What Happens When a Designer Says No to the Instagramification of Fashion

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While Gucci-fication has taken over the runways, there is one place where you will always see a designer being true to himself and that’s at Dries Van Noten. Specializing in spectacular prints and stately silhouettes, the Belgian designer’s quiet confidence is created for the mature crowd, and he all but rejects the Instagram era of fashion.

For Fall/Winter 2018, Van Noten draws inspiration from outsider art, or the naïve, hand-wrought drawings and paintings by untrained artists who have little or no contact with the mainstream art world. Therefore, a simplistic “doodle” sketch, rendered in inky tattoo-like forms, was the central subject of his collection. In dark, monochrome colors, the print set the tone for a rather solemn first half, but an injection of fresh color halfway through lightened the mood.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

There is one place where you will always see a designer being true to himself and that’s at Dries Van Noten.

The print, which suggested feathers, fireworks, pinwheels, and other elements of kinetic motion, was juxtaposed against stiffer separates and outerwear, creating a dramatic tension in the looks. This was also carried out by little tufts and tickles of feathers sprouting everywhere, which imbued the clothes with natural movement. Outerwear was particularly fetching here, showcasing poet-sleeved bomber jackets spliced with brocade panels, shaggy faux-fur coats, longline anoraks, and thick knit coats.

There was one sublime black trench with immense ruched sleeves, but the same ruching method looked sloppy when done in silk on a following look. Roomy checkered suits offered variation from the inky doodle prints, as did a variety of sporty separates done in a parachute-like material. Gloved turtlenecks, “tattooed” boots, and big shaggy bags were also on offer and were, perhaps, the most commercially appealing aspect of the collection.

A man apart, Dries Van Noten’s refusal to compromise, collaborate with, or concede to the new, instantly gratifying, logo-obsessed cult of celebrity that fashion has become is a soothing proposition in an industry that is rabid for homogeneity.

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