Saturday, 6 April 2013

notes à la mode 32

As you may have noticed, I haven't written a NOTES À LA MODE post for almost a month. I think I just got a little fed up with all the photos appearing online during the last fashion week season, and when the award season started with all the red carpet looks it just got a bit too much. I wasn't inspired (I think I have become allergic to celebrity culture). I'm slowly coming back to fashion, taking my time to view certain collections without feeling the need to share all of them.

I wanted to share some details from the Dries Van Noten Autumn/Winter 2013-14 Collection, or the "Fred and Ginger" collection, but I wasn't sure how I wanted to do it because I wasn't impressed with the entire show. The evening wear, with all those feathers, did nothing for me and consisted of pieces I would never wear myself. There were daywear pieces that I really liked but I wasn't sure how to approach the subject with such mixed emotions about the collection. I needed more time to digest it. Maybe my expectations were too high because Dries Van Noten's Spring/Summer 2013 Collection, which I featured in NOTES À LA MODE 16, was probably my all-time favourite and I'm still enjoying those images.

Anyway, for weeks I was going back and forth in my mind, not quite knowing how to put this post together. On Thursday blogger Garance Doré posted an interview with Dries that I knew was coming and as I watched it, all the pieces fell into place. I didn't just want to post a few looks from the runway; I also wanted to honour Dries's approach to fashion design.

As you heard, if you watched Garance's interview, Dries Van Noten shows twice per year. In December 2011 there was an article about him in The Wall Street Journal. They visited him in Antwerp to interview him and shared all kinds of photos, among others, the photo below of him and his dog taking a walk by Antwerp's old port. Part of the article reads:
He produces womenswear and menswear, and only twice a year—no pre-collections, no resort wear, no home wares, no jeans or perfumes or hotel decors. "Personally, I think there is too much fashion in the world," he says, sitting in his sparsely decorated office overlooking the city harbor on a cold autumn afternoon. "Now you can go on or blogs and there is always another collection launch, cruise, resort, accessories, and on and on and that's a pity. For me it's an overdose."
This is one of reasons I'm so fond of Dries. He is his own master; not owned by business people who all too often think of nothing but making money. Of course fashion houses have to survive, but there is a difference between surviving and producing clothes for the sake of making money. I'm not against resort and pre-collections, but very often I find them utterly pointless.

As I said earlier, Dries's Autumn 2013 Collection was not my favourite. He didn't disappoint me, I just didn't see many items that I would personally wear, and for me the styling was sometimes a bit off. Furthermore, I didn't like the flat men's shoes, but that is simply because I have reached a stage in my life where I need my shoes to have a feminine quality. Dries is known for impeccable tailoring, there is no doubt about that, and he is all about the details. That's probably why I usually like the up-close photos from his shows so much. Below are looks that I really liked, all pieces that I would like to have in my wardrobe - I love the boys' sweaters and shirts.

In their December 2010 issue Vogue US featured an article on Dries Van Noten's beautiful garden in Lier, a few kilometres south-east of Antwerp. Dries has a passion for gardening and has created a beautiful haven with his partner.

How serene is this spot?


  In the WSJ article mentioned in this post there were photos of his beautifully designed stores on Quai Malaquais in Paris (on the Left Bank). The photo to the right shows part of the women's store
  Maybe some of you remember that when I lived in Antwerp I photographed his store there, called Het Modepaleis, and wrote a little about his business. In the WSJ article Dries says that when he looks back his decision to buy Het Modepaleis "'was one of the best things and the most stupid things I've ever done.' Best because the space is a gem and solidified Van Noten as a serious fashion brand. Stupid ... because 'it nearly killed the company [financially]. But we survived.'" I have to add that I'm glad he bought it; it's beautiful. Don't miss it if you visit Antwerp!
  For those of you who want to look back I have shared four other Dries Van Noten collections on the blog: His Spring 2011 and Autumn 2011 collections appeared in one post, his Spring 2012 in another, and his Autumn 2012 collection in yet another post. After all, in case you haven't noticed, he has been one of my favourite designers for years

Now I'm off to the city centre where I intend to do a little shopping; bring some spring items into my life. I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
1: Paolo Roversi for the New York Times Style Magazine, August 2004 via The Fashion Spot / 2: Annabel Elston for WSJ / 3, 5, 8: Gianni Pucci for Vogue US / 4 (cropped by me) + 7: Yannis Vlamos for Vogue US / 6: Scott Schuman - The Sartorialist / 9 (scan): Juergen Teller for Vogue US, December 2010 via Decade / 10 (Paris store): Jean Pierre Gabriel for WSJ

YouTube: Meeting Dries Van Noten / Pardon My French: Garance Doré


  1. What a fabulous post, Lisa! I simply savoured it. Dries' last collection isn't my favourite one either, I liked just a few looks and all the close-ups you've selected: I loved loved loved that white shirt, men's style inspired, but paired with that feathered skirt... no. I also agree so much and admire Dries van Noten's design philosophy. I don't understand all the collections throughout the year; 2 collections per year plus the haute couture collections of the fashion houses that still present haute couture would be enough. And let me tell you that I've always had the impression that Karl Lagerfeld, regardless of his undeniable talent, would do a much better job for Chanel if he limited himself to fewer collections and looks/collection, because no matter how good a Chanel collection created by him is, it's always too much for me. There is such an overdose of fashion and so little originality. I've just found out something so startling, which I'm sharing on my blog tomorrow, that has left me with such a bitter taste.

    1. Thank you Ada.
      I'm looking forward to read your post!

  2. Ah, to be Dries. If only we could stop the madness of all these collections. I often wonder if it all gets bought, what happens to the excess--wouldn't we better served by just having fall/winter and spring/summer really well conceived and produced? Maybe a few pieces that trickle out for that cross-over period between seasons, but in a more thoughtful and practical way--no need for a huge campaign for these things. But how to stop the machine, that is the question. Anyway, I love the pieces you chose to highlight. I have only owned one Dries piece, a beautiful bowling shirt, but how I could love that pair of wool pants!

    Mary Jo


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