“Theme for Great Cities” by Simple Minds is one of Dries Van Noten’s favorite tracks from the ’80s, and this majestic instrumental, stretched out adroitly for maximum drama by 2manydjs, proved a fabulous soundtrack for the designer’s fall menswear show.
The theme for the collection was “Unexpected Elegance,” a catch-all for Van Noten’s inimitable melting pot of contrasting fabrics, volumes and attitudes. It was truly great for wearing in any city.
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Van Noten long ago dispensed with his evocative runway installations, lately preferring nondescript parking garages or buildings under renovation, stripped to the bare concrete.
He chose the latter on Thursday night and let the clothes do all the talking.
“An elegant look for young guys, but combining things sometimes in a rather strange way,” is how the designer described his intention backstage.
There were oddities, mostly in the styling: the way chunky ribbed-knit sweaters with an arching side zip were half worn: one sleeve filled, the other wound around the neck like a scarf. Ribbed knit details recurred as wide cuffs on all manner of coats.
Denim shirts were bunched up and caught with big safety pins — a punk touch — and a camel polo shirt stretched to the fingertips.
Van Noten’s outerwear offering was varied, from the trimmest, narrowest topcoat to more voluptuous coats in heavy wools or sturdy canvas. All oozed a sophisticated chic, and reflected the designer’s broad design register, and formidable tailoring chops.
Cargo pants and full-legged styles in crinkled or technical nylons tamed the formality of the tailored jackets and coats, as did the very flat, sock-like dress shoes that are gaining momentum this European season.
“Every guy is different and every guy needs a different type of pants, and that’s what we tried to show,” the designer shrugged backstage when asked about the proportions.
Striking but never jarring, Van Noten’s knack for combining colors and prints, and matching trouser volumes to a diverse array of tailored toppers, warrants closer study for anyone interested in pursuing great style.
Launch Gallery: Dries Van Noten Men's Fall 2024
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