Fashion
  • Text Tempe Nakiska
  • Photography Alexandre Sallé de Chou
  • 24th June 2016

arts and crafts

Making beautiful clothes comes as naturally as breathing for Dries Van Noten. The Belgian designer is adept at weaving art-driven references with textiles in a way that continues to prove him one of the most inimitable designers of his generation.

SS17 was no exception. Stepping away from the opulent luxury of FW16, Van Noten explored the idea of arts and crafts in a line up accented with the human touch. His signature relaxed silhouettes and technical feats of construction (and deconstruction) were fringed, chopped, changed and made patchwork, everything tactile, relatable. A series of looks that blended jungle-scene prints with renaissance angels and invigorated camo were particularly spectacular. Baggy printed shorts, boxily cut suit jackets, knitted singlet-tops woven in blue and green and gold, threads unravelling here and there – with the perfect amount of restraint to prevent any impression of mess.

Not everything was cut and paste (it wouldn’t be a Dries collection without elements of the lush). In silver, an art-smock style tunic felt luxe. Metallic threads wedged their way through the grain of knits like sunlight through crack in a grey cloud. The whole thing felt incredibly rich but not overly so, when balanced by the sports-influenced, generous silhouettes that often define Van Noten’s output.

As the designer made his end of show appearance, the room darkened and the towering wall of vintage lamps that had made up an unlit backdrop for the past few minutes ignited behind him. Hundreds of them, like an imperfect, illuminated nod to just how many references inform the superb output of someone like Dries Van Noten. Or any designer, any artist, any person… young or old. As the news that the UK is leaving the EU breaks over the world this morning, it also throws into light the importance of a cross-pollination of culture – for creativity, for art, for unity’s sake.