Dries Does Celestial

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dries Van Noten must have watched  the House of Flying Daggers recently. Much like the movies protagonist, the models walked through a flurry of kimono fabric sliced into a whirl of patterns in which flew gold embroidered phoenix and dragons. The prints were made up of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean kimono’s and dragon robes (courtesy of the V&A archives) laid out and turned into prints which were sliced and reassembled until the pieces floated across a white silk jacket, and a long dress, creating an effect that in some cases reminded me of a Grecian chiton draped around the body. the reassembly took away the potentially costumey aspect of such iconography and made it more accessible.

The embroidery crept over tailored jackets and coats, a Phoenix coiling around a sleeve, or a Dragon writhing across the right side of a blazer. Gold also made an appearance as rectangular metal sequins on a skirt and a jacket, but they seemed out of place, clunky amidst what was otherwise quite fluid. But then perhaps juxtaposition was also the point, the group of military khaki and charcoal coloured flannel provided a sturdy, almost rustic contrast to the fragility of the silks.

The Tailored coats and jackets were all signature Dries, expertly cut and entirely elegant in their proportions. Though the asiatic theme carried through, the stiff turned up collars reminiscent of the cheongsam, and the white undersides almost like the under robe of a geisha’s kimono peeking through at the neck.

The fragments of print made a reappearance after the more utilitarian looks, but this time the cool blues and greens were mixed with vivid oranges and reds, sprawled across a white silk pantsuit and a stiff black coat like courtiers fans splayed modestly over the chests. Final garments were a brilliant ultramarine and white, as a fur mantle, and in the same print on sleek long coats and jackets. It conjures up a fitting image of a more mythical and contemporary version of the classic East meets West.

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