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An inspiring insight into Dries Van Noten at Les Arts Décoratifs

19 May 2014

Dries Van Noten's inspirational journey through tantalising textures and incredible artworks in Paris

Starting at the Hotel Beau Manoir, followers of fashion should take a walk down the label laden Rue Saint-Honoré and over to Rue Rivoli to find the very first exhibition devoted to Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten at Les Arts Décoratifs. Rather than a retrospective of his career highlights, the exhibition takes the visitor through his creative journey, with the numerous and diverse sources of inspiration for his catwalk creations.

Describing the exhibition as "...a work of introspection, reflection on myself, on my way to work as a designer, as well as my relationship to art and other areas that fascinate me", the designer utilises a variety of media; combining both men's and women's collections from the museum's fashion and textile collection with photography, videos, films, musical references and admired artworks, provided by both public and private collections. It begins with walls papered in words to show his initial inspirations as a student in the 70s and 80s, a time that led to 1986, when his career began with the presentation of his first menswear collection in London as part of the Antwerp Six; a fashion collective admired for their avant garde edge.

The exhibition separates into different signature themes, all of which have a unique juxtaposition, enlightening us to his path of personal connections. An example includes Dior's Bar Suit, which launched the New Look in 1947, being included within the section devoted to punk; the designer's thought process relating to the rebellious use of flowing fabric in the post-war period. Known for his cultural and ethnic references as well as use of tantalising textures, the space dedicated to India has a video wall of beads and sequins, paying homage to the embroidery and beading craftsmanship of his 3000 employees in Calcutta. While the uniform section shows how important the element of foppishness is to his aesthetic and includes portraits such as the suited Marcel Proust by Jacques-Émile Blanche and Robert de Montesquiou by Giovanni Boldini, with his walking stick in hand. These paintings are part of the incredible array of artworks from a butterfly collage by Damien Hirstto Francis Bacon's Portrait de Michel Leiris, that Noten offers as examples of his inspiration.

The exhibition was put together with the museum's chief curator, Pamela Golbin, and came about after the designer visited it's archives. A visit which also inspired Noten's S/S 2014 collection, basing a tulip fabric on an embroidered textile from 1889, which he found in the vast permanent collection. From 150,000 objects overall, there are 6000 that have been picked to take permanent residence in the museum, leading to the exciting exhibition being only part of the attraction to Les Arts Décoratifs. Dedicated to the 'The French art of living', the chronological collection starts at the middle ages through to the present day, showcasing craftsmanship and creativity in every material, style and technique, with a diverse selection from scenic wallpaper and stained glass to shark skin.

With the exhibition running until the end of August you have plenty of time to take advantage of our 'Early Bird Advance Booking Rate' - book atleast 30 days in advance of your visit to receive discount. Offering the combination of a central location, elegant surroundings and first class service at the Hotel Beau Manoir, we will your Parisian journey offers an inspirational stay.


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