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Apr 03, 2024

The top 5 Dries Van Noten shows we’ll never forget

Dries Van Noten’s impending exit from the fashion world reverberates as one of the industry’s seismic shifts, aligning with recent notable transitions like Pierpaolo Piccioli’s departure from Valentino and Alessandro Michele’s succession. With June in Paris on the horizon, all eyes once again converge on the City of Light. While Valentino withdraws from menswear and haute couture presentations, anticipation surges for Van Noten’s farewell at his men’s Spring-Summer 2025 show. 

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What lies ahead? After an illustrious 38-year tenure and over 100 collections, Dries Van Noten hands over the reins to his design team for the brand’s next chapter. The Antwerp luminary confirms a new creative director will steer its trajectory. Speculation abounds regarding his successor as ‘Dries-mania’ permeates fashion circles, underscored by the surging demand for archival treasures from the label founded by the poetic soul of the Antwerp Six in 1986. Vogue Business captures the essence of this term, encapsulating the fervour. This frenzy echoes in second-hand market analytics, with platforms like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective spotlighting Dries Van Noten as the most sought-after label.

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The enduring fascination with Dries Van Noten’s body of work begs the question: what is the secret to his collections’ lasting appeal? Featuring an interplay of patterns, colours, and textures, Dries Van Noten is known for his creative endeavours in garment design. He presents a perfect blend of classic and avant-garde elements that have captured everyone’s hearts since his first collection. However, his vision extends beyond clothing. In his shows, the designer pays meticulous attention to the details of the runway environment, infusing it with theatricality. This approach ensures that each occasion is as experiential as possible, leaving spectators with memories that will endure for years to come. 

With Dries Van Noten’s announcement of his withdrawal from his eponymous brand, it’s time to reflect on his five most impressive shows.


Dries Van Noten Menswear Spring-Summer 1995

Inspired by the Côte d’Azur, the production showcased tailored, mostly neutral-coloured pieces accented with subtle patterns and accessories like ties and handkerchiefs.

Against a lush garden backdrop, a relaxed yet classically elegant aura infused the garments and the models’ confident stride. The show concluded with all the models exiting the catwalk on bicycles and smiling, which created a joyful and carefree scene.


Dries Van Noten Womenswear Spring-Summer 2005

As chandeliers illuminated the room and a skilled pianist entertained the attendees, the Belgian designer hosted a party for his guests.

Models walked along long tables showcasing floral prints, Indian beading, and embroideries combined with white shirts and voluminous bottoms. Guests dined and drank amidst the show. Celebrating the brand’s 50th collection, the distinctive feature was the seamless integration of garments and tables, linked by tapestry-like prints and white cotton. Additionally, guests received a Polaroid of the chandeliers above as a gift.



Dries Van Noten Menswear Fall-Winter 2012/13

“Can you imagine Frank Zappa and Oscar Wilde in the same room? Dries Van Noten could,” stated Tim Blanks.

Inspired by these two cultural icons, the collection juxtaposed eye-catching, colourful prints representing the artist with black and solemn tailored pieces featuring military elements depicting the writer. This striking contrast formed the essence of the collection, accentuated by artists painting murals of Wilde’s and Zappa’s words at the back as models walked the runway. These words later revealed themselves as the prints on the garments, creating an incredible symbiosis between set and clothing.


Dries Van Noten Womenswear Spring-Summer 2015  

Models walked down a mossy-covered runway and reclined upon it at the show’s culmination, paying homage to the inspiration — Ophelia by John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite painting that fueled hippie fantasies.

The collection bore the unmistakable imprint of the designer, with pieces brimming with colour, textures, and patterns. Layering and menswear design components were seamlessly integrated, reflecting the designer’s signature style, akin to a fairy-tale element evoking the aura of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Dries Van Noten Men’s Wear Spring-Summer 2023

In his latest runway presentation, Dries Van Noten delved into the Zazou subculture of 1940s Paris, where youth, elegantly attired, danced away their troubles to swing jazz at the Pam Pam Cafe. Additionally, he explored the Buffalo-style movement of 1980s London.

The collection seamlessly merged masculine and feminine elements in tailoring and form-fitting garments, complemented by printed pants reminiscent of biker pants, relaxed cargo bottoms, and letter-printed shorts that captured the essence of an underground cult. The choice of a harsh rooftop venue in a Parisian car park provided an immersive setting, allowing the audience to witness the struggles endured by these male subcultures.


This deeply personal and human approach to intertwining clothing and its presentation has been a hallmark of Dries Van Noten’s career. However, the designer’s exceptional ability to craft an immersive atmosphere around his clothing stands out in the mentioned shows. By submerging the audience into his vision, these shows have transcended mere fashion presentations, and will undoubtedly remain an integral part of his legacy, much like his innovative contributions to the fashion industry.



Ximena Fernández Ochoa
Fashion Business, Digital Communication & Media, 2nd year, Milano