When it comes to menswear, Dries Van Noten rarely plays by the rules.
But even by his own standards, he set himself a tough challenge for autumn-winter 2013, aiming to produce clothes for men “that may not ever been in their wardrobe.”
Considering that one main theme of the show was the use of night-time pyjamas for day jackets and outerwear, in this challenge the Belgian designer most definitely succeeded. That is, of course, provided there are no sleepwalkers out there with black, orange and paisley pyjamas in their closet.
The result of this unorthodoxy? Astoundingly, one of the most elegant shows Van Noten has done in recent memory.
It’s owed mainly to how the pyjama style was worked: luxuriously, in soft and heavy brushed jacquards, cashmere and double quilted silks and velvets.
It gave many of the looks a regal quality — albeit a very hip one.
As ever, Van Noten used contradictions as the dynamic of his wardrobe.
The more feminine types of fabrics and tonal colours, as well as tight pants, contrasted with boyish, slouchy forms of the loose jackets and sweaters — creating plays on volume.
The programme notes remark that the “special and precious are often disguised as the ordinary.” Here, we saw this paradox — so typical of the 54-year-old designer — in a crumpled black hooded coat with luxury printed lining and then flashes of fastidiously embroidered denim.
This was no rules dressing at its best.