Belgian designers have been standoffish about the celebrity craze. Yet there was the ultimate Hollywood bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, flashbulb-era paparazzi in hot pursuit, splashed all over Dries Van Noten’s spring collection.
Will these black-and-white photo prints — seen on suits, capes, shirts, sweaters, boxer shorts, you name it — be as influential as the designer’s silky, boudoir collection a year ago? This collection was not as compelling, though it echoed other Paris runways in pointing to a more embellished path for men’s wear. Van Noten added sparkly embroideries and sequins to his roomy, vaguely Fifties clothes as Elvis Presley crooned “Love Me Tender” and his models filed into a vast warehouse. Besides Norma Jean’s luscious lips, lobsters were a recurrent motif, winking to Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli, among “creative provocateurs” Van Noten cited as references.
Like Giorgio Armani in Milan, the designer excels at looser silhouettes, teaming his slouchy double-breasted jackets and boxy camp shirts with skater shorts. Mesh tank tops and matching suspenders were a foil to the high-waist pants that anchored most other looks.
Nor did he abandon the lounge craze he spawned, ending his show with a flowing Marilyn robe — and a shower of red and silver confetti.