In the last few posts we have looked at collaborations between fashion houses and streetwear brands. But during the menswear shows in Paris there was also another kind of collaboration, or rather, a tribute that brought us back to a tradition that between the end of the '70s and the '80s was the very rule in the fashion industry. Around those times it was customary for a fashion house to thank in fashion adverts textile and yarn manufacturers that had contributed to their collections (we looked at this aspect in a previous post). Dries Van Noten chose to pay homage to his suppliers in a stylish way.
With this menswear show Van Noten celebrated a special anniversary, this was indeed his 99th collection (he will hit 100 with his womenswear collection in March), so he looked into the past to design garments for the future.
Location-wise the designer returned to the past and to an underground parking lot tunnel in Porte de Versailles, and area where he had showcased his designs at the beginning and the end of the '90s.
The clothes on the runway were sensible pieces for consumers with a passion for textiles and fabrics: from roomy worsted wool coats with wide lapels and duffel coats to oversized Fair Isles sweaters and alpaca knits (the latter at times recombined with plaid inserts), narrow trousers, rolled jeans, plain shirts and elegant suits.
There was a dandy twist in the collection introduced via embellishments such as jet beaded llamas on a jumper and embroidered flowers on coats and shirts.
Some silhouettes were reminiscent of the Mods' style, but the vibe as a whole was very rock'n'roll with Iggy Pop on the soundtrack singing "Lust for Life".
Traditional shades such as gray, camel, and black prevailed, but there was also a bright splash of red to make things more punkishly vibrant. A raw and almost primitive touch was added with the necklaces made with animal bones and teeth on a simple cord.
The most versatile pieces that seemed to reunite the current streetwear trend with a conceptual inspiration were the blown up labels and logos of Dries Van Noten's textile supliers, tweed mills, and knitwear and cashmere producers. They were employed as patches or prints for tops and quilted sweatshirts or formed pockets on trousers and decorative elements on jackets and garments woven or cut with the fibers or cloth produced by those manufacturers.
Labels usually remain unseen as they are sewn on the insides of garments, but the designer thought they looked too beautiful to be hidden inside.
Models turned therefore into advertising boards for Shetland wool from Jamieson & Smith, for leading British manufacturer Hainsworth (well-known for its fabrics used to make soldiers' uniforms - from the battle of Waterloo to the Royal Guards), for Japanese company Toki Sen-i, that manufactures textiles following traditional methods, tweed maker Lovat and Marling & Evans, weavers of the finest English cloth.
As a textile or yarn manufacturer you may already be happy to know you are working with a famous designer employing your products to make timeless and high quality creations, but, in this case, the tribute gave a new meaning to the garments, while sending a precise message to consumers - companies offering such high standards are struggling to survive in an industry worshipping temporary cults rather than quality based designs.