Dries Van Noten’s Fall/Winter 2023 women’s collection was a celebration of the love of clothes and the intimate relationship between the wearer and the garments they don. The designer’s latest collection was a refreshing departure from the spectacle-driven fashion shows that have become common in recent years. Instead, Van Noten drilled down to the fundamentals of fashion – the luxury of fit and fabric, and the touch of the handmade.
In a post-pandemic world, many fashion brands are looking to revive the love of well-made clothes and remind customers of the value of dressing well, not just for others, but for themselves. And Van Noten is no exception. The designer elevated dressmaker and mending details to the performance venue Le Dôme de Paris, set the collection to the beat of improvisational jazz, and had models crisscrossing the theater aisles. The result was subtle, romantic, and an invitation to fashion discovery.
The collection was a mix of masculine tailoring and feminine lingerie-inspired pieces. Tailored pieces were kissed with special details, such as a gray pinstripe jacket with a draped midi skirt edged in rippling white organza, a double-breasted coat with gold zigzag stitching, and an oversized blazer with a lapel sliced open to reveal a sliver of gold jacquard. The feminine pieces, on the other hand, played on transparency and featured slipdresses embroidered with French lace and organza layered skirts with raw edges.
The collection also included classics with intimate touches, such as a trench coat with the waist rolled in gold paint and fluffy faux furs made from the same factory that manufactures Steiff bears. The designer emphasized a desire for pieces to look “antique-y but not dusty“, noting that some fabrics were made on old looms from the 1920s and intentionally aged to add a personal touch.
The two most spectacular jackets in the collection were patchworked with layers of technical mesh, tulle, wadding, and embroidery, paying homage to the idea of conservation. Van Noten explained that imperfection sometimes makes a piece more personal, and that he personally doesn’t like perfection as it can be boring.