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Dries Van Noten Womenswear SS13

Slacker dressing gets a pretty uplift by the renowned print designer

PhotographyLea ColomboTextSusie Lau

If last season was about precision printing and careful culture re-appropriation then Dries van Noten wanted to relax and – dare say – 'slack off' into a season that meandered between upscale pyjama dressing and 90s grunge. That's not to say there was anything lazy about what Van Noten showed and if anything, demonstrated that he was a master of mixing prints into a seemingly effortless mélange where often, you didn't know where check started and florals ended.  "I had got tired of the slick and minimalism (not that I was ever a minimalist) of last season and I just wanted to have fun with clothes. I wanted to make a statement by putting clothes together instead of using digital prints," explained Dries after the show. It was this fun element that meant Van Noten never forgot that there is a wearer at the end of the runway and once again he hit the core of womens' desires by interplaying masculine with feminine in ways that weren't unchartered territory for him.




The humble lumberjack check shirts and t-shirts was elevated through fabrics such as organza, taffeta and lame and were often contrasted with more decadent pieces such as a silk pencil skirt covered in floral applique. This burst of decorative florals was subtly employed throughout the show, often pared down with the hero item of the collection, being a silk shirt. Soft peplums at the waist and billowing backs only added to the slouchy demeanour of the collection as opposed to making any theatrical gestures. Van Noten turned the recent trend of pyjama dressing on its head and made it entirely his own with embroidered robes and kimono jackets mixing seamlessly with trousers, cut like pyjama bottoms. A grey sweater over a checked shirt and sheer floral printed trousers perhaps summarised the slouchy insouciance of this collection. In some ways, this was textbook Van Noten; a collection to be revelled for all its seductive propositions of layering and print-mixing. Still, there’s no getting away from the emotive ways that Van Noten’s shows gets under your skin - through the soundtrack (grunged-up version of Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head and Sonic Youth’s cover of Superstar) and definitely through the way his clothes always jostle with subtle contrasts and a distinctive maverick ease. “It was the spirit of putting your hands in your pockets and you go.”