Thursday, January 18th
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Dries Van Noten
"My work aims to give people the means to remain themselves, as close to their tastes as possible."
Dries Van Noten is one of the original Antwerp 6 - a group of extremely influential avant garde fashion designers who graduated from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1980-1981. The group, which included Walter Van Beirendonck, Marina Yee, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester and Dirk Van Saene, turned fashionistas on their well-dressed ears by renting a truck and travelling to London Fashion Fair in 1981 and presenting to all the attendees what was happening in their home country in fashion. The resulting accolades put Antwerp on the map from a fashion perspective.
Dries' well-touted 1986 presentation of a men's collection received both recognition by the fashion press as well as his first store orders from such prominent retailers as Barneys New-York, Whistles in London and Pauw in Amsterdam. The August, 1989 opening of Dries Van Noten's Antwerp boutique, Het Modepaleis, marked a major turning point in the designer's career. The store spans three floors of a sweeping 1831 structure, and features the designer's collections -- men's, women's and accessories. A new era began for Dries Van Noten, when in 1991, he staged a Paris runway show of his men's ready-to-wear collection. The joint opening in 1993 of two showrooms in Paris and Milan marked Dries Van Noten's ability to meet the continual demands of the international buying community, while allowing the designer to maintain his close, personal relationships with an ever-growing roster of retailers.
Dries remains loyal to Antwerp his "cosmopolitan village" in spite of his international success. Although his heart remains in Antwerp, he draws inspiration for his line from every country- combining sylistice elements of the West with those of the Far and Middle East.