Lettuce. Mushroom. Salmon. Chestnut. Coffee. Mayonnaise. Peach. Plum.
A shopping list? No, just some of the colors cited in the show notes to Dries Van Noten’s spring collection. Known for his use of opulent hues, the designer this season opted for a less obvious palette including what he called “strange skin tones,” khaki, pale yellow and light blue.
“It’s a study of color and print and the impact that those two things have on volumes, and how you perceive a silhouette and how you look at the person dressed in those colors or prints,” the designer said in a backstage video.
“Color and men is [sic] not always going very well together, so in that way I really wanted to study a whole group of colors which are not always bright colors,” he added. “This is a completely different way of looking at color. It was really going very far with it.”
Reining back his recent plays on oversize volumes, Van Noten juxtaposed pastel shades with dense earth tones on sporty yet formal silhouettes. Long blazers, belted trenchcoats and buttoned-up shirts had a slightly retro tinge, heightened by vintage-inspired tonal prints.
Capping a day of punishing show venues in the heatwave-stricken French capital, Van Noten had guests trek up eight floors to the top of the former offices of daily newspaper Libération, where old file cabinets stood still full of discarded folders.
His suggestion for beating the heat? Suits with shorts, with socks and sandals no less. Though office dress codes have been relaxed, it’s safe to say this look won’t be sweeping the boardroom. Short-sleeved shirts — including some silky options melding prints and embroidery — seemed like a more compelling option.
Likewise, persuading men to adopt some of these off-kilter shades — mustard and terracotta last had a moment in the Nineties — might be a stretch. But they might be swayed by a bomber jacket or filmy raincoat in a geometric print. After all, a good recipe is all a question of proportion.