Strolling along the dark edges of glamour, wandering on the borderline between mainstream design and spirits surpassing the norm, the genius Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten has brought the standard of the way we view and appreciate beauty and culture to a new level over and over again.
From March 2014, the Dries Van Noten exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs has been showcasing the collective, yet non-retrospective process of how Dries created his universe over the 30 years of his career, allowing the world to recapture the values and influences of this industry legend. Van Noten himself handpicked over 400 pieces to be showcased for the first time to the public.
When we enter the first level of the exhibition, we enter a small, dark room filled with mystery and suspense. In every intimate turn of a corner, each set of clothing and art pieces rise up like golden mirages, appearing in the vision of deadly silence. Chronologically, the exhibition includes his graduation pieces from when he was studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, extending to inspirations he received from various topics such as couture dresses, manteaus, shoes with a very strong royal touch under the themes of “Gold” and “Butterflies”; or collections that speaks to rebels, revolt and social unrest, inspired by the student movement in the 60’s, punk music, Kiss or even David Bowie. Van Noten is also a lover of cultural differences around the globe. From traditional clothing of the orient, South East Asia, Mexico, Spain, Gaudi, Bollywood, etc. He extracts the essence of these lively cultures and create marvelous menswear and womenswear. Every collection upholds the exquisite details of Dries Van Noten’s design, while bluntly showcasing his artistic talent. None of these seem to have fallen into the cliché of the classical French imperialist style. Each piece of his work is filled with stories and rich contexts that linger in your mind; but technically, as mentioned before, this exhibition is not a mere recap of his career. It is a process, unveiling the creative process and inspirational origins of this great designer.
The culture, music, art and characters that the city of London provides has granted Dries Van Noten endless inspirations. Through the lenses of David Bowie, punk music and Vivienne Westwood, these spirits were blended into the lining of the coats, the metallic buttons of the jackets and the dark variations of the royal military uniforms. On the other side of the Atlantic, The Lost Generation of the USA, Divine, Patti Smith and Laurie Anderson, provided Van Noten a twist of his vision. Overall, not one piece of his design does not speak its own language, not one piece of his dresses represent merely visual aesthetics. There is always a intention, an intuition and a subtle visual clue hiding behind the obvious.
行走在黑暗之间的浮华，漫步在主流和边缘的设计，Dries Van Noten，一位比利时时装鬼才，曾一次又一次的将人们对服装的审美和文化的定义上升到一个新的层面。
自2014年三月起，Dries Van Noten在巴黎的Musée des Arts Décoratifs里，将他三十年来职业生涯的每一个闪光点一一展出，让世人回顾这一时装界传奇人物的价值和影响。由他本人钦点的超过400件服饰首次对外展出。
但是严格上来看，这一个展览并不是Dries Van Noten单纯的职业生涯的回顾，更多的是揭开他创作过程的写照，灵感的成熟，演变。
伦敦这个城市所诞生的文化，音乐，艺术和人物都给予了Dries Vn Noten源源不断的灵感。透过David Bowie，朋克，Vivien Westwood等主流到地下文化都被糅合到设计理念中。而美国的逆文化，包括Divine，Patti Smith和Laurie Anderson等也在不同程度上见证者他的心路历程和情感模式的转变。总而言之，Dries Van Noten的设计从来都不仅仅是一件简单的没有灵魂的衣服，在这些华美的背后，总是藏匿着一个动机，一种直觉，一个微妙的视觉线索。
Article by Bohan Qiu
Published on Elsewhere Magazine