Now it is all clear: Dries Van Noten with Monsieur Christian Lacroix speaking on the collection Women Spring Summer 2020

Dear Shaded Viewers,

The perfect blend of two masters, Christian Lacroix and Dries Van Noten and there majestic collaboration. Dries had been fascinated by the 80’s & 90’s and that made him propose to Mr. Lacroix to become part of the team creating the maximalism meets minimalism collection that we just enjoyed on the runway. Dries was not sure how possible it would be to work with another designer rather than do an homage to him. It was important to show at an Opera which was very Mr. Lacroix but this location was a concrete bunker. Rich materials were mixed with some basic textiles. Mr. Lacroix has done many ballets and operas so even though he had not worked in this space it felt like home.

I suppose that I should have picked up the message when we saw the long stemmed rose left on our seats signed by DVN & CL but I did not. Instead it was a bit of a shock when Dries came out to take his bow with Mr. Lacroix. It was a pleasure and an experience to treasure. I would have never imagined this to happen but two poetic spirits entwined to produce the best of their two minds.

Thank you both for an amazing experience, I feel so drenched in beauty I could not follow this show with anything else.


September 10th, 2019

I just pulled a few bit from the wonderful Susannah Frankel interview:

“The plot was hatched naturally and at the very start of the season, I found myself needing exuberance, opulence, another volume and fun!. I was constantly drawn to the Eighties and Nineties, to a love of dressing up, to couture, to beauty, to audacity – to joy. I quickly realised that all roads seemed to lead to the work and world – of Mr. Christian Lacroix. So, after little deliberation, I thought why not just phone him, why not phone Christian and ask if he would be up for the challenge and enjoy working with me on a collection. I was so happy when he immediately said: yes.” Dries Van Noten, Antwerp, September 2019

In March this year, Dries Van Noten and Mr. Christian Lacroix sat down for a meeting
on the Champs Elysées. The location for their rendezvous was neutral ground: halfway between Antwerp and Arles in Paris, the home of haute couture, and an age-old stage for fashion in the purest sense of the word. Dries took with him fabric swatches, reference imagery, embroidery samples. In Christian’s opinion: “He didn’t need me”. Dries begged to differ. The creative surge and sheer joy of working alongside this legendary couturier was worth fighting for. The resultant collection is not a collaboration – rather a meeting of minds, an expression of dual intention and respect, a romance if you will – between Dries and Christian, and in turn between both of them and fashion.

Dries explains that the acid floral jacquards on display are, in fact, more muted than the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth century designs that inspired them. The patina of the precious originals is deceptive but before age faded their intense colouration they were anything but shy; the purple, for example, the designer says, has been taken down a little, subduing the violence of its effect. “I was also thinking of Lady Honoria Lyndon [Marisa Berenson’s character in Kubrick’s masterpiece, Barry Lyndon],” Dries says. “Normally, we would have maybe one or two Lyon jacquards in a collection. This time we have more special pieces than ever before.” The garments in question were woven on looms that stretch back to the period in which that film was set and clearly reference Berenson’s spectacular wardrobe.

The vocabulary of Dries Van Noten is fused with that of Mr. Christian Lacroix throughout: said jacquards have been scanned and appear as prints across cotton and organza; lightweight polyesters, made out of recycled plastic bottles and coated papers rustle alongside precious French silks; billowing trains grace nothing more haute than a parka, albeit gold. Basic white singlets are decorated with a single overblown embroidered sleeve here, jeans with an appliquéd feather or feather print on one leg there. If Mr. Christian Lacroix was among the most feted couturiers of the latter part of the twentieth century, known and revered for the extravagance of his designs, Dries Van Noten sublimates daywear and is, above all, a ready-to-wear designer, justifiably acclaimed as one of the world’s most masterful. Theirs, then, is a heavenly match.

If the meeting of two such minds is surprising on the one hand – the received notion is that the fashion designer is driven by ego and as such is unlikely ever to want to share the spotlight – Dries Van Noten and Mr. Christian Lacroix demonstrate a modesty and mutual admiration, just two of many attributes they share. Both have designed costume for ballet, opera and theatre. Their work is indebted to and draws upon fine art. Dries and Christian love collage, tensions, apparent contrasts – disparate historical and cultural references effortlessly combined in a single look or even garment. They favour colour and apparently jarring but paradoxically harmonious colour juxtapositions, are maestros of mixing print to the point where, in lesser hands, it might disturb the eye and consistently walk that fine line between good and bad taste.

SF What are your hopes for this collection?

DVN The idea is to bring fun ideas, nothing too serious, things that I think perhaps
we have lost a little in fashion. We have lost maybe the joy of dressing up, of playing with fashion, combining many different things. That to me was very important, it was important to bring that back. That’s why, when I started to work on the collection, haute couture in the Eighties and Nineties was an important reference. And then of course, inevitably, we arrived at Christian. I wanted to do something joyful, full of skills, full of materials, full of emotion.

SF It would be incorrect to call this collection an homage.

DVN It’s not that. It is a collection for now and I really wanted to make a perfect blend of our two worlds. Christian was much more than a living mood board. He was really there. Because of course this collection is a little bit out of our comfort zone. It’s an evolution of what we normally do. We joked sometimes, sitting around a table and when Christian wasn’t there, we’d say: Christian, talk to us, how would you do it?

CLX I was very happy when Dries said ‘it is not an homage: you are still alive’. I don’t want to be back in fashion but I always thought that Dries’ company was different from the others, because of the freedom, because of the distinctions. Very, very often I noticed that we have the same colours, the same love of print, of mixing, so it was interesting.

I am not sure where you can find the entire interview but I suggest you look for it.



Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.