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Don’t ask Dries Van Noten what his favourite flower is. To the Belgian fashion designer and devoted gardener, choosing between them all is an impossible task. ‘Witch hazel, rhododendrons, peonies, roses, dahlias… Don’t make me decide!’ he says as we peruse his latest capsule collection together at the brand’s HQ in Antwerp. The space has been transformed into something of a greenhouse for the collection’s preview, and where the team would usually sit down to work, hundreds of plants and flowers have taken the place of their desks.
The largest collaboration between Dries Van Noten the brand and luxury fashion e-tailer MyTheresa thus far, the range has been made with the escapist spirit of summer at its heart. It’s a cornucopia of colour and print, the latter of which features Van Noten’s beloved blooms in abstracted forms. There are also references to India’s Holi festival, which takes place in March each year to mark the beginning of spring. ‘We work so closely with small textile factories in India,’ says Van Noten. ‘We wanted to ensure this collection honoured Indian craftsmanship as well, so a lot of the fabrics were produced there using traditional techniques.’
While Van Noten loves to travel, he hits a roadblock when it comes to the art of packing. ‘If there’s one thing I hate when I go on holiday it’s packing,’ he says. ‘So I wanted to ensure the clothes are light, the materials are fluid and you have everything you need in one place.’ From airy beach kaftans to silk evening dresses and everything in between, there’s no risk of having to sit on your suitcase to close it if this collection is what you’ll be bringing. Even the accessories offered are pared back, but each piece remains bold enough to offer enough of a sartorial punch. (I have my eye on a pair of oversized turmeric yellow sunglasses in particular.)
The designer counts the UK among his favourite travel destinations, not least for the flora and fauna of the English countryside. ‘I’m quite an Anglophile, actually,’ he says, remarking that he and his partner, Patrick Vangheluwe, even have an English dog breed — an airedale called Harry. But what about London? ‘London, to me, is like a country in itself,’ he says. ‘The last time I was in the city was last October for the Frieze art fair. But usually when I’m there, I always have my routine of places I love to visit.’ This includes the Royal Academy and heading to Hatchards afterwards to buy a few books. ‘I love to have breakfast or lunch at The Wolseley,’ he continues. ‘Then, outside of that neighbourhood, Portobello Market and visiting Nancy Rhodes [the brand’s long-term stylist] in Islington where she lives.’ Naturally, Kew Gardens features on the itinerary, too.
Whether the capital can expect to see a stand-alone Dries Van Noten store any time soon remains a secret. However, the brand has just launched its debut beauty line at Selfridges, which features a range of highly pigmented lipsticks that I think would pair just beautifully with those aforementioned turmeric sunglasses. To the shops, I go.
The Dries Van Noten collection is available now exclusively at mytheresa.com