Dries Van Noten, buoyed by new investors, stages sunny Verner Panton show
Rarely have we seen a designer more ebullient taking a bow, as Dries Van Noten was at the finale of his latest menswear show Thursday evening, the first since he sealed a deal to sell a majority stake in his company to Puig of Spain.
“I couldn’t be happier, but don’t expect me to go away. I plan to be around for a very long time. And, it will be great to have a little help,” said Van Noten, after presenting a jaunty collection whose central thread was a collaboration with the great Danish graphic artist and furniture designer Verner Panton, a legendary design star of the 60s.
“We wanted optimism, and there are few eras more optimistic than the 60s,” laughed Dries backstage after a show staged in a disused engineering college. An ideal location for Van Noten who has a weakness for a tatty setting.
The result was a fine collection, though not an epic one. Panton’s psychedelic circular patterns, cubic designs and cylindrical, undulating shapes appeared in most looks; micro thin nylon parkas; dashing silk pajamas; chunky cotton cargo pants; floppy trenches and big wacky blousons. Panton’s influence in fashion has existed for decades, though this was a pure collaboration where the family granted rare permission to adapt the colorways of the Danish legend. Dispatch bags in the same hues rounded out the runway, along with some great clunky sneakers that will be big hits.
“Why did we buy Dries? Because we want to collect more brands. And because he has an especially creative mind. Plus, he’s a very good businessman. When you consider he built a significant business from scratch, without any financial backing, that’s really very impressive,” said Marc Puig, chairman of Puig. Their stable of brands include Carolina Herrera, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne.
Puig declined to reveal any precise figure for the acquisition of the Van Noten house, which is believed to have annual revenues of some 80 million euros.
Last year the Puig family-owned business scored 9% growth in annual revenues to break through the 1.9 billion euro ceiling. Net profit was a very robust 225 million euros. No wonder they can afford to invest in Dries.
“We are just in the door, so we can't really say what exactly we will do. We are here to support Dries and we believe there is enormous potential with this house,” the executive concluded.
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