Does the late-breaking news about "the new sport" raise anxietiesespecially coming so hot on the heels of last season's couture-dressing? Relax, and look at Dries Van Noten. Unlike this season's previous efforts, his collection made the proposition of pulling anoraks, parkas, and go-faster stripes back into a current wardrobe feel like the easiest stepand not one likely to land us back in the domain of velour tracksuits.
First, check his high-heeled sneakersthe Van Noten leitmotif for a new coexistence of chic and casual. The styling of the clothes nailed that refreshing outlook by translating the standard shapes of sport, outdoor, and army-surplus pieces into special fabrics, and giving them volumes and silhouettes that are next-door to the things we're used to wearing already. Thus, a hooded anorak in light parachute silk was cinched with a thick leather belt, the way we've recently been putting tops with skirts. His parkas might be actual coatslike the yellow nylon one with balloon sleevesor they might become loose cotton parka-dresses with drawstring waists, neatly catching the trends for sack dresses and shirtdresses while they're at it.
Throughout the show, there were nice ideas for remixing looks, like adding great-looking army sweaters and khaki jackets to more feminine pieces, or putting a gray marl T-shirt under a black pantsuit. As for the sporty stripes, Van Noten stripped them to a single line of white piping flanking the sides of pants, skirts, and shortsa clever balance between the formality of tuxedo dressing and the looseness of the locker room. In essence, that's Van Noten all over: the comfortable partnership of the casual and the formal, the fashionable and the normal, that makes his clothes speak to the reality of so many women's lives.