“She’s a party girl.” So the soundtrack labeled her, lest you missed it from her brash, ebullient regalia.
One wonders if Dries Van Noten was at all concerned about a letdown after last season’s brilliant fashion-moment collaboration with Christian Lacroix. If so, you couldn’t tell by his fall runway. It exploded with a very different kind of exuberance as Van Noten made a 180-reversal from spring’s pretty wonderment toward a harder, tougher take on chic.
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“It’s about nightlife…” Van Noten said backstage after his show. “Going out, enjoying life, having fun — [fun is] very important — and a party girl. [There’s] something mysterious, something dark, something romantic, but a dark romance.”
He started with pictures of the work of makeup guru Serge Lutens, and pondered, “How would a girl like this look now, how would she use makeup?” His answer: audaciously. This collection was all about color and pattern and overstatement. But most of all, it was about attitude, the attitude of a woman who not only dresses to be noticed, but lives to be noticed and to revel in the joy of showing off. To that end, she paints her hair with strokes of vibrant red or blue, and her eyes with multiple brights. And she piles on patterns, colors, textures, studs, sequins, feathers and more, often mixing references from punk to disco to rockabilly to silver-screen goddess.
Van Noten opened with a big plaid motorcycle jacket over a chunky mustard-and-black heather cardigan and red-and-black feathery skirt, establishing the template of major mixes. And they were something: a blue floral printed shearling bolero over a pink-and-green floral top and black leather motorcycle pants; high-sheen floral trench over turquoise python boots; purple shearling jacket over orange print top, aqua-and-black metallic brocade skirt and wine suede boots. Sometimes the drama came not in pattern but in texture (a giant, shaggy wrap over pants) — or in cut (huge balloon sleeves on a brocade dress). Many of the shapes were oversize, particularly the outerwear pieces and baggy pants. But there were also lean, sensual dresses in bold prints. And for all the focus on nightlife, there was a fabulous integration of day and evening as Van Noten worked often incongruous combinations.
There was so much going on that it could have been hideous. Yet Van Noten exercised a deft control that made it all not only over-the-top dazzling, but beautiful and utterly chic — party-girl perfection.
Launch Gallery: Dries Van Noten RTW Fall 2020