Dries Van Noten says it with roses
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, meaning one can always forgive an individual’s background. Though in Dries Van Noten’s aesthetics the beauty of a rose is in the very power of its delicacy. Which was very much the case in his latest show, a large collection of rose print clothes presented inside the dark depths of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
His timing was perfect, an unusually balmy Wednesday in February; 18 degrees Celsius outside, and a summer mood in the air at Paris Fashion Week.
Some 50 varieties of plant: Salvia; three varieties of Delphinium; Acer Palmatum; Kniphofia Rooperi and three varieties of dahlia were used to make up the prints; many of them – imperfections and all – photographed in Dries' famous garden outside of his native town of Antwerp.
The Belgian designer will forever be linked with prints, though few have been more lovingly prepared than in this fall/winter collection, staged to the great Rebekah del Rio’s version of "Crying" from Mulholland Drive.
However, he started off with a half dozen impeccably cut dark chalk-stripe pantsuits and coats, finished with matching padded wool scarves. Before gradually switching gear, and injecting swathes of floral prints. Seen hyper-sized in imperial purple silk tunics; scattered across laminated lilac trench-coats; sprouting erratically from sherbet lemon silk tuxedos; and looking very special on a fine A-line lime silk coat.
Dressed in contrasting hued knee boots; post-modern shades and neon faux fur stoles – one cut like a bursting blossom, it was all very arty; and effortlessly classy.
It earned Dries a huge burst of applause, which he took dressed in chinos, a blue jersey and his backstage pass.
Unlike pretty well every other designer on the planet, who answers questions put them post-show, Dries nowadays sends out program notes to various editors as the final model exits the catwalk.
This season, his program began by quoting Gertrude Stein’s poem, "Sacred Emily", and its oft quoted line: “A rose is a rose is a rose.” Meaning things are really what they seem. Which seemed right for this collection, even if other folks perhaps might prefer Brendan Behan’s couplet on Stein, and her partner Alice B. Toklas.
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