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Dries Van Noten AW17: Look and learn

Sandra Halliday
03 March 2017

The original plan was to write a review of the Saint Laurent collection because I've spent most of this week quite liking it. But as each day goes by I like it less. Yeah, there are some great shearling pieces and some knock ‘em dead daywear. But those mini dresses with just one scarily large single shoulder? Nah. The Richard III as a pole dancer look isn't really my thing.

Of course it doesn’t help me feel any more positive to a collection when designers who really know how to do it come along and seem to effortlessly put together a group of pieces that may not have grand concept behind them but still look good.

So this YSL review is actually a DVN review. That’s Dries Van Noten. Showing yesterday, he should have strung a huge banner across there runway saying “look and learn”. But he didn’t. He just gave us clothes that a lot of women who are a) over the age of 21 and b) more than a size zero could wear. And with Marni’s new boy not quite having found his feet yet, there’s a desperate need for that.

That kind of ultra-wearability is perhaps all the more surprising because Van Noten is a man. That kind approach is one found more often among female designers. But you only had to look at all the street style regulars outside the shows, carrying off their DVN coats with ease to see just how wearable his output is. And all that without the backing of a deep-pocketed luxury giant behind him.

So what did he give us for AW17? For his 100th show, we got a mix of volume, masculine-influenced silhouettes and key items with a sporty edge. Vital to the whole thing was an immersion in print and pattern, much of it reworked from Van Noten’s own archive. Botanicals, geometrics, and Japanese prints, plus textural and embellishment effects used to support pattern (quilting, two-tone lamé, sequins, fur sleeves et al).

The cover-all coat was king (or should that be queen?) over gently tapered loose pants or jeans, as was a slim but not restrictive skirt, a body skimming dress with ruched detail, or a tunic sweater. It was as simple as that.

The line-up of past and present supermodels who happily walked the runway (Carolyn Murphy, Liya Kebede, Alek Wek, Nadja Auermann, Cecilia Chancellor, Trish Goff and more) underlined the broad appeal of everything Dries Van Noten does.

Just like Dolce & Gabbana’s show in Milan at the weekend, it felt like a designer brimming with confidence. Saint Laurent? Pah!

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