Whether you're at his show or simply in one of his shops, a trip to Dries Van Noten's world is like going to a museum, such is his passion for the artisanal, the authentic and the artefact. That feeling was only heightened for Spring/Summer 2015 when as a finale his models lay down on a mossy catwalk in a tableau of Millais's painting of Ophelia (Dries's favourite).
They were post-modern pre-Raphaelites in a collection that paid heed to the pastoral even as it revelled in its current relevance. Walking to near-silence broken only by birdsong and the odd phrase of sung a capella, models referenced festival goers and eco warriors, the designer said backstage.
That inspiration showed through in a bohemian feel: wafty and gauzy layers, irregular, dipped hems, dhoti trousers and an eclectic mix of patchworked prints, incorporating antic florals, ethnic embroidery and more geometric patterns on blouses, sundresses and plenty of kimono coats, cocoons and sleeveless, long-line tailoring. These were dusted with sequins and beads, metallic finishes and more - one pair of double-faced jeans had golden turn-ups.
To call this hippy luxe is an easy categorisation that captures the mood but misses much of why this collection received the whoops and cheers it did at its close. It was staggeringly beautiful; fingers itched to touch the materials, the sumptuous brocades and jacquards. Back to the museum visit: Dries Van Noten's clothes are artefacts in their own right, and we're the tourists jostling in front of the display case.