The Persistence of Memory

Dries Van Noten’s designs are a sensory feast – to experience them fully is not to just submit the eye to his creativity, but the ear, hand and mind as well.

The light caught on a gilded jacquard is just as important as how a blouse slips against the skin, the way silk harmonizes against silk or the nostalgia evoked by his silhouettes. He truly emphasized hearing alongside feeling and seeing in the runway show for this collection – the catwalk was set behind a live performance by the experimental drumming of Belgian musician Lander Gyselinck. However, when experiencing the pieces independently, Dries interest in perception and memory comes first to mind.

In this delivery, Dries explores how we care for cherished clothing – mending and repairing things over and over again… even when they are nearly falling apart, because they are just that important. Dries referred to this as “the opposite of showing off,” instead turning his focus to the small things that comprise a darling object, such as embroidered details, hidden darting and shimmering velvets.

Your mother’s best pair of palazzo pants, a blazer two-times too big borrowed from your favorite brother, the slinky dress you found in an Italian thrift store that feels tailor-made for your shape – it’s sentimental dressing moments like these that Dries calls upon and references throughout the collection.

This fascination with garment as memory extends even to Dries obsession interpreting and reinterpreting florals – an element universal to history and the human experience. Where in previous seasons he has abstracted his botanics, now he showcases natural elements in divine splendor. Magnified aster push up against nigh-invisible embroidered roses, contrasted by itty-bitty lilies poking out from a tufted jacquard. If his collection this past spring was about reconstructing and deconstructing his library of florals, this one is about replanting the archive altogether.

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