Dries Van Noten’s independence gives him the luxury of time to develop ideas at his own pace, which is so rare today. For fall, Van Noten continues his exploration of print technique. This time he took embroidered and hand painted Japanese kimonos and Chinese ceremonial robes, laid them flat and copied their complex, multicolored patterns to use in fragments in western shapes. The result, which was rich, but light in soft skirts and coordinated blouses, tunics, dresses and cinch-belted coats. Some of Van Noten’s dark tweed tailoring sports Asian dragons and birds embroidered in gold over the shoulders, and there’s a mix of boiled and worn out military khaki patchworked with classic men’s trouser wools into ample pants and tailoring. By the end of the show Van Noten was piling on the fur in natural and frankly dyed colors for collars, sleeves and as a chubby over wool jackets and coats.
Belgian in Paris Glenn Martens worked under Jean-Paul Gaultier and it shows in his solid way with casual tailoring making a bomber jacket look chic in teal moire with a collection of industrial gold belt clips placed asymmetrically for example. For his first collection Martens took inspiration from Bruges where he was raised so there’s a neo-gothic, midieval undercurrent to these simple pieces in dove grays and midnight blues with lots of jackets over coats and lean and simple knitwear.
Elsewhere the dark arts of fashion were alive and kicking. The front runner here is Gareth Pugh who is a master with texture. This time his material of choice is fur. Pugh piled on long hair pelts in black and shiny grey as well as extra-thick fringe layers for a shaggy take on flapper style alternating with elliptical space princess shapes in thick matte stretch and technical satin and matte leather secondskins. Nicolas Andreas Taralis’ collection was all about tailoring in narrow, razor-sharp jackets, slashed, sashed and crossed over in front for a touch of Victorian, straight jacket restraint. And Nicola Formichetti with Mugler womenswear designer Sébastien Peigné went back to Thierry Mugler’s 1997 insect collection and inserted a dose of Japanese warrior for a show set to an original score by Ryuichi Sakamoto remixed live by Michel Gaubert which ended the day on a highly theatrical note.