Dries Van Noten A/W 2018

6 male models stood in a line wearing long colourful coats
Dries Van Noten A/W 2018. Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans
(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Mood board: in a post Vetements world, the proliferation of the brand logo has become standard across the board: from smaller labels like Sunnei and MSGM to giants like Valentino (opens in new tab) who placed its abbreviated VLTN logo in bold style across a range of smart casuals for resort. From show to show, every label is submitting its own version of the ‘it thing’ namely either a theatrical down-jacket or an artful sneaker. Logos are big and boldfaced. This has created a curious terrain for the more cerebral designers, interested only in creating clothes for every day. Those who enjoy a certain anonymity in our very public world. Last season Van Noten cleverly reflected this hunger for branded clothes, choosing to place the logos of the mills and manufacturers onto jumpers – after all, they are the people who actually go on to produce what we want. Van Noten’s is one label that doesn’t want to wear you – you have to embody the clothes.

Best in show: A/W 2018 imagined a personal wardrobe built over time, mixing attitude, style and mood. A broderie anglais chino, a Lurex jumper, a hand-crafted knit. The traditional is worn under the technical. Prints for the season include a historic marbling technique seen lining antique books and papers, applied onto a series of nylon overcoats, and surrealist artworks by the American artist of record covers, Robert Beatty. An eye motif sat on the front of sweatshirts. There was fringing on cowboy shirts and studs on denim. Wide shearling collars flopped over shoulders on military trench coats.

Scene setting: Van Noten presented his 100th collection last March. A book carefully documenting each of the collections was published six months later and serves as a guidebook for the designer’s defining look. His name may not be spelt out over your chest, but his embroideries, bold prints always worn in multiples – the soft military references – tell you all you need to know. The A/W 2018 show was held in the former sorting office of the French Post Office and Customs and Excise. It opened with a wide-shoulder tailored coat you have probably seen before. Wide-leg trousers, embellished denim jackets and blousy cotton trench coats are mainstays of the Van Noten wardrobe. They were here in abundance. It’s exactly this sense of repetition, this consistency, that keeps people coming back.

3 male models in a crowded room wearing colourful coats

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

3 male models in a studio looking into the camera

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

3 male models stood together wearing neutral coloured clothing

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Group of models lining up for the show

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

A group of 4 male models stood chatting

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

London based writer Dal Chodha is editor-in-chief of Archivist Addendum — a publishing project that explores the gap between fashion editorial and academe. He writes for various international titles and journals on fashion, art and culture and is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. Chodha has been working in academic institutions for more than a decade and is Stage 1 Leader of the BA Fashion Communication and Promotion course at Central Saint Martins. In 2020 he published his first book SHOW NOTES, an original hybrid of journalism, poetry and provocation.