In the heart of Paris’s regal 17th arrondissement, inside a high-vaulted edifice formerly occupied by telecom giant Orange, a sublime symphony of sartorial splendor unfolded. Dries Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection was presented against the backdrop of this architectural marvel with its fascinating industrial patina – an intersection of roughly hewn plaster, concrete, and paint, serving as a poignant metaphor for the collection’s narrative of longevity, lived experiences and evolving masculinity.
Dries Van Noten, the Belgian master of texture and color, has always encapsulated an understated brilliance in his work. This collection, however, struck a distinctly different chord. The aesthetic was a study in ageless elegance and masculinity, an exploration of youth’s intersection, and a curious investigation into how individuality can find expression beyond the confines of streetwear.
The designer was quoted as saying, “We wanted to make it a study of elegance. To make it very masculine…I think streetwear is one thing, and it’s fantastic, but I also think people want more ways to dress to express who they are, and to enjoy”. This philosophy was woven into the very fabric of the collection, articulating an assertive masculine sophistication while opening up a dialogue with the younger, style-conscious generation.
Meticulous detailing was on display throughout, echoing the industrial setting. The jackets from looks 23 and 52 bore the imprint of a well-lived life. Dyed and treated to seem seasoned by years and sun, they partnered seamlessly with sequin shorts, offering a fresh and unexpected harmony.
As the collection unfolded, its dual-tone identity emerged, symbolized by the hues of camel and black in the herringbone wool of a standout belted raglan shoulder coat. The shifting soundtrack of Soulwax subtly underscored this narrative, tracing the collection’s journey from classical orchestration to upbeat, repetitive beats.
Textures played a leading role, with net linen knits, coated linen outerwear, and knit velvets forming a tactile landscape. Van Noten’s unmatched color sensibility was on full display as he fearlessly paired a bronze shirt and coat with gold sequin shorts, or counterposed aubergine shorts against a mustard bomber – combinations that were simultaneously improbable and irresistibly compelling.
This masterful approach to color and texture continued with the wavy stitching on the dyed aubergine shorts and liner jacket, echoing the “onion” print on other pieces. Sheer tops in mousseline, fur-strapped sandals, and knit velvet sweaters punctuated by a grid of plucked perforations added layers of patina, wear and form.
In essence, Dries Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection is a sartorial sonnet that beautifully articulates a story of masculinity, elegance, and individualism. It’s an invitation to inhabit these garments, to make them part of our own personal narratives. This was a collection not merely to be admired from afar, but one crying out to be moved into, to be lived in.