Dries Van Noten is the sort of fashion designer who constantly manages to capture the zeitgeist and appeal to a wide demographic, all while still incorporating his own concepts and ideas. And they’re done in ways that, at the end of the day, are wearable in real-life contexts.
After two years of showing collections through digital methods, Dries Van Noten returned to the Paris Fashion Week Men’s calendar with an in-person runway show. Held at the rooftop of a carpark, the spring/summer 2023 menswear collection was a showcase of that very same design approach that has garnered the brand a steady following.
Like a number of brands this show season, the Dries Van Noten spring/summer 2023 menswear collection was a tour de force of menswear archetypes. The collection started out sleek with nouveau dandies in louche tailoring — mostly in solids as well as pinstripes — that were then punctuated with the addition of a bandeau that accentuated the waist. It then moved on to motocross-inspired gear, underscored by vibrant prints (a Dries Van Noten signature) and trousers decorated with sporty panels but were still cut with tailored finesse.
Cowboy references — quite possibly the most overt embodiment of old-fashioned machismo — were also thrown in. Embellished cowboy shirts took on shiny and colourful forms, while cowboy boots were paired with camisoles and other seemingly gender non-conforming elements of dress.
Despite the mishmash of references, the entire collection was grounded by a sense of timeless elegance. Yes, even in the motocross-inspired pieces and patchwork renditions of contrasting prints, the looks remained polished.
What was unusual for the brand was the introduction of a new motif. While Dries Van Noten has been around for more than 35 years now, the brand has been relying solely on its penchant for original prints and signature silhouettes as opposed to obvious branding. The spring/summer 2023 menswear collection introduced a signifier in the form of its acronym ‘DVN’ that at times was combined with the collection’s wing-like motif.
The brand was acquired by Spanish group Puig in 2018. And although its activities haven’t deviated much since then, Dries Van Noten has already expanded to include fragrances and makeup as part of its business. There’s no telling if ‘DVN’ would be a branding device moving forward, but if done organically (in the way that it was introduced), it could be one that elevates the brand into more mainstream consciousness.
Is a logo needed for a brand like Dries Van Noten? Perhaps not. But just as long as the brand doesn’t go uncharacteristically logo-heavy, it’s something that I, as a fan, don’t quite mind at this point.
View the full Dries Van Noten spring/summer 2023 menswear collection in the gallery below.