You'd think that a show free of theatrics would be boring and insignificant among the typical, Instagram-worthy stunts of fashion week (or rather, month), but, believe it or not, the fuss-freeness of Dries van Noten's fall 2016 ready to wear show was nothing short of refreshing. A stark set, minimal, yet completely fitting, music, and clean, but not basic, uniformity in the areas of hair and makeup all allowed the clothes to truly speak for themselves. And speak they did, in the most dramatic, elegant, and romantic of tongues. A superlative array of paradoxes was found within this collection: extravagant, yet refined; bold, yet quiet. Each look was cohesive with one another, but at the same time they didn't feel confined to a particular theme or motif. Dries van Noten is a true gem in fashion; existing as one of the original visionaries of the legendary Antwerp Six, he has managed to gain (somewhat) mainstream following and support without sacrificing his artistic integrity; a tough feat to achieve in fashion.
Like the true fashion designer-cum-intellectual he is, this season Dries van Noten pulled inspiration from the affair between Luisa Casati and the writer Gabriele D'Annunzio. Aspects of them both individually can be found in the hair and makeup of the models; his hair with her eyes, and in the seamless blending of masculine and feminine pieces; blazers and sweater vests paired with pears and silks, but the dark decadence of their relationship is present with each and every look. In fashion's present time where the majority of collections are rushed and forgettable, drawing from uninspiring and basic sources, and in turn creating lackluster and shallow garments, the work of Dries van Noten is both a refreshing oasis of well-researched, well-thought-out, and well-executed design and a shimmer of hope that fashion may see more like him.
Photos via Vogue Runway.