Dries Van Noten got here into the pandemic weapons blazing, making a daring name final spring for the style system to totally rewire itself. Greater than a 12 months later, it appears, he’s taking issues extra second by second. Talking after exhibiting his Spring 2022 assortment, I requested what he feels has modified for him over the previous 12 months. He mentioned everybody gained a brand new appreciation of intimacy: “We found how valuable it may be to see only one individual.”
And it’s true that every thing has gotten extra personable—designers from Jonathan Anderson to Thom Browne have been feeling that, too, and the thought animated Van Noten’s Spring 2022 assortment. “It’s the primary assortment the place you actually really feel [that] the start line was being in lockdown,” he mentioned. “Once I began to speak to my artistic staff concerning the assortment, the phrase we have been all the time utilizing was ‘outburst’—outburst of pleasure and enjoyable.”
That outburst had an unusually sensible supply: his design staff submitted their very own iPhone images of Antwerp, “so that you get photographs that are actually postcard fairly, however different photos, that are simply feeling gritty—personal events at residence, a dinner at residence with the canine on the sofa. You had all these very private issues.”
These photographs offered the premise for this season’s exuberant prints—all the time a Van Noten signature, and over the previous few seasons extra saturated and photorealistic. (On this case, they’re really images.) They observe a current shift, from chinoiserie-inspired florals of some years in the past to leopards and Verner Panton Nineteen Sixties-ish futurism in current seasons. Now he’s extra targeted on collage, impressed by visible artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Isa Genzken, in whose work “the topic is just not too necessary, however extra the mix of colours and themes.” Layered alongside the groups’ photographs have been etchings from Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens
For the accompanying movie, set to Primal Scream’s “Loaded” (which, between its look right here and its similarities to Lorde’s newest single, appears to be having a superb summer season), exhibits the fashions roaming round Antwerp, with the road as an ersatz catwalk. He loves the tune’s intro, cribbed from Peter Fonda in The Wild Angels, which he recited in his lemony Belgian accent: “I need to get loaded, I need to get free!”
“It actually offers again the gathering to the town,” he mirrored.
The clothes itself is a form of full Van Noten wardrobe. “It was not the concept that we wish to make a really edited assortment,” he mentioned. “I wished to supply numerous numerous varieties of garments. So it’s not solely tailoring, or targeted on one thing—it’s actually like, good items of workwear; some denim; floppy, straightforward jackets made within the lightest silk pongee; [then] you go to tailoring made in probably the most clear, completely made English mohair.”
A decade or so in the past, Van Noten was a beloved European designer with a cult American following of artwork world cognoscenti. However prior to now few years, he’s earned a brand new technology of followers, thanks partly to these loud prints and digestible silhouettes. So amid the chaos of the worldwide style trade, issues are buzzing alongside for Van Noten. The collections he’s proven over the previous 12 months have been implausible, particularly his current riotous womenswear assortment with choreography by Rosas, and he has continued partnerships with artists, printing clothes for Spring 2021 with the painterly visions of Len Lye. His items transfer briskly on Mr. Porter and Ssense, placing a buyable stability between certain guess, long-term wardrobe funding, and wearable mood-elevator. And he’s been reimagining his shops, significantly his most up-to-date on, in Los Angeles, as areas to indicate artwork and collect followers and clients. “E-comm is getting extra necessary,” he mentioned, “however lockdown gave me the inspiration to rethink brick-and-mortar shops, that are actually a palce for me to combine artwork, and style, and meals. It’s getting extra like a spot the place you possibly can go not solely to purchase a t-shirt, however you possibly can go there to discover a very particular curated collection of vinyl information, or possibly you need to go to see one thing from the archive, otherwise you simply need to see some artwork on the partitions.” Simply this week, he opened a brand new exhibition within the LA retailer of works by Los Angeles ceramicist (and OG Memphis Group member) Peter Shire. A Dries Van Noten-approved desk for working from residence? Now that’s a lockdown win!