Everybody got a backstage pass to Dries Van Noten’s military-themed show, staged behind the scenes of the Opera Garnier, with its inclined floors and imposing collection of set screens looming from the ceiling as a backdrop. Golden props were on the house, reflecting the collection’s decorative character.
Van Noten made it clear from the start that his new model army was in fact not combative, but rather suave and placid fellas, lovingly referred to as “peaceniks” by the designer. They marched in crinkled trenchcoats with maxi pockets and deconstructed military parkas that were sliced at the waist, their bottom parts reappearing as wraps over skinny track pants.
The combat boots here were more suited to a runway than the trenches. The classic tough shape lived on but was given dressy finishings like contrasting kilties or leather loops placed along the toe line, with laces passed through. An interesting choice for the often-forgotten laces — they need some fun, too. Burgundy derbies with kilties were on-trend for both the color choice and fringe benefits.
Military boots? Check. Camouflage prints? Check. But not without a psychedelic experience, à la Wes Wilson. The acid prints Van Noten employed for fall looked decadent on a high-rank military jacket, while golden badges stitched to teddies and sweaters lived up to the Belgian’s knack for embellishment.
Van Noten left no stone unturned to communicate this gentle soldier’s nonconformist nature. Crushed-velvet bathrobes and boxy pajama suits rounded out the accomplished show.