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Dries Van Noten’s Golden Touch

Can't I just say, "so good," and be done with it?

Dries Van Noten is such a fashion person’s designer. After today’s runway show—where Radiohead bass player Colin Greenwood provided the live soundtrack—the models lined up against a wall that was made of spaced-out wooden panels, treated with gold foil that was peeling off just a bit. The presentation-style setup gave the audience an opportunity to shoot the clothes close up.

It was a clever move on Van Noten’s part—how much happier were we all with our Instagrams?—but the fervor at which the editors and buyers hustled across the La Halle Freyssinet was notable, too. Van Noten is one of those rare designers whose clothes fashion industry types actually buy. Really—just ask a chic publicist, or a seasoned editor, where her distinctive-but-not-overwhelming printed dress is from, and 9 times out of 10 she’ll say, “Dries.”

This season’s presentation may have been arranged with the audience in mind, but the clothes were equally as satisfying. Van Noten always plays with the ideas of masculine and feminine, but this season those two opposite aesthetics were more gently woven together, thanks to the designer’s ability to deftly combine the opulent and the basic.

My favorite day look was a pair of black menswear-style trousers, printed with tiny red stars and worn with a pale gold button-up (dotted with black stars) and a slightly oversized cream linen blazer. It was all accented with a jangly necklace. That tiny-red star print appeared again on a ruffled blouse, which was worn with a gold-foiled pleated skirt. There were golden touches throughout, including an extra-long pencil skirt in an ornate brocade that looked almost 3-D—it really jumped out at you.

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For evening, the designer sent out a grey jersey tank with another three-quarter length pencil skirt—this one covered in pleated rosettes. Those super-sized rosettes—in black, cream, grey and gold—covered most of the final looks, but it was a grey sweater matched with a knee-length confection that stole the show. Mounds of gold pleats were piled upon one another to form the skirt, with a large dark gold rosette attached to one hip. On the other hip an unidentifiable shape made from black pleated fabric travelled well past the waist, up into the sweater. It may sound odd, but Van Noten’s clothes are always beautiful. Maybe that’s why fashion people like him so much. The collection he sent out today could blend seamlessly into the majority of the industry’s closet, yet it was unlike anything else I’ve seen.

Photos: IMAXtree