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Dries Van Noten Womenswear S/S11

Delicate and pallid yet masculine cocoons dominated Van Noten's latest collection

With last season's seminal show that marked Dries Van Noten's notable foray into clothes that were cleverly adapted and inspired by 'streetstyle', who knew what to expect for the new season. For some, it will seem slightly timid in the way that it danced across so many elements all in one go; iridescent surface, florals, washed out denim and a slouchy silhouette that went from mannish to 40s elegance in various stages. However, fine and delicate in the hands of Van Noten, with his deft hand in prints and palette means that you're touched by the subtle degrade in a raw silk jacket or the bleached out floral print on a silk dress. In a continuity from last season, masculinity enters through the slouchy oversized sleeves and shoulders in a jacket that contrast with the softer elements of the collection. There was no need to shout in this instance when the 'softly does it' approach works a treat.

Dazed Digital: What prompted the lightness and softness in this collection?
Dries Van Noten:
It's a lot of things. I wanted to do something fragile but on the other hand something very strong - like in the big menswear-esque volumes and the 90s approach in the collection but we also wanted to have something that evoked the quirky feeling of the 70s. The pastels though came from the prints that came from Chinese porcelain but then we bleached them. Then you had these strange leftover of prints that was a strong part of the collection.

DD: Where did the variation in floral motifs come from?
Dries Van Noten:
It was really us looking at all types of porcelain. It's quite amazing how they build up the structures in circles and it was interesting to cut the prints up, like put a flower on a shoulder or bleach them out so there are a few traces of the prints.

DD: Talk about the shapes in the collection which were very masculine in feel.
Dries Van Noten:
I really thought of people wearing something feminine with something quite masculine so that's how the big jackets happened. For me, there's something so elegant and eternal about a white shirt. We did them all variations of the white shirt under and over things as well as using a lot of different white fabrics.