Dries Van Noten Menswear Spring Summer 2014 Paris
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While visiting the Arts Décoratifs in preparation for his career spanning retrospective which opens next year, Dries Van Noten delved into the museum’s expansive textile archives and emerged with a blooming good notion, especially for an avid gardener like Noten. “When you study history, sometimes it’s acceptable for men to wear flowers and sometimes people consider it very feminine,” he explained after the show, surrounded his beautiful garment patch. From crowned heads to kings of the stage, tortured geniuses to knights of high culture, Louis the Sixteenth, Jimi Hendricks, Oscar Wilde and Jean Cocteau were his floral muses and inspired a collection that exuded the combined oomph of Van Noten’s powerful thought, mixed with a topic he truly loves.

Boiler-suited boys passed out bottles of water and glasses of wine, guests waited in the shimmering golden light of mammoth sheets hung high up on the ceiling of the Halle Freyssinet for Dries Van Noten’s summer to start, expectantly eyeing the sparkly gold drum-kit halfway down the runway.  As drummer Cindy Blackman’s sticks made contact, the first model emerged, nonchalantly stalking down the long runway in dark surf shorts, a T-shirt and a silky robe, sunglasses perched on his nose, there was a collective intake of breath that would not be let out until all that was left in the room was golden haze.

Whether taken from ornate tapestries or created from freshly cut specimens, subtly woven fabric or heavy bullion embroidery curling around itself like a golden inflorescence, these flowers were balanced out by darker shades and masculine cuts. And what better piece to embody the whole idea than the surf short? “If you want to push them out of their comfort zone, just look at the surf short: men are wearing the craziest flower prints,” Van Noten mused. "Take that print to the city." As with Blackman’s single-instrument richness, the collection mowed down any remaining doubts about how manly florals can be.



- Lily Templeton

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