Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris,
1 March-31 August 2014.
One of the original Antwerp 6, Dries Van Noten studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, graduating in 1981. He debuted his eponymous label in 1986 with a menswear show held in London alongside Walter Van Beirendonck, Anne Demeulemester, Dirk Van Saene, Marina Yee and Dirk Bikkembergs. Dries Van Noten launched his womenswear line in 1993 at the Hotel George V in Paris.
Over many seasons the company has consolidated a distinctive aesthetic vocabulary that marries modernity with ethnic and folkloric influences, traversing time, geography and cultures. His collections are often the evocations of imaginary journeys whose memories leave their mark on the surface of cloth as sumptuous prints and embroideries. Van Noten also cites more abstract references, however, and collections are just as likely to be stimulated by cinema, art and music, where a colour, an atmosphere or a gesture might suggest a creative direction.
Dries Van Noten: Inspirations illuminates the designer’s process by collocating his work and those eclectic points of reference that colour each collection. Revealing surprising juxtapositions that articulate Van Noten’s unique approach, the exhibition materializes as a renaissance cabinet of curiosities where the designer’s creations appear alongside work by Francis Bacon, Elizabeth Peyton, Stanley Kubrick and Jane Campion.
The exhibition also traces a series of intimate themes that have been constant in Van Noten’s work since the 1980s; youth, ambiguity, archetypes, passion… These themes are elucidated by items from the collection of Les Arts Décoratifs, ranging from anonymous pieces from the nineteenth century, to emblematic work from couturiers such as Schiaparelli and Yves Saint Laurent, to garments from the avant-garde of the 1980s.
Demonstrating a process of creative reciprocity, Dries Van Noten has taken motifs discovered in his research in the storerooms of Les Arts Décoratifs and reinterprets them as the basis for his menswear and womenswear collections for Spring-Summer 2014.
Curated by Pamela Golbin and Dries Van Noten, scenography by Jean-Dominique Segondi.
Dries Van Noten: Inspirations is published by Lannoo.
See other books on Dries Van Noten at amazon.co.uk.
Dries Van Noten, pré-défilé, 1986-1987. Photograph courtesy Dries Van Noten/Les Arts Décoratifs.
Dries Van Noten, défilé Autumn-Winter 2010-2011. Photograph courtesy Dries Van Noten/Les Arts Décoratifs.
Dries Van Noten, défilé Spring-Summer 2009. Photograph © Patrice Stable, courtesy Dries Van Noten/Les Arts Décoratifs.
Cortina, detail of dress, circa 1966. Photograph © Jean Tholance, courtesy Les Arts Décoratifs.
Dries Van Noten, menswear Spring-Summer 2013. Photograph courtesy Dries Van Noten/Les Arts Décoratifs.
Dries Van Noten, défilé Spring-Summer 1993. Photograph courtesy Dries Van Noten/Les Arts Décoratifs.
Embroidered satin cloth (reverse), 1889. Photograph © Jean Tholance, courtesy Les Arts Décoratifs.
Dries Van Noten, défilé Spring-Summer 2014. Photograph © Tommy Tom, courtesy Dries Van Noten/Les Arts Décoratifs.
Dries Van Noten, backstage Spring-Summer 2014. Photograph © Ben Sobel, courtesy GQ/Dries Van Noten.