Dries Van Noten steps down and seeks successor
Dries Van Noten. ©Photo: Dries Van Noten / Pamela Berkovic

Dries Van Noten steps down and seeks successor

Dries Van Noten, a renowned Belgian designer, is stepping down after nearly 40 years. He is looking for a successor to continue his brand's legacy.
March 20, 2024

Dries Van Noten, the acclaimed Belgian designer known for his ravishing colors, bold prints and dignified tailoring, is preparing to step down from his eponymous label in June. It marks the end of an era for Van Noten, who has been a singular voice in fashion for nearly four decades.

Van Noten’s final collection in his current role will be the Spring/Summer 2025 menswear line, which will be shown at Paris Fashion Week. While a bittersweet moment for fans, the designer assures a smooth transition. “In due time, we will announce the designer who will continue the story,” he said.

The transition isn’t entirely unexpected. In 2018, Van Noten, now 65, sold a majority stake in his Antwerp-based fashion house to Puig, a Spanish luxury conglomerate. The move allowed him to secure the brand’s future.

Dries Van Noten steps down and seeks successor

While remaining a minority shareholder and involved with the brand, Van Noten is looking to explore other passions beyond fashion, including his love of gardening. “As a young designer from Antwerp, I dreamt of making my mark on fashion,” he reflected. “That dream became a reality, and now it’s time to pursue other interests.”

As one of the original Antwerp Six, Van Noten has arguably had the most lasting impact on both men’s and women’s fashion. His unique vision, rooted in his family’s tailoring background and honed during his time at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, has captivated fashion enthusiasts worldwide since the launch of his menswear label in 1986. Since the establishment of his flagship store, Het Modepaleis, in Antwerp, Van Noten has consistently pushed the boundaries of fashion while staying true to his core aesthetic.

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Despite his success, Van Noten has eschewed many of the usual paths to growth, choosing instead to focus on creating exquisite collections that speak for themselves. His resistance to pre-collections, advertising, celebrity dressing, and handbag-centric strategies has only served to underscore the strength of his designs and the loyalty of his devoted following.

But a strategic partnership with Puig has ushered in a new era. New boutiques have opened, fragrances and cosmetics have been launched, and a novel Parisian boutique concept that blends fashion and beauty products showcases the brand’s evolution. Notably, in its 2023 financial results, Puig identified Van Noten as its fastest growing niche brand.

The question on everyone’s mind now is: who will take the reins at Dries Van Noten? The house has remained tight-lipped about the search process, but conversations with designers in Europe are reportedly underway. The chosen successor will have the daunting task of carrying on Van Noten’s legacy while infusing the brand with his or her own creative perspective.

While the search for his successor is underway, the designer has expressed confidence in his studio team, who will create the upcoming womenswear collection.

Read more: Walter Chiapponi departs Blumarine after one collection