Backstage, proud pop Dries Van Noten was flashing photos of his new pup, but it was finance rather than fatherhood that was making him think about safety nets. “We have to be more careful now,” he said, “but it’s interesting to work with restrictions. It makes us more creative.” So the new collection’s emphasis on the sartorial only seemed like playing it safe. Appropriately traditional English wovens such as herringbone, bird’s-eye, and twill were combined with the latest in fabric technology. Perversely, the tech fabrics looked more traditional than the old stuff, but that fit with Van Noten’s proven knack for twisting past, present, and future together; the belted suits, the big lapels, the bird’s-eye blouson and pants that looked a little like an airman’s uniform all had a feel for the forties. Then there was a jacquard peacoat, a navy coat with an oily sheen, and a monochrome group (all green, all gunmetal, all burgundy) that brought things smartly up to date. Van Noten insisted the key to the collection was the juxtaposition of huge military bag and small crocodile pochette carried by the first model. Radically different notions of masculinity, with some risk involved—sounds like a broad definition of the Van Noten ethos.
This review was originally published on men.style.com on January 22, 2009. It has been added to Vogue Runway in June 2021 as a part of The Lost Season.