Inspirations, Focus

The spirit of light

Over 1,000 guests met on rue des usines Babock, in La Courneuve. In a vast warehouse filled with waiters serving cups and appetizers, a projection of images revealed preparations in Antwerp and behind-the-scenes footage of the fashion shows. The first show was held in Paris in 1991, and the one on June 22, 2024 would mark the end of an era. Wasn't it the 129th? The black curtain opened at 9:30 pm in a frenzy of activity, with a set designed by one of our most loyal devotees, Etienne Russo (Villa Eugénie), who had been present right from the start: Thousands of sheets of silver foil ready to fly out from under the models' feet… To those who imagined a retrospective, Dries Van Noten provided a moment of light, eschewing all the trappings of self-parody in favour of his secret play of shadow and brightness, both vivid and subdued. With a guiding principle, the line associates classical tailoring with technical materials: putty, black and ink with acid yellows and apricot peaches, silhouettes that are at once constructed and liquid, futuristic and artisanal, yet so contemporary.


“A reflection on contemporary elegance, thinking beyond what has come before. Emphasis on the sartorial fabrication of double and single-breasted suits and coats in softly structured, elongated silhouettes.” On David Bowie or Philip Glass, Dries Van Noten is the only one who can pair a cargo pant with an organza top, cut as naturally as a poplin shirt, punctuate a stormy grey with a touch of Manet rose, give a gold embroidery a patina to make a fragment of memory illuminating a trouser pocket.


With him, clothing, whether layered in large translucent windbreakers or cocoon coats, is not burdened by anything other than a passion for innovation within tradition. Hence his use of suminagashi, a traditional Japanese marbling technique stretching back 1,000 years, which involves depositing ink on water, which is then transferred and absorbed by the fabric. In this collection, he takes up the theme of "hanabi" (fire flower), giving his highly graphic flowers the air of fireworks against a woven sky. Each piece is unique, with natural imperfections.


Research never compromises the poetic dimension: these hybrid blends of wool and diving fabrics, this crumpled polyamide evoking glass, are light in motion, a fluid undulating between gold and silver. Let's leave the final words to the maestro with the air of an eternal student, like the renewed promise of life: “This is my 129th show; like the previous ones, it looks ahead. Tonight is many things, but it is not a grand finale. I think about how Marcelo Mastroianni once spoke of a paradoxical “Nostalgia del futuro,” beyond the lost paradises imagined by Proust, and how we continue to pursue our dreams knowing that, at some point, we can look back on them with love. I love my job, I love doing fashion shows, and sharing fashion with people. Creating is about leaving something that lives on. My sense of this moment is how it is not only mine, but ours, always.”


This text has been slightly edited.