There should be a phrase invented for Dries Van Noten: Master Miximalist? He would no doubt hate such a label, but when it comes to textiles and colour, he leaves everyone else in the shade.
Humble to the core, he also has a knack for making his breath-taking uniqueness sound like the most straightforward thing in the world: Well I started with menswear and we introduced ball room dancing and ice skating and just let all those female embellishments invade the menswear. We just clashed it together to see what would happen.
What happened today was a masterclass in controlled collision that resulted in total harmony. Dries took his beloved menswear and proceeded to experiment with the unexpected. Ball room dancing and ice skating, known more for their lurid colours and opulent (but not in a good way) surface decoration than for any sartorial sophistication. Although, judging by the music, Cheek To Cheek (Heaven, Im in heaven ) it was more likely Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, not Strictly Come Dancing, that had inspired him.
Cue shimmering fringes beneath a striped school boy jacket, sheeny jacquard trousers under a big cashmere sweater and more ostrich feathers than you could shake a stick at in single fronds floating off a big grey coat, as a bouncy hem on a powder-pink top, or entirely covering a skirt from hip to floor. That in itself doesnt sound revolutionary, but its the way he combined these ultra-feminine details with solid menswear pieces a crisp white shirt, say, slouchy trousers, a shaggy fur coat, an embroidered jacket - that practically knocked you over, it looked so fresh and modern.
Fashion is sometimes so serious and this was a lot of fun, he said backstage, again playing down his outrageous talent to a crowd of well-wishers.
Fun? Yes, it was. But perhaps brilliant might do it more justice.