Dries Van Noten’s AW 2019 Blooms Through Darkness

Van Noten displays his signature use of color with natural imagery in Paris.

Recent times are dark and dreary. Dries Van Noten knows this and chose to contextualize his AW 2019 show in light of said darkness. Known for his use of color and natural prints, Van Noten chose to showcase florals in this collection, but not in his typical fashion. “I wanted roses but not sweet roses—roses with an edge, roses for now. Flowers can be romantic, but this I wanted to take out, because the times are tougher than in the past.” Collected from the designer’s home garden, the images of flowers were screen printed onto fabric to emulate their energy and vibrancy, but also their “diseases, the black spot, the imperfections.”

The show starts and ends with a similar mood of austerity. The looks feel utilitarian; charcoal pantsuits and puffer jackets, tailored to perfection, creating stiff, angular silhouettes for the models carrying them. There’s an appreciation for their structure and elegance, presenting sleek contrast for the vivid floral garments sandwiched between the show’s two dark extremes. The first flower peaks through around the collar of a grey button-down shirt, fusing the stoic beginning and the expressive middle of the show together in a hint of what to expect. Henceforth, the bouquet explodes: orange carnations on sheer fabric are layered over a purple sheath dress and a crop of copper roses crowd a black turtleneck. Petals pop and colorful leaves bring warmth to the runway. Clutched in hand and wrapped around necks, faux fur throws, dyed in neon orange and fuchsia, accompany the models in their blooming ensembles. This show was a celebration of flora and fauna during a time where life seems to be seeping out of the cracks of our social fabric. Even in darkness, beauty shows through the dread around us.

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