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Dries Van Noten Womenswear A/W11

An articulate balance of Ziggy and Diaghilev was injected into the Belgian designer's collection of artful print paintings

Whilst a gaggle of designers have been looking to the Cristobal Balenciaga exhibition in New York, Dries Van Noten headed for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, the subject of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s major exhibition last year. Though Van Noten may not have seen it himself, he took elements of Bakst’s costume and Nijinsky’s freeform choreography to channel it into a collection that was likewise, more exuberant, ornate and delightfully chaotic than last season. Still, everything was always checked and controlled into snake-skin embedded belted coats, fur sleeved jackets and double breasted gold lame suits. Throw in the Ziggy-inspired glamrock swirly graphic print which timed with 2 Many DJs’ brilliantly remixed version of David Bowie’s Heroes and we had ourselves an exacting masterclass of print and embellishment mixing that made the audience swell in time with the rousing soundtrack.
Dazed Digital: Did you go see the Ballet Russes exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum?
Dries Van Noten:
I missed it. Everyone told me it was brilliant but I didn’t get to go! I have the book and many other books – that was for me the starting point. I was looking at the costumes – when you see the free combination of elements – like the prints. They made new things out of bits and pieces.  I thought that was so beautiful. Instead of making pieces with a big all-over print, I preferred this time to combine a lot of little things and make them into new things.

DD: What prompted this return to a collaged mode of working as opposed to the streamlined look of last season?
Dries Van Noten:
I feel very passionate about my job. By choosing ‘Heroes’ for the soundtrack., a song about passion and love, I wanted to do a very personal collection, something that I enjoy so much – using lots of colours and lots of prints into one collection.
DD: Did it signify you looking back on your own past work?
Dries Van Noten:
It’s not about really looking back. But of course I have my Dadaist moments and in some ways things will always come back.

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