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Dries Van Noten – invasion of plaid and silk flowers

I loved Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2013 show even while finding it perplexing, for some of the usual reasons – how do those fabrics fit together?  Where do you wear that?  Who would ever wear that?.  Even though I couldn’t answer those questions, the more I looked at it, the more I saw this edgy femininity and began to really parse out what entranced me.  

  • Skirts adorned with three dimensional flowers in the most ethereal colors, paired with gauzy plaid shirts – dinner party, Saturday brunch in a big city, a day in your shared co-office space, networking your next big idea surrounded by eight feet tall windows that look out on the East River.
  • Shiny businesslike vests, looking like jackets with the sleeves torn right off,  some with high contrast peplums attached – right at home in Traverse City. Maybe not in March where the next few weeks are the grimmest of the grim, but soon.
  • The somber palette which tones down some of the more extravagant looks.  The navy, graphite, cream and repeated red and blue plaid also feel like mature colors which also makes the looks more approachable even while they’re monkey crazy.

This collection also makes me sad, calls up a yearning for things I wanted  and never had – easy grace, flowing, sexy and messy hair, a fire hot androgyny, some wild job involves having two huge Mac computers on my desk and bean bag chairs all over the floor and endless quantities of Rhodia notebooks and Waterman pens.  I get this way all the time when I stare and stare as I try and write a post and reflect on what the hell I am doing with this blog. It’s fun to read the answers to “What kind of woman are you designing for?”  She’s urban, she’s modern, she knows what she wants, she’s a party girl and a banker, she’s comfortable looking sexy, and on and on.  Admittedly, the replies are more astute than this in many cases and yet you don’t ever hear that she’s a school teacher or that she’s has to wash off the stink of MacDonald’s every night.  That’s because the designers are creating an idea, an aspiration.  And they have no interest in school teachers or fast food clerks or a woman in northern Michigan who’s watching her waistline and feet expand.  That’s OK though, because I get to have my dream that I will, one day soon, dress in clothes that delight me every day.

Enough blather, onto the clothing.  The most stunning look of the whole thing is this outfit.  And you can see it much, much better on the NY Times site I linked to in the first paragraph. It’s look 19. Sharp and breathtaking.  I might try and run a mile if it would win me some of that skirt fabric.  The sheer layer just at the bottom of the skirt is the best sheer layer idea around.  Sheer layers are all over the place and most of them are simply irresponsible. This is reasonable and wearable.

dries three

Here is my most likely outfit, without the pants:

dries five

Up close (again, try the NY Times site), the jacket is amazing and that easy take on a blouse underneath is very compelling.  I’d wear dark jeans instead.  No one is tricking me into floral pants this year, or ever.

And this was pretty ravishing, one of those Mount Everest outfits that requires extensive training in rarified air, years of work really.  It’s not likely to happen. It will haunt me. And many of you will think “Huh? Really?  Isn’t this sort of ugly?”  Maybe. Maybe not.

dries two

And I seem to recall mentioning a sewing plan.  Hmm.  Still hate the idea but am inching towards it.  The cork board strips are up, they look great.  Apparently I cannot get enough of applique.  We’ll see what happens with that.


Image source for all photos.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Elaine Penney #

    Pretty wild. Some of the dresses are fairly tame – 24,28,30. Dresses are IN this spring and summer. I’ve seen look #36 a time or 2 or 3 here in TC – only with camo pants instead of flowers. We could start a trend here with #44, tucking only one side of the blouse. Can see DK in #45. What’s with all the bathrobes – 5,46,48?

    March 13, 2013
  2. June Rengo #

    As usual, intriguing and mystifying. Can’t wait to see the strips, since no picture of them come to mind. CA is lovely, going from cool and damp to sunny and warm, with a bit ofa chilly breeze–all in one day. Love, Mom

    March 14, 2013
  3. Nancy #

    I love your favorite too- I would wear that out to dinner, maybe even work in both instances it would be sans the plunging neckline, which is always an issue for me. I know, I know add a camisole but I find that it always changes, if not ruins, the look.

    April 11, 2013

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