‘It is not a grand finale’: Inside Dries Van Noten’s final show in Paris

Yesterday evening (22 June 2024), Dries Van Noten showed his last-ever collection for his eponymous label, drafting models past and present for a collection which mused on the passing of time

Dries Van Noten S/S 2025 runway show finale
Dries Van Noten’s last-ever runway show, which featured models past and present and a silver-foil runway
(Image credit: Photography by Richard Bord/Getty Images)

Just before eight o’clock yesterday evening (22 June 2024) a flurry of black cars made their way out of Paris towards the northern suburb of St Denis, where a vast former factory had been transformed for Dries Van Noten’s final runway collection. Earlier this year, the Belgian designer – first known for being part of the avant-garde Antwerp Six which rose to prominence in the early 1990s – announced he would be stepping away from his label after 38 years at the helm.

Entering the space, an enormous cube-like structure flickered through clips from Van Noten’s 128 previous runway shows (the final collection would be his 129th), alongside clips of the designer working with his atelier and team. Around it milled the show’s guests, each there to pay homage to the designer’s acclaimed career. They included fellow Antwerp Six designers Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck, former Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, Hermès’ Véronique Nichanian, American designer Thom Browne, and milliner Stephen Jones, among others.

Inside Dries Van Noten’s last runway show

Dries Van Noten takes bow on runway of S/S 2025 show

Dries Van Noten takes his final runway bow

(Image credit: Photography by Richard Bord/Getty Images)

In the second room – revealed with the opening of a floor-to-ceiling black curtain – was a long, silver foil runway. It was here that Van Noten would stage his last runway show, drafting models past and present to wear the collection’s 70 looks. ‘[Some of these models] have been with us since the earliest shows, like family; their presence marking the passage of time,’ said Van Noten. They included Hannelore Knuts, Kirsten Owens, Malgosia Bela, Debra Shaw, Malick Bodian, Jonas Gloer and Alain Gossuin, who opened the show, their footsteps causing the foil to drift away from the runway in delicate floating shards.

The passing of time – perhaps inevitably – was the central theme of the collection, with Van Noten drawing inspiration from the work of Belgian conceptual artist Edith Dekyndt. Though her oeuvre is wide, much of her work centres on transforming everyday objects by exposing them to water, chemicals or air over time, a process she often documents in photographs and film. As such, Van Noten spoke of a desire to make pieces feel lived in – fabrics included softly worn herringbone, linen and cotton drill – while techniques like Japanese suminagashi, a type of marbling, were evoked to celebrate processes which take time and patience.

Dries Van Noten S/S 2025 runway show finale

(Image credit: Courtesy of Dries Van Noten)

‘Before a piece of clothing is worn, it is encoded with stories. When design comes from a personal place, every detail and decision is meaningful,’ he said via the collection’s accompanying notes. ‘[This collection] is a continuum of connection, encompassing ideas developed from classical to innovative; attesting to craft and colour; and ultimately, providing a relaxed yet elegant way of dressing. Clothes that move through life with us, carrying us forward.’

Of the collection’s silhouette, Van Noten drew on classic sartorial pieces, like the tuxedo jacket, which here was elongated to the ankle – an expression of the designer’s louche, romantic line. Other pieces showed a mastery of texture and colour, from the plasticky candy wrapper-like fabrics, which made up billowing parkas and shirts, to the molten metallics used across the collection’s final looks. The palette shifted from grey, ecru, navy and black towards richly expressive shades of burgundy, pink, peach, lime green and turquoise.

Dries Van Noten SS 2025 final show runway

(Image credit: Courtesy of Dries Van Noten)

The show ended with an ebullient standing ovation as Van Noten walked out to take his final bow. And, though emotion was high, the mood was celebratory, epitomised by the reveal of a giant disco ball as the designer exited the runway to the euphoric sounds of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love. After the show, the party went on into the night.

‘This is my 129th show; like the previous ones, it looks ahead. Tonight is many things, but it is not a grand finale,’ said Van Noten. ‘I think about how Marcelo Mastroianni once spoke of a paradoxical “Nostalgia del futuro,” beyond the lost paradises imagined by Proust, and how we continue to pursue our dreams knowing that, at some point, we can look back on them with love.’

‘I love my job, I love doing fashion shows, and sharing fashion with people,’ he continued. ‘Creating is about leaving something that lives on. My sense of this moment is how it is not only mine, but ours, always.’

Discover more from Paris Fashion Week Men’s S/S 2025.


Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.