Dries Van Noten’s Frozen Blossoms and Victorian Beauty for Spring 2017

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There is a moment of tangible transformation when the first crocus breaks through the snow-encrusted ground to signal the onset of spring, and it is this moment that was beautifully captured – both figuratively and literally – by Dries Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2016 show. Frozen bouquets suspended in ice blocks lined the runway, melting as the show progressed and creating puddles that the models splashed through in platform flip-flops and strappy flower-adorned sandals. It was a captivating set – one of the loveliest so far this Fashion Month – but it would have been nothing had the clothes not supported the message of metamorphosis.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

Van Noten’s exquisite sensibilities for Spring/Summer 2017 exploded expectations and then reassembled them into new forms.

Fortunately, Van Noten’s obsession with reworking and transmuting past style codes benefited this presentation in a timely way, as other designers have also been interested in presenting Victorian- and Edwardian-era looks on their Spring/Summer 2017 runways. His version was relaxed, wearable, and achingly beautiful at the same time, forcing us to consider the notion of pairing a sequined ruff with an ivory blouse and walking shorts like it was the most sensible thing in the world.

In search of more challenging contrasts? Keep an eye out for Van Noten’s printed bomber jackets, chandelier-sequined high-necked blouses, and Victorian bed jackets etched with embroidery and lace. Abstracted florals made a pretty splash on puff-sleeved silk jackets, coordinated separates, silk dusters, and car coats with mandarin collars.

The designer cited his work backstage as being “almost historical”, and that definition gets at the heart of his mish-mash sartorial objective. He proved that a study of contrasts that feels almost randomly applied can result in stupendous works of art. His exquisite sensibilities for Spring/Summer 2017 exploded expectations and then reassembled them into new forms that you might have never thought to wear or combine until they walked in front of your eyes. A speckled yellow floor-sweeping coat, mustard-yellow Edwardian blouse yoked with sequins, and silk jacquard walking shorts? Where do we sign up?

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