Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS--Above the main entrance to the Musée Bourdelle, just past the sumptuous garden courtyard decorated with giants sculptures and the black metal "Hercules The Archer" in the walkway, are the carved inscriptions from a letter sculptor Antoine Bourdelle had written to his former employer, teacher and colleague Auguste Rodin: “Dans la vie des sculptures un plan superficial est un incident mais un plan profound, constructif est une destinee.” (In the life of sculptor a superficial plan is incidental, but a profound and constructive plan is a destiny.)
A constructive plan. The same could be said of Dries Van Noten's Fall 2011 menswear show. Heroic! Gallant! New Manly Glamor! were the words used to usher in a new and more fashionable man at Van Noten’s displahy of wool Spencer suits, long coats layered with detachable linings, and embroidered military cadets evening jackets, some dabbed with touches of extra lapels of fur or contrasting fabrics. Subtle design coupled with extensive research into fabrics sourced from all corners of the world has always been Mr. Van Noten’s route to distinguished and wearable clothes.
The show opener--a dark navy wool coat with white cotton lining, crisp white shirt and navy wool pants--led a procession of multi-layered ensembles. There was an extra exposed lapel serving as a design leitmotif for the double-breasted jackets, one buttons navy wool suits with fur, and on a navy trench with a contrasting olive under layer. Standouts were the hand-knit, sleeveless, boxy turtleneck sweaters worn with white t-shirts or reversible wool and fur vest and black wool pants. The series of gold embroidered short military jackets towards the end of the show seemed a little out of place against the more rugged and polished looks of the collection.
Mr. Van Noten’s approach to fashion has never been to focus on fleeting trends, but rather to please his most faithful customers each season. The show seemed more fashion forward at times--like the navy slim single-breasted suit with a slight pagoda shoulder effect--and may serve as a way to attract a younger customers shopping for fashion items. It seemed Mr. Van Noten realized that he needed to reach a new audience, thus infusing the collection with a touch of fashion, mainly in the details and cut.
**All photos by Imaxtree.