Dries Van Noten Shows Us the Meaning of Inspirations
When he walked me around his exhibition this morning, Dries Van Noten wanted to make one thing clear. The show—which runs at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris until August 31—is emphatically not a career retrospective. Instead, it’s a sumptuous meditation on creativity, a idea summed up by its title, Inspirations. Every room is a multilayered inroad into Van Noten’s thought processes, and, like the McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the show is so rich that it will have the power to enthrall people who have no prior engagement with fashion. But among the many provocative juxtapositions of past, present, and future, one stands out as a singular piece of mind-fuckery. To illuminate Van Noten’s fascination with the front and back of things (something which has sparked some of his most interesting fashion statements), Bronzino’s exquisite Portrait of a Man Holding a Statuette, on loan from the Louvre, is juxtaposed with an abstract painting by Gerhard Richter. You can imagine the Richter as the back of the Bronzino, Van Noten mused. Suddenly, I saw the world through his eyes.