Fusing art and fashion Dries Van Noten commissioned Dutch artists Gijs Frieling and Job Wouters to create a mural as a backdrop to clothes featuring the same architectural and typographic motifs.
“Psychedelic elegance” as described by the designer was a brave move and a departure from his well-worn classic approach that has so successfully defined his recent collections. Citing Oscar Wilde and Frank Zappa as inspirations the collection was somewhat hard to fathom.
Multicolored psychedelic prints, calligraphy quotations on shirts and ’70s tailoring all seem plausible but was somewhat disjointed. Did Van Noten have one leg in his signature low-key aesthetic and one leg in this new experimental phase?
When a modest peacoat and streamlined overcoat with military styling, was sent out, the familiar Van Noten handwriting became evident and this clear approach was secure. Skinny jeans in orange although directional were still Van Noten and demonstrated how Van Noten being wacky isn’t always easy to digest on it’s first offerings.
Van Noten is an astute designer and shifting his signature style should be recognized as a smart approach to continually moving the brand forward.
Dries Van Noten’s contribution to menswear has always been his ability to produce wearable clothes. His aesthetic was founded on a solid mastery of tailoring, to which he has always adding discreet styling details and references.
While his collections never usually seemed difficult or challenging, will this new psychedelic elegance shift the customers view? Doubtfully, as Van Noten is every bit commercial as his presentations are creative and in store for next winter there will be incarnations of covetable and wearable psychedelic-informed menswear.