Monday, June 28, 2010

Dries Van Noten - Spring 2011 - Review

Right up front I'll tell you this: Dries Van Noten is one of my favorite designers. He makes the kind of men's clothing that I wish I could pull off. His designs don't follow trends (something that I love in a designer), yet they are always current. They are always recognizable, and not because they have a big monogram on them, but because of their eccentric prints and interesting proportions. When I die, I want to go to his store in Paris and live among the racks of beautiful garments (despite the fact that they don't carry mens in that store, but that will all be corrected by then I'm sure). All of that said, this was not one of my favorite collections.

The collection begins, well enough, with what Mr. Van Noten does best: double breasted jackets. Layered over acid wash jeans it's certainly new, I would venture even refreshing that he has chosen to somewhat follow the rock-star trend. What follows though is quite dull. It seems Mr. Van Noten relied on a Jackson Pollock-esque button down to add flare to looks that were black and white and lacking of any inspiring message. The acid wash jeans return, but look awkward with a pinstriped suit jacket and dress shoes. A series of "blah" looks follow in a variety of creams, whites, and blacks.

It's about half way through the collection (I would say a long time to wait) that Mr. Van Noten finally picks up speed. It begins with a double breasted white blazer over, yet again, the acid wash jeans. This time looking less awkward and more playful in a look that is blatantly dressy versus casual. An acid wash denim jacket follows; now there is a piece I could see fitting right in the Dries Van Noten store on the Seine. While things get a little too casual for my liking (at least in a runway setting) with ordinary white tank tops and tees, everything truly comes together around the 24th look.

A beautiful brown cardigan is closed with a leather belt, a grid print shirt is tucked into a better pair of acid wash jeans with a windbreaker, and an oversized khaki trench looks thrown over the perfect denim shirt and, you guessed it, yet another pair of acid wash jeans.

There are definitely some great pieces in this collection, but it is hard to appreciate it as a whole when half of the collection looks like an afterthought. Maybe I am just disappointed because I have such high standards for this designer. The second half of the collection definitely hinted at the Dries I know and love, I just wish it had been there for all 47 looks.

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