THE THEME Putting a more meaningful spin on contemporary fashion’s obsession with revisiting the past, Dries Van Noten took the peacock as his central motif for Spring 2024, in particular looking to its enshrined place among the Art Nouveau movement of the late Victorian era. The eclecticism of Gen-Z design taste has been characterized as a rebellious response to millennial minimalism. Of course, Dries is no Zoomer, and eclecticism is nothing new for him, but the look to the ornamental ostentation of the peacock and its role in Art Nouveau feels apt for the moment – both as a nod to newness and as a push back on the ostensible “quiet luxury” trend.
Alongside lush prints and jewel-tone silks that recast Victorian exoticism were oversized tailoring, cleverly reconstructed casual staples, subtly indulgent craft ornamentation. The indulgences of the Victorian elite also shared space with its more recent inheritor, English prep. To say that someone is “peacocking” is typically a disparagement, but here Dries Van Noten is saying that it can be done beautifully – if you’ve got it, flaunt it. The peacock is, after all, the symbol of Juno, queen of the gods.
It was exciting to see the designer offer his own take on the practices of hybridity and deconstruction that has been characterizing much of our extended current moment in fashion. Van Noten reworked familiar wardrobe staples like pullover sweaters, striped button-ups, and rugby shirts, giving them an artisanal twist that layers perfectly into the collection’s aesthetic of expressive, eclectic elegance.
THE BUZZWORDS Art Nouveau Nouveau. Layering. Jewel tones. Eclectic Elegance.
Look #47 Glass beads and sheer fabric that channel peacock feathers make for a gorgeous and lucent layering moment, while the silk-trimmed oversized blazer lends structure to the silhouette and extends the overall look’s beautiful pastel palette. An apt summary of the collection’s Art-Nouveau-meets-modern-power theme.
THE ON-BRAND FACTOR
THE BRAND EVOLUTION
A fresh and directional take on the moment’s obsession with history and archive mining.
Imaginative and excellently layered styling.
Creative and on-brand takes on established categories. Who knew a cargo skirt could be so chic?
At 62 looks the collection was quite large; it could have been pared back a bit to make its strengths more punchy.
THE WRAP UP
Apparently Dries Van Noten can never miss. This collection took a fertile and visually iconic point of animal inspiration and filtered it through his trademark strengths of prints, tailoring, and unique layering to deliver a collection that invites the elegant woman who might feel a bit caged in by the calls of quiet luxury to spread her wings and shine.