Dries Van Noten Exhibition – an “Homage to the Creative Process”

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Marie Marsone writes about a special showing from someone for whom the creative arts blend into one beautiful whole

From the 1st of March to the 31 of August 2014, The Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten on the theme of inspirations.

Born in 1958 in Antwerp to a family of tailors, Dries Van Noten was immersed in the business of clothes-making from an early age. Having studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Van Noten got his degree in 1981. Along with his classmates Ann Demeulemeester, Marina Yee, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene and Dirk Bikkembergs, he presented his first collection in London in 1986. They were then the representatives of non-conformist and avant-garde Belgian fashion and Van Noten’s career was launched. Although a very discreet person, he quickly became known for the depths of his imagination and the exotic and diverse ideas that are a feature of his creations.

He was awarded the International Prize from the Council of American Fashions Designers and found himself presiding in the International Festival of Hyères the following year.

Magical Mash-up: Dries standing before some of the inspirations

Magical Mash-up: Dries standing before some of the inspirations

The current exhibition in Paris takes a look back at some of the greatest creations of the designer, presented not so much as a retrospective, but as an exposé of his creative process. The artistic influences are very much in evidence when you look at Dries Van Noten’s work. In the printed textile material, you can find the imprint of ethnic and folk traditions from Asia, Africa and South America. Van Noten also draws from his imaginings and contemplation of the artistic world in general and is attracted to details; as in a gesture, a colour, a memory or simply atmosphere. He also plays a lot on contrasts and opposites, notably with regard to the masculine and feminine connotations of the woks that he creates and assembles.

The exhibition explores all the various spheres of influence that Van Noten uses. It also highlights the elements that have served as a basis for Van Noten’s creative schemes: films, famous fashion pieces, works from major artists such as Yves Klein, Francis Bacon or Victor Vasarely. This underlining of numerous references from fashion, fine art, photography or cinema makes for a thorough immersion in the world of the stylist and emphasises the confrontation between the different art forms.

In an interview with Pamela Golbin – chief curator of the exhibition – Van Noten explains his vision of inspiration: “Fashion is extremely rich; it’s an extraordinary activity because you can feed in the creative sense from multiple sources of inspiration, exactly like a hummingbird feeds from a multitude of flowers.” Ms Golbin concludes that it is neither a fashion exhibition nor an art exhibition but rather a “homage to creativity and to the creative process.”

Get Yourself There

LE MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS – Dries Van Noten: “Inspirations”

107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Telephone : 0033 1 44 55 57 50


Opening Hours – Tuesday to Sunday 11:00 to 18:00, Thursday 18:00 to 21:00. Closed Monday.
Free entry to under-26s from EU member states.

Where Exactly?

Metro – Palais-Royal, Tuileries or Pyramides

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