• Text Lewis Firth
  • Photography Alex Sallé de Chou
  • 23rd January 2015

Eastern exoticism

Regular, semi-regular and irregular tessellation is an ancestral property in the world of decorative art. Islamic art being predominantly successful in its use and beautifully evident in Eastern cities. These three, along with Penrose tiling, are adopted chiefly with designers– and some more than others, such as Dries Van Noten here.

Van Noten’s collections are highly revered. Specific admiration, however, focuses on his impactive prints and rich choice of fabrics. The same with his shows: always intimate and thoughtfully planned. As yesterday’s kicked off the large venue was illuminated as the lighting rig descended above the catwalk. The Ronettes rang out and a sense of warmth streamed into the atmosphere: an instant departure from last season’s beautiful (unsettlingly so) meditations on discipline and dance. 

Eastern-inspired motifs were repeated across tees, suits and three-quarter-length coats with grosgrain ribboning striking horizontally through the latter. A sensual palette further enhanced these silhouettes: deep merlot, royal blue, shimmering gold and silvers and midnight black. 

Slashed at the thigh and layered over tapered silk trousers, tunic-style skirts were soft and sharp all at once, pushed towards a sense of the tribal. That softness further instilled via full, black satin, double-breasted suited looks and colourful, floral motifs and patterns.

Matelassé – a formation that tessellates irregularly – was used consistently and thoroughly on garments deemed unconventional for this padding technique: long coats, trousers and in the lining of tailored jackets.

There was much in this collection that felt a reminder of cornerstones of Dries Van Noten’s popularity: his unparalleled affinity for quality of reference, aligned with his physical craft. A reflection of the decorative arts in the East, acclaimed for their level of technical and aesthetic proficiency.