In July I posted quite a dose of Dries Van Noten runway photos and said I would photograph his Antwerp shop on Nationalestraat street. So, yesterday I grabbed my camera with me when we went to the city centre (Amsterdam will have to wait until the weather gets better). First we enjoyed Italian food and rosé and then we took a stroll around the Groenplaats square area. Dries Van Noten is close by, in a beautiful building called Het Modepaleis (English: the fashion palace). Maybe one day I'll ask them if I can photograph inside.
I found this video online, a short interview with Dries Van Noten, but let's use the biography on his website to get to know him better:
"Born in Antwerp in 1958, Dries Van Noten is the third generation in a family of tailors. Between the two world wars, his grandfather reworked second-hand clothes by turning them inside out and introduced Antwerp to the concept of ready-to-wear. In 1970 Dries’ father opened a large upscale fashion boutique in the outskirts of Antwerp followed by a second outlet in the city centre where he sold collections by Ungaro, Ferragamo and Zegna. At the same time, his mother ran a Cassandre franchised store and collected antique lace and linen."
He continued working freelance after graduating and launched his own line in 1986 with success.
"In September of the same year, [he] opened a tiny eponymous boutique in Antwerp’s gallery arcade. Here he sold his men’s and women’s collections, which were initially made from the same fabrics."
"In 1989, he quit his modest boutique for a five-storey former department store in the Nationalestraat, then a down-at-heel district with little promise. Ironically, this listed historical building had once housed his grandfather’s greatest competitor. Van Noten set about restoring it, retaining many of the original fixtures and fittings, including the name Het Modepaleis. Today the area is noted for its upmarket boutiques." And let me add, as you can see from the photos, the building is beautiful.
Dries Van Noten has a warehouse on Godefriduskaai quay in Antwerp, which houses the showroom and the departments of design, marketing, production, etc.
And finally, something that caught my attention and I really liked: "Dries Van Noten has been entirely self-financed since the beginning of his career."
Dries Van Noten, Het Modepaleis
Nationalestraat 16, 2000 Antwerpen
tel: +32 3 470 25 10
Het Modepaleis: Lisa Hjalt / LatteLisa
photo of Dries Van Noten himself via Jones Arnhem