Dries Van Noten has laid bare his inspirations in an exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The showcase, which opens Saturday for a six-month run, groups blue-chip artworks, fashion treasures from the Paris museum’s archive, and other objects from films and sculptures to photographs, that have enriched the Belgian designer’s work over a career-spanning 30-plus years.
Rather than a retrospective, the Dries Van Noten and Pamela Golbin, chief curator of fashion and textiles at Les Arts Décoratifs, chose to document how pop culture, fine objects, paintings and even the work of other fashion designers shaped Van Noten’s aesthetic.
Although inspirations are grouped thematically — military, gardens, Orientalism — the show is also vaguely autobiographical. It opens with a room wallpapered with words — names of designers, photographers, models, magazines and movies — that inspired him in his student years. Then comes a barrage of images, including outfits loaned by Giorgio Armani and Versace alongside the museum’s selections of Kenzo, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier.
While most fashion exhibitions gather between 70 and 100 ensembles, the Van Noten showcase assembles more than 400 elements.
Barneys New York is a sponsor of the exhibition, along with mannequin firm Bonaveri. For six weeks starting March 21st, the retailer plans to devote its Madison Avenue windows to Van Noten, with the designer traveling to New York for a dinner at Lee’s home to celebrate the long-running partnership.