Remove yourself from this world we live in and enter the mystical wonderland of Dries Van Noten’s mind. Part of the program at the London College of Fashion is a five-day trip to Paris. During the Paris trip we visited the “Dries Van Noten — Inspirations” exhibit at Musée des Arts Décoratifs. It was an exclusive opportunity to be taken into another world.
Dries Van Noten was one of the Antwerp Six who successfully debuted in London in the mid 1980s. With his self financed company, he owns five boutiques and his label is sold in more than five hundred stores worldwide. In addition, he won the CFDA Prestigious International Award in 2008.
You enter the exhibit through a doorway covered in printed flowers, this is the moment you leave the realistic world and enter the wonderland. The first sight is a black room with white inspiration words printed on all dimensions.
According to Dries Van Noten “it is all about being inspired by somebody else’s work and transposing into a different setting.” This idea is expressed throughout the exhibit as it directly showcases Van Noten’s designs and the corresponding inspiration items.
This exhibit is both an art and fashion exhibit. When asked about what he would like people leaving the exhibit to know, Dries Van Noten said “of course I hope that most people go for the relation between the works of clothes and arts as we showed them.”
The experience of walking through the exhibit is just as priceless than the artifacts itself. In transition between the first and second floor is a black room with mirrors and a projected video of people dancing in slow motion as a helicopter sound plays. The whole atmosphere of the room makes you feel like time is slowing down and it feels like a break from the outside world.
The stairway that leads to the next floor is covered in a floral print in all dimensions. Entering this part of the exhibit is like entering a mysterious secret garden. Within the Garden Beaton collection is a body form with a rabbit head that reiterates the spooky wonderland feeling.
While on the first floor the visitor experiences history, on the upper floor, the visitor is taken around the world. Van Noten showcases his collections inspired by different themes as well as international cultures. His oriental inspired collection takes the visitor back to the elegant dynasty decades while his Mexican collection gives the visitor the spooky experience of Day of the Dead.
According to the curator, Pamela Golbin, “more than half of the 400-plus pieces on display were borrowed from other museums and private collections. The challenge was… to get the precise pieces Mr. Van Noten had in mind.” In addition, Van Noten said, “it is really an exhibit about my inspiration and how I work.”
Dries Van Noten takes the visitor into the world of his creative mind. This exhibit allows the visitors to experience various emotions such as nostalgia, relaxation, suspense, and amazement. This is a unique opportunity that those who seek inspiration and adventure should not miss. I strongly suggest anyone in Paris to visit the exhibition.