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Dries Van Noten AW15, Dazed backstage, Paris, Womenswear
Left, Astrid Holler (IMG), centre, Maartje Verhoef (Women), right, Nika Cole (IMG) backstage at Dries Van Noten AW15Photography Virginia Arcaro

Dries Van Noten AW15

Clothes that paid homage to the great lovers of fashion – like Isabella Blow and Anna Piaggi

Initial reaction:

A passion for fashion sounds like a shallow, clichéd description, but Dries van Noten dedicated this collection to women with exactly that. Women like Isabella Blow and Anna Piaggi, whose passion ran very deep. Another muse was Jane Birkin, who was a guest at the show (she loved the “richness” of it all). “I admire women who have style who do what they want to do,” said van Noten after the show. “It was about passionate women of the past that were so crazy about fashion and tried to bring back that old-fashioned craziness.” But you don’t have to be completely cray-cray to mix khaki with rich brocades and jacquards, or ballgown-esque skirts worn over trousers in over-dyed cotton. Flowers and feathers which adorned the neck tapped into the designer’s love of gardening. With a lingering soundtrack that celebrated the diversity of voices and female empowerment, it was yet another milestone in emotive van Noten collections. 

The fabric of feminism:

“We’ve never gone so far with fabric development as we did this season,” said van Noten. “We’d go to the mills and the possibilities we had were had were incredible – weaving by hand, printing by hand, different ways of applying pigment. It was a real trip.” It came as no surprise that van Noten once again pushed his fabrics to communicate his emotions but here, he really connected their complexity with the way that women can have nuanced feelings about clothes. The way that the likes of Blow and Piaggi would have harboured deep feelings about what they wore and how they projected themselves. The designer has always been sympathetic to the way women would like to really dress but with this collection, he hammered home that point. 

Empowered soundscape:

Van Noten, together with longtime collaborator and show producer Etienne Russo has created some seminal fashion week moments in the past. Moving on from last season’s serene collective forest sit-down, for AW15 we were instead confronted with powerful voices. Massive Attack, Blondie, Nancy Sinatra, Courtney Love, Kate Bush, Jane Birkin, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Kylie Minogue and finally Björk. Their greatest hits performed in acappella hung in the air – which made you appreciate the lyrics and their vocal chops all the more. This eclectic mix of female artists mirrored the nature of the collection. “Anything goes and you can have fun with it,” van Noten simply said. With its genre and gender mixing, it recalled yet another woman, with a zealous passion for fashion – Diana Vreeland and her famous columns in 1950s Harper’s Bazaar that began with: “Why don’t you…?”