In the end, it was hard to tell exactly which of those options the designer had adopted. There were so many Van Noten signatures on display—silvery flora, man-styled coats and trousers, a thirties-style languor, a shimmer of glam rock, the overall sense that we were looking at the wardrobe of one of life's decadent adventuresses. On the other hand, the show introduced us to a Van Noten we'd never seen before: Dries the Ibizan Psychonaut.
A museum exhibition dedicated to one's own work is so fearfully grown-up. What better way to set a new course than to reconnect with a delirious flicker of one's own misspent past. And what better flicker than
Here was a gray flannel coat in keeping with the occasional man-styled sobriety of collections past (admittedly, it was slightly unhinged with a diagonal zip and had been slapped with the psyche graphic of a flier for Space, Ibiza's legendary all-dayer). Such optic motifs spiraled throughout the lineup in rave tees and rave sweats. And they were paired with trippy florals and 3-D corsages that lurked luridly on shoulders. But Van Noten didn't leave it there. He made a typically elevated connection with the work of op art's most famous practitioner, Bridget Riley, so that just about everything on show featured a psychedelic swirl of some kind. In the same spirit, he took the MA-1 jacket beloved of proto-ravers and cut it out of orange duchesse satin. A regular traffic light of a piece, which signposted just how brilliantly deft Van Noten has become at amalgamating high and low references in his collections.
Van Noten took his modest navy-clad bow as usual at show's end, but he was right on the heels of a black gown with a three-dimensional paint job and a coil of hazmat-orange lilies. Still waters run no deeper than they do with this one.