Dries Van Noten

Van Noten is a Belgium designer who shows in Paris – no haute couture, just RTW.  I think he’s always had great line and cut in his clothes although he probably got lost in all the garbage known as grunge, but that might have been to his favor.  At any rate, his latest show is receiving great reviews.  But for me there are a ton of ideas in here.

This is what all the fuss is about – Asian/Oriental prints in an Occental cut.  It’s great and I love it, but what I really love is the cut of the print on the fabric.  This looks like some sort of fabulous wool/silk blend (it might be something else), and most likely it was woven specifically for Van Noten, and only if we were fantastically lucky would we be able to get this fabric.  But we (sewists) could do something else, and that is find some wonderful fabric like this and seam it in these wonderful cut lines.  This is exactly what I’m talking about when you take a designer apart, and how you can learn from that.  I’m not sure I would ever want to do this exact same thing, but put that in green…..

And I’m all over this look, but if you don’t like green it will probably make you throw up.

Here’s a fabulous cut and design.  Love the working of the pattern on one side (and even the sleeve head matches) and the belt are all a great look.  Next time you think about using a pattern consider using it on one side.  It makes for a very effective design – and yes, this is classic!  Why?  He’s used a classic cut and a classic historical design element – classic+classic=classic.

When I thought about using this design in my post, I thought I had better tame it down and morph out a lot of the design, but as I did, it really took away from the design.  This is what a great designer does, and this is why everyone is raving about Van Noten.  First, look at how the bottom pattern matches (way cool!), although it does not necessarily match on the upper part, he only put the lower pattern on her left side and the whole pattern on the right side (great design).  Next, look at the shoulder sleeve area and the design continues there.  Finally the color blocking – this is advanced color blocking so make use of it.  It’s beautifully designed with the pattern, cut, line, style and pattern design.  Van Noten has thrown all of that into one outfit, when it could have been (and easily could have been) a mish-mash of a mess, instead it’s a home run. These are the things we can learn from designers once we start looking at their beautiful clothes.

If I were do be inspired by this, I would use a clean cut pattern (jacket or jacket/coat – collar or no – your preference), and pick out a patterned fabric (Van Noten has focused on Asian, which would be good to stick with) and solids.  Then I would make these seam into pieces (I’m not sure if this is what Van Noten did here, or if this is a fabric printed specifically for him, but it doesn’t matter cause unless you are very lucky, you probably won’t find anything like this fabric).  I’m obsessed with silk, so I would probably do this in something like a silk tussah or dupioni and try and find the Asian print in an equal weight silk.

One more piece of eye candy:

For those of you who embroider or have those fabulous embroidery machines, here’s an excellent idea for them – love these bird prints – mallard ducks, I think on this beautiful coat.

Hopefully this has stirred your little gray cells working!

  1. I can relate to this collection. I love that the belts appear to be the simple elastic clasp belt style. I have a dark turquoise sari with gold embroidery that my grandmother brought back from India for me in 1963. I have never cut into it. Nope, not right for this project. Perhaps some of those beautiful border prints on Spoonflower printed on the organic cotton/silk.

  2. I would really appreciate your commentary for sewists as related to the Haider Ackerman fall 2012 collection. His designs are incredible, especially his jackets. How do we find patterns that can be adapted to have that looK?

  3. Haider Ackerman got slammed in the NY Times yesterday, and she has a point. I like the first coat or dress the best and the black and gold jacket works for me. Not the last one at all. It starts getting too complicated.

  4. Yeah, Nancy, some of those designers can get way out there….(like the last one I showed), but there were some interesting ones. I’m sort of Pollyanna about this, and either see only the good ones and totally discard the rest, or else just don’t see the bad stuff, cause it doesn’t concern me. I’m just constantly gleaning through pictures of runway stuff that sometimes, I know I’m not trying to even look at the bad stuff, and maybe this comes from having to go through so much of the styles of the last 15 years or so.

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