The spring/summer grunge couture collection of Belgian designer Dries Van Noten was one of the strongest shows of last season and his followup for autumn/winter was similarly impressive.
On Wednesday afternoon, with 10 ornate chandeliers suspended above the ballroom at the Hotel de Ville, the designer continued to explore his winning formula of mixing masculine with feminine, using a clever clash of tailoring with feathers and acid-hued embroidery.
The show opened with a navy overcoat with pink embroidery snaking around its front and cinched with a thin metallic belt, styled with grey tailored trousers and flat lace-up shoes.
Backstage, Van Noten said he had started with a man's wardrobe – flat shoes, men's trousers and shirts – and then thought what was the opposite?
This brought him to ballroom dancing and ice skating, and Fred [Astaire] and Ginger [Rogers]. "It was all those ideas of female embellishments invading the menswear," he said.
This ballroom idea was realised with marabou feathers and sparkling costume jewels. A pink top and yellow skirt combo was festooned with mini explosions of marabou and jewels sprouting from the surfaces, while elsewhere the feathers, used in a more subtle black, gave trims or adorned evening dresses. But these feathery looks never veered into camp territory, such is the skill of Van Noten's sensibility. Fringe, fuzzy fur and floral patterned suiting also added bite.