Exploring the Elusive World of Dries Van Noten

As previously mentioned in our news, a new documentary was presented, profiling the life and work of Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten, one of the famed Antwerp Six. The documentary gave an all-access pass to the studios where the men and women’s pret-a-porter collection is created.

From a look at the artisans in India who craft intricate embroidery and embellishment to behind the scenes at four high octane fashion shows and more interestingly the enchanting home that he shares with his partner in life and business, Patrick Vangheluwe.

For an entire year, the precise steps that were taken to conceive four striking collections coupled with equally emblematic catwalk shows that brought the clothes to life to painstakingly selecting fabrics months in advance were all documented.

With cameos from the likes of Suzy Menkes and Iris Apfel, the show offered a unique insight into the life, mind and heart of a world renowned creative genius who for more than 25 years has remained fiercely independent in an ever-growing fashion landscape of consolidation and globalization. In the golden age of the Antwerp six, Dries in particular, decided not to sell out to other larger brands or luxury conglomerates, preferring instead to remain in his home city, running things his own way, without the pressures of having to churn out 16 collections a year. Dries has remained true to his creativity.

His obsessive nature means he churns out 5000 garments each season to ensure perfection. Even in his own home his perfection means arranging flowers to decorate his home like an art gallery. It is however this perfectionism that results in clothes that enthral the eye and capture the imagination of the fashion world year after year.

The filmmaker Reiner Holzemer gave a talk after the London premiere screening at Picture House Central and answered questions from the fashion audience of how he managed to secure such an exclusive gig with such an elusive man. Reiner had met the designer by chance on a shoot with Juergen Teller. Immediately captivated by the pieces Dries created, Holzemer took a lot of time to build a relationship that was trusting enough to give us this authentic view of Dries life.
For anyone keen on fashion this is one documentary not to be missed.