Week. I like that the schedule starts with some big shows. In New York, you wait for days before an influential show appears on the schedule. There is so much to love about this show.

    I would love to see a picture of your trousers. I think Dries does the slouchy pant best. The pants always looks neat and just seems to glide over the body. I have been happy with my DVN purchases.