Dries Van Noten Has His Golden Ending in His Last Ever Show

Dries Van Noten Has His Golden Ending in His Last Ever Show


As he announced his retirement last March, Dries Van Noten showcased the last collection of his career at Paris Fashion Week 2024

He is one of the Antwerp Six, an influential group of fashion designers who graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the early 1980s. Antwerp, nestled north of Brussels, Belgium, is where fashion is capital, with a significant influence on style, encouraged by the group: Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Marina Yee, and, finally, Dries Van Noten—who took his final bow at this year’s Paris Fashion Week. This collection stands as the last of his career, as he announced his retirement last March. Patrick Vangueluwe, Van Noten’s life and business partner, also shares in the designer’s last hurrah. Their exit finalizes decades of innovation, craftsmanship, and a vision that has left an avant-garde opulence on the world.

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Model Alain Gossuin, who walked in Dries Van Noten’s first collection, opened his last show

The runway was floored with silver linings. It was a fitting metaphor for the occasion: an homage to the brilliance and enduring influence of the designer and a nod to the bright side of a bittersweet farewell. The show opened with model Alain Gossuin, who walked in his first collection in 1991, bringing Dries Van Noten’s career full circle.

Like a funeral, the collection started with black. Unlike a funeral, however, it was founded on a celebration of life. The dark hues reflected the shimmering floor, with flowy and structured garments; sometimes smooth and textured, sheer and embroidered with flowers, embellished with stones.

A black blazer is embroidered, a staple in his aesthetic
Embroidery is finished at the side of the trousers

Velvet violet and peach fuzz are keenly and cleverly used in transparency: hooded jackets, draped shirts, metallic coats, and below-the-knee shorts paired with fuzzy slippers and twisted sandals. Sometimes, a snake print comes into play in accessories like a belt.

Velvet in violet is used as a sleeveless shirt

The few womenswear looks enamored with masculine tailoring. While femininity flows in male collections in this day and age, the female suiting heralded the way. The commanding elegance has now turned the trend to timelessness.

A three-toned blazer adds dynamism
Blazers are lengthened further below the waist
Sheer overlay is attached to the gray blazer
Metallic and smooth accents are put and sewn together

While it is his last, Dries Von Noten also presented something new, a testament to the belief that, to creatives, creation never dies: Suminagashi—an ancient Japanese printing technique—adorns the collection with oversized, graphic leaves and flowers. The garments emphasize visible layers that contour and define the body.

The ancient practice of Suminagashi is a new method the designer practiced

Orange is touched with gray, like sunset devoured. Then, a burst of light emerges as orange folds into gold and gray transforms into silver. Sun rays suddenly wave goodbye with every movement, accentuating each fold that embraces the body towards the show’s conclusion.

Orange and white are used to merge as ombré in this blazer
Silver and gold are finishing touches towards the collection

The end of an era is often used ironically as some things truly never end. In the case of fashion, it’s always a surprise. Each ensemble, teetered and tethered on the designer’s armory, from the solemnity of black and the celebration of gold, reflects a lifetime of design mastery. Dries Van Noten spins sartorial brilliance that refuses to fade. It leaves us with a bittersweet sense of parting from a cherished figure we’ll never quite see the likes of again.

Photos and Featured Image: DRIES VAN NOTEN

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