Dries Van Noten Men’s Spring 2023

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An inscrutable, unfamiliar logo appeared repeatedly on the Dries Van Noten runway: crawling up T-shirt sleeves and the outseams of pant legs, or plopped on the chest of a zippered top.

Could it be a collaboration with some obscure Japanese cycling brand from the Antwerp-based designer, who once teamed up with Christian Lacroix for a women’s collection?

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Nah. Backstage, the designer said it was just his initials DVN cut in half: a thumb in the eye to the logomania rampant in fashion. Other words in big block letters also appeared on clothes, sometimes patchworked with leopard prints and graphic botanicals. “Lorem ipsum,” he explained, referring to the nonsensical text graphic designers use as a placeholder until the actual copy arrives.

Here was a Dries Van Noten men’s collection that was hard to read, his usual elegant silhouettes and romantic flourishes muddled with bits of lingerie, cowboy boots, cycling jerseys and motocross pants.

“Unusual elegance” was the tag line for a collection that was a mash-up of subculture references, notably Zazou and Buffalo movements; and masculine-feminine tropes, namely pinstripes and lingerie.

It didn’t always gel, but there were plenty of handsome pieces to cherrypick: trim, belted coats; terrific tennis sweaters; bomber jackets in wide stripes, and cool camp shirts.

Back with his first physical fashion show in two years, Van Noten’s showman muscles were in peak condition. He picked a parking garage rooftop with a nice cross breeze, magical golden-hour light and a lovely vista of Paris rooftops. For the finale, gas station skydancers erupted on both sides of the runway, flailing in the same prints as the collection as the models stormed out en masse.

Then the music got louder, drinks were wheeled out and a rooftop rave ensued. Cheers, Dries!

Launch Gallery: Dries Van Noten Men's Spring 2023

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