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Dries van Noten Menswear S/S11

The Belgian fashion veteran showed up at Paris Menswear Week with an edgy skinhead and 1970's French chic inspired collection at. Brilliant, of course.

Relocating to a venue next to a venue next to a sunny Seine after two seasons of showing at the Place de Bourse, Dries van Noten also changed direction slightly in his SS ’11 collection on Thursday evening. Known for his subtle colour combinations and stylish low-key designs, the Belgian veteran opted for a tougher attitude this season. Dominated by acid denim – jeans, shirts and jackets – there was a clear nod towards the sub cultures of skinheads and mods. Also the 1970’s were heavily referenced through brown flared suits and garments in an over sized check pattern.

In terms of strong visuals, the check was only dwarfed by an initial onslaught of white shirts splattered in red, blue and purple. But also white and beige combinations impressed. Dries often pulled out the double-breasted jacket for a more formal touch, but generously offered superb loose cargo shorts as an alternative to the tailored shorts on offer. In classic Dries style there were also a few coats and jackets with contrasting sleeves. All in all, this was a step away from the usual ethnic aesthetic to a slightly Clockwork Orangy territory, which is fine because in Dries van Noten we trust.

Dazed Digital: There was a tougher attitude in this collection compared to recent ones, almost skinhead influenced, right?
Dries van Noten: Just a little. There was a lot of street culture in there, yes. I also looked towards the 70’s and French chic elegance from that time through the silk suits. But there was also a New York coolness and toughness. So I wanted to mix them and create new rules for elegance…

DD: What are those rules?
Dries van Noten: Well, this space for example – is it a raw or beautiful space with the sun, the light, the big image of the river? It’s the same way with the collection. I wanted to play with perceptions. Almost transparent tweed coats made out nylon and linen instead of wool tweed. The mohair sweaters are really 90% linen with only 10% mohair and the boots look heavy but when you lift them, they are really light.

DD: Favourite item in the show?
Dries van Noten: I would have to say the jeans!