Dries Van Noten to exit his eponymous label in June

After 38 years, Belgian designer Dries Van Noten – who rose to fame as part of the Antwerp Six – is set to exit his role as creative director of his namesake brand

Dries Van Noten SS 2020 finale
Dries Van Noten S/S 2020, which was memorably created in collaboration with Christian Lacroix
(Image credit: Photography by Richard Bord/Getty Images))

Belgian designer Dries Van Noten – a member of the famed 1990s fashion movement the Antwerp Six – has announced today that he is to step down from his eponymous label this coming June, after 38 years as creative director. 

Van Noten will show his final collection – S/S 2025 menswear – this coming June in Paris, marking his official exit from the label. The following womenswear collection, presented in September 2024, will be overseen by an in-house design team. Puig, the Spanish luxury goods conglomerate which owns the brand, has said that a search for a successor is already underway.

Dries Van Noten to leave his namesake label

Dries Van Noten in his expansive textile studio in Antwerp

Dries Van Noten photographed in his textile studio in the May 2022 issue of Wallpaper*

(Image credit: Mathilde Hiley)

‘Now I want to shift my focus to the things that I never had time for,’ the designer wrote in a letter which accompanied the announcement. ‘I’m sad, but in the same time happy, to let you know that I will step down at the end of June. I have been preparing for this moment for a while, and I feel like it’s time to leave room for a new generation of talents to bring their vision to the brand.’

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1958, Van Noten enrolled to the fashion design course of Antwerp’s Royal Academy aged 18 (fashion – or clothing at least – was in his blood, hailing from three generations of tailors who worked in the city). Under course director Linda Loppa, he would meet the other members of what would become known the ’Antwerp Six’ – Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee – a group of designers who studied at the school from 1980-81 and would later travel to London en masse in 1986 to show their collections at London Fashion Week.

There, purportedly because the reporters could not pronounce their individual names, they were deemed the ’Antwerp Six’, a name which stuck. Though each had a distinct aesthetic, they largely caught attention for collections which provided a riposte to the outré 1980s fashion of the era, favouring a DIY, deconstructionist approach which nonetheless referenced the rich history of Flemish craft. It would provide a precursor to the moody aesthetic of the 1990s, and pave the way for later Belgian designers, like Martin Margiela and Raf Simons.

The trip to London would also mark the start of Van Noten’s own label, which began with menswear and later saw the addition of womenswear (he began showing menswear officially in Paris in 1991; womenswear was added in 1993). Defined by rich fabrications, an astute use of colour and emotive presentations – all infused with the energy of subculture and a seductive, underlying strangeness – Van Noten would become one of contemporary fashion’s most lauded designers.

Dries Van Noten S/S 2024 runway show

A look from Dries Van Noten’s S/S 2024 runway show

(Image credit: Courtesy of Dries Van Noten)

In 2008, he won the International Designer of the Year at the CFDA Awards; later, he would be awarded France’s ‘Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ (he would show in Paris throughout his career) and the Culture Award from The Province of Antwerp. Van Noten’s expansive career would see him celebrate a 50th fashion show in 2004 and a 100th fashion show in 2017 (a year later, in 2018, Puig became the majority holder), as well as a monograph and retrospective exhibition, ’Inspirations’, which both launched in 2014. Memorably, he would collaborate with Christian Lacroix on a joint S/S 2020 collection.

Van Noten saw his work as a continuing search for beauty, in part inspired by the colours and seasonal fluctuations of his beloved garden in his Antwerp home. ’The idea of beauty is supremely subjective and very personal,’ he says. ‘Time also plays a role when our view on what is beautiful to us evolves. A flower, a building or a garment can be a thing of wonder for one while leaving another completely indifferent. What was beautiful to us even recently may be ugly today. Luckily, all designers have their own eye on and language of beauty.’

Dries Van Noten Beauty lipstick in multi-coloured packaging

Dries Van Noten Beauty, as photographed in the May 2022 issue of Wallpaper*

(Image credit: Mathilde Hiley)

The final chapter of his tenure at the brand was the addition of a beauty line, which was launched in 2022. Comprising rich, evocative fragrances and colour-saturated lipsticks (in equally colourful packaging), Van Noten likened to the experience of eating olives for the first time. ‘The first one makes you go, “Ooh, what is this?”’ he said. ‘But after that you always like it. I think you have to learn to appreciate things, and sometimes you have to learn to appreciate my vision of beauty.’ 

’Last but not least, my heartfelt appreciation to everybody who loves what we do,’ today’s announcement concluded. ’Seeing our clothes out in the world, knowing they have a place in your life has fulfilled me beyond words. I am sure of this: the Dries Van Noten future looks bright’


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.