After a great first edition in Paris in 2014, the exhibition of one of Belgium’s most creative, loved by all ànd successful fashion designers has ‘landed’ in Antwerp. The Momu (Antwerp’s own fashion museum) invited Dries Van Noten to set up a second edition of his inspiration show and as we all know, a home run in your home town is always most rewarding.
The nice thing is that the exhibition is not a copy of Paris, but a next step. With new insights, exciting inspiration work from Dries his heroes and influencers, a beautiful setting and a core selection of all Dries’ 25 collections over the years.
I had the privilege to walk trough the exhibit with a collaborator of the Momu who worked with Dries personally on this show. She knew how the process evolved and how Dries was intensively creative engaged.
You enter the exposition trough a black box, a kind of a tunnel, where you get a first look at the early heroes of Dries: David Bowie, Model Pat Cleveland, The Sex Pistols, Diane Vreeland, Interview Magazine, Bruce Weber, Movies like ‘Der Blechtrommel’ and The Hunger (With Catherine Deneuve as a vampire), Cher, Kraftwerk and many, many more. A first ‘Aha’ feeling, and a recognition of a lot of my heroes and early icons too.
After this ‘quick’ instant memory walk, you enter the very dark, intimate spaces where the 25 collections are arranged by theme, and by collection year. Not chronologically, but random as it is a walk into Dries’ brain and heart.
The collections are beautiful. We know, and you witness it again. Dries is a master in color, impossible print mixes and fantastic tailored detailing. My favorite one stays the one where he was inspired by Kurt Cobain and the grunge period. Large, fluid flower paints seamlessly blend with silk forest shirts, in soft colors and looking incredibly chic. And there are many more: the toreador inspired white jacket, the – by Jane Campion inspired -Victorian collection, the African woman style mix of Spring summer 2015….
Dries shows also one piece of his graduation collection in 1981 for the Royal Academy of fine arts Antwerp. Just by looking at this long kimono jacket in snake leather with appliqué motifs, gives you an ‘incontournable’ glimpse of Dries’ genius in the making. You all ready recognize his signature style, his eye for detail and finishing’s and the daring color choice.
The list of artists by whom Dries is inspired is endless and very exclusive. The great part is: all the original art works also join in the exhibition: art pieces by Damien Hirst, a Pol Burry, a Vasareli, a drawing by Rubens, a Picasso…
Also people where a true source for Dries: Rudolf Nureyev, the Russian star ballet dancer, Jimi Hendrickx, Pedro Almodovar, Nick Cave and Pina Bausch. In the spirit ‘the great inspire the great’, we see fashion pieces of Cristóbal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior and Madame Grès combined with Van Noten’s collections.
Another nice feature is a small set of Iris Apfel. She donated for Dries a huge deal of her famous accessories, just to be part of the show. She send way to much and phoned Dries ‘if he had enough’…
Dries explains: “This is a work of introspection, a reflection on myself and the way I work, both as a designer and in my relation to art and the other areas I love.”
“What I do is neither a photocopy nor an homage. It is all about being inspired by someone else’s work and transposing it into a different setting, an operation that is as subjective as it is personal. I do not want to use art simply as decoration, as a mere backdrop. The aim is to link different elements together, thereby describing how I go about creating things.”
The exhibition includes photographs, video, movies, musical references, as well as works by renowned artists, from public and private collections, that triggered the imagination of Dries Van Noten in the course of his life and career.
This is a must see. For fashion pro’s, for art lovers, for creative people, for dreamers, for musicians, for all those who love the creative process and want to understand how it works for someone else.
I loved it.
If you need one reason to go, let it be the superb craftsmanship of Dries’ team.
Or the pure beauty of his clothes.
Or all Van Noten’s fashion show movies you get to watch over and over again.
Or, just for the very intimate, poetic set up of the exhibition itself.
Just go. You have time until July 19th.
2000 Antwerp, Belgium T +32 3 470 27 70
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MoMu + Friends is the Antwerp Fashion Museum’s circle of friends. Did you know that the friends of the Fashion Museum always receive free access to the exhibition and can also bring an extra person? In addition, you can participate in all kinds of exclusive special activities for the friends. For 50 EUR a year, you can become a MoMu+Friends. Join in at friends.momu.be
©ALL photos by Kate Stockman_THE SQUID STORIES, except the images from the fashion shows.