Dries Van Noten tapped the filmmaker Albert Moya and the photographer Rafael Pavarotti to unveil his Spring/Summer 2022 collection, a life-affirming outing that celebrated colour, movement, print, and tactility. “We just really wanted this moment of joy!” the Belgian designer told Vogue US after the show. “Festivals and all these things came to our minds. We were looking at those moments when you get out, get with crowds, share emotions, and have fun together—whether it’s going to a pop or rock festival, going to a dodgy little club, or dancing in a discotheque.”
All of which is to say that Van Noten—a singularly visionary designer with more than 35 years to his name—wanted to create a high-end, über-chic take on ‘Tomorrowland’ dressing. The iconic festival, famously the largest in the world and a tourism boon for his home country, was playing on Dries’ mind while he set about designing SS ’22. The end result? A saturated colour palette of lime greens, bold oranges, and vibrant pinks. Tie-dyed silks mixed with knitted tassel dresses, floral-printed knits, sheer shrunken cardigans, and shirring day dresses. There were suits with abstract graphic prints, cocoon coats with lacquer-esque hot pink sleeves, and architectural silk evening gowns. The whole collection was fabulously, unapologetically OTT.
The film was soundtracked exclusively with songs by Grace Jones, whose influence one couldn’t help but feel throughout the entire collection. Some of the most iconic photographs ever taken of Jones are the work of photographer Jean Paul Goude, whose striking, graphic images feel closely aligned with Pavarotti’s (one of the most exciting photographers of his generation) creative aesthetic. Watching the film play out I was reminded of one of Jones’ most famous quotes: “Those who demand that you conform the most to how they live are the ones that are most scared and intimidated by life.” It’s been difficult, in the last two years, not to come accustomed to feeling intimidated by life. In that sense, Van Noten’s show was a testament to tackling our new shared reality without fear. Decked out in ribbed knits, outrageous outerwear and chunky architectural sandals, it’s the chicest armour money can buy.