We arrived at Dries Van Noten very early this season, following an uncharacteristic gap in the schedule after Yohji Yamamoto. Usually this would give us a few minutes to take in the minimal set and muse on the collection’s possible direction, but it seemed like this time he was giving nothing away pre-show. The space was a cavernous circular basement underneath the Grand Palais, with seating around the extremities, leaving a huge open derelict space for the action to take place.
In fact, the choice of venue, resembling an underground rave, perfectly captured the message of the show, another tour de force in the Dries canon. Backstage he talked of youth, street style, and raves. The collection gave us these in abundance, with a more youthful feeling than we have become used to — which certainly pleased the increasingly young front row — and a distinct lack of print in favor of treatments and color blocks. The colors were so vivid they blew away the derelict surroundings and put the focus on the sport- and military-influenced silhouettes. But then Van Noten deemphasized the color, sending out models in monochrome flanks, literally trooping the color.
However, it wasn’t all youth chez Dries. Underneath the technical bombers were touches of decadent poetry, in the form of funnel-necked pearly ruffles and fox-fur stoles falling around the collars of military parkas — a deliciously unexpected Dries-ian twist and a nod to the ongoing preparations for his epic retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in March.