Camouflage is a chameleon. It's supposed to look like anything but itself. In Dries Van Noten's paean to the pattern tonight, it looked here like a jigsaw, there like a virus under a microscope, everywhere else like plant and animal life. But for Van Noten, what it represented above all was masculinity. And he was so confident of it that his salute to camo's infinite variety spanned fabrics from butch canvas to girly voile, with a side trip into shantung silk and nylon so fine and shiny it looked and felt like taffeta. There was also lace that, once overdyed, looked surprisingly like—you guessed it—camo.

Whatever is in the drinking water in Antwerp, we want some. Van Noten himself may seem like the calm, collected sort, not prone to excitability or flights of outrageous fancy, but he's still the guy who, last season, imagined Oscar Wilde meeting Frank Zappa on a catwalk, or, a few seasons before that, deconstructed David Bowie's Thin White Duke in a fashion collection. Antwerp was once an international center where the entire world came together in often surreal ways. There's still some of that in Van Noten's work. Here, his hybrid camo somehow ended up in a fencing academy, pure white, with the padded vests, the Velcro closings, the flaps and ties. Put your mind to it and you could make a connection—something about defense and protection—but it really translated as the latest expression of Van Noten's fascination with fashion's foundations: form, color, texture, pattern.

And it's truly an individual point of view. If you're a fan of his tailoring, you could find it here in a sober navy suit or an exuberant jacket in orange shantung. If you're partial to his way with exotica, there was gilded, sheer camo-turned–leopard spot. The inspiration may well be one of contemporary fashion's most durable clichés, but Van Noten helped the chameleon change its colors into something eccentric, decadent, and, yes, even rich.