Dries Van Noten
Conversation with Belgian creator Dries Van Noten. He explains the spirit of his 2001 spring/summer collection, and brings up the "Belgian school" of fashion.
A surprisingly discreet person in an exuberant universe of creators, Dries van Noten is a leader in Belgian fashion. Having graduated from the Royal Academy in Anvers in 1981, it wasn't long before he was noticed by the organisers of the British Designer Show in London at a time when Belgian tailors were almost unheard of.
Surrounded by his friends from Anvers, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Hee, nicknamed the "band of six", Dries van Noten pierced a breach in a universe that was still dominated by Paris and Milan. Recognition came 15 years later in 2001, Anvers was labelled European capital of fashion.
This designers creations have a history of being influenced by an "ethnic" touch, even if he rejects this term. Nowadays he neglects that mixture but his clothes are still characterised by associations which could become improbable if they weren't so subtle. Passionate for precious fabrics that he contrasts with strict cuts, this man in his 50s has fashion design in his blood, the trade being passed down from father to son for four generations.