A white look to open Dries van Noten! Quelle surprise! The master of print and embroidery had been enamoured with a blank canvas. Indeed, this collection was filled with stark whites and bright tones - not a paisley or psychedelic print in sight. This was Van Noten looking to the now, 'neither nostalgia for yesterday nor fixation upon tomorrow.' Clean and fresh - even the opening music was simpler, with a metronome instilling the beat. White looks morphed into Yves Klein blue with the graphic print of a paintbrush, and mid-calf length dresses came to life with the addition of stark, optic, monochromatic stripes.
Elegant, couture-like details such as jewelled, structural rings and delicate net-like beading were juxtaposed with utilitarian workwear - a divine combination that had most viewers practically beaming. The arms and torso of bomber and jumpsuit were belted and folded around the waist, some with drawstring and some in a controlled, sturdy cotton. All fantastic. Actually, the hybridisation throughout was exemplary. The feathers - environmentally sourced - were an inviting opulence amongst the sleeveless shirts and industrial belting; they appeared as decadent skull caps and high-heel adornments. Said feathers also appeared in abstract form, as plastic detailing on teal and neon pencil skirts, mini tote-bag and orange camisoles - almost as if sequins. A modern method of embellishment for Van Noten.
A confident step, this collection had a surprising number of trend pieces. Van Noten has always walked to the beat of his own drum with his embroidery presentations and pattern influences, but here he had added popular neons, plastics and cross-terrain influences instead. Perhaps the influence of Puig (the Spanish luxury conglomerate acquired a major stake of the household name last season) was at play here, or perhaps this is Van Noten's new way to play. 'It's important that we have a new take on embroidery,' added Van Noten. This collection certainly was a new take and a really rather wonderful one.