Dries Van Noten turns iPhone photos into clothes

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Dries Van Noten stepped into pandemic guns, making a bold call last spring for the fashion system to completely rewire. Over a year later, it seems, he’s taking things more and more every moment. Speaking after showing off his Spring 2022 collection, I asked how he felt that had changed for him over the past year. He said everyone has gained a new appreciation for privacy: “We have discovered how precious it can be to see just one person. “

And it’s true that everything just got nicer – designers from Jonathan Anderson to Thom Browne felt it too, and the idea animated Van Noten’s spring 2022 collection. “This is the first collection where you really feel [that] the starting point was the lockdown, ”he said. “When I first started talking about the collection to my design team, the word we always used was ‘burst’ – explosion of joy and pleasure. “

This explosion had an unusually practical source: its design team submitted their own iPhone photos of Antwerp, “so you get images that are really pretty like postcards, but other images, which are just grainy – parties. private at home, dinner at home with the dog on the couch. You had all of these very personal things.

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Photograph by Sofie Middernacht & Maarten Alexander. Courtesy of Dries Van Noten.
Photograph by Sofie Middernacht & Maarten Alexander. Courtesy of Dries Van Noten.

These images have served as the basis for this season’s exuberant prints – always a Van Noten signature, and in recent seasons more saturated and photorealistic. (In this case, they’re actually photos.) They follow a recent change, from Chinese-inspired flowers of a few years ago to leopards and 1960s Verner Panton futurism in recent seasons. Now he focuses more on collage, inspired by visual artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Isa Genzken, in whose work “the subject is not too important, but more the combination of colors and themes”. Alongside the images of the teams were etchings by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens

For the accompanying film, on Primal Scream’s “Loaded” (which, between its appearance here and its similarities to Lorde’s latest single, seems to be having a great summer), shows the models wandering around Antwerp, with the street like an ersatz gateway. He loves the intro of the song, riddled with Peter Fonda in Wild angels, which he recited with his lemony Belgian accent: “I want to take charge, I want to free myself!”

“It really gives the collection back to the city,” he said.

The garment itself is a sort of complete Van Noten wardrobe. “It wasn’t the idea that we would want to do a very edited collection,” he said. “I wanted to offer a lot of different types of clothing. So it’s not just about sewing, or focusing on something, it’s really like good work clothes; denim; soft and easy jackets made from the lightest silk pongee; [then] you go to the sewing done in the cleanest and most perfectly made english mohair.

Photograph by Sofie Middernacht & Maarten Alexander. Courtesy of Dries Van Noten.
Photograph by Sofie Middernacht & Maarten Alexander. Courtesy of Dries Van Noten.

About ten years ago, Van Noten was a beloved European designer with an American cult of connoisseurs of the art world. But over the past few years he’s gained a new generation of fans, in part thanks to those strong prints and digestible silhouettes. So, amid the chaos of the global fashion industry, things are buzzing for Van Noten. The collections he has showcased over the past year have been fantastic, especially his recent collection of wacky womenswear with choreography by Rosas, and he continued to partner with artists, printing clothes for spring. 2021 with the pictorial visions of Len Lye. His pieces move quickly on Mr. Porter and Ssense, striking a buyable balance between a safe bet, a long-term wardrobe investment, and a wearable mood lift. And he’s reinvented his stores, especially his most recent, in Los Angeles, as spaces to show off art and bring fans and customers together. “E-comm is getting more and more important,” he said, “but the lockdown has given me the inspiration to rethink physical stores, which is really a place for me to mix art, fashion and food. It’s more like a place where you can not only buy a t-shirt, but you can go there to find a very special selection of vinyl records, or maybe you want to go check out something from the archives, or you want to. just see art on the walls. Just this week, he opened a new exhibit in the LA store of works by Los Angeles ceramist (and OG Memphis band member) Peter Shire. An office approved by Dries Van Noten to work from home? Now it’s a lockdown win!

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