Dries Van Noten will never be the same again

Dries Van Noten will never be the same again

by Ollie Cox
5 min

Every once in a while, Paris Fashion Week gives us something for the history books, and Dries Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2025 collection did exactly that. After nearly 40 years at the helm, the designer is stepping down passing on the torch to the next generation of design talent. 

To mark the teary occasion, the Belgian designer held a massive last hurrah in a disused Parisian boiler factory, inviting a crowd of his nearest and dearest from across the fashion industry. Fellow Antwerp Six alum Walter Van Beirendonck was amongst those invited, as were Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton, who exchanged close words with the legendary designer. 

As if things weren’t emotional enough, guests were treated to a video wall of all of Dries’ 128 shows from 1986 until Spring/Summer 2025 (his 129th) on arrival. Before the show started, there were cocktails and canapes, helping set the mood for the culture-carving fashion finale that was about to go down.

Keep reading for the full rundown on Dries’ last show. 

A little bit about Dries Van Noten 

Dries Van Noten was a notable member of the Antwerp Six, a pioneering group of designers who studied at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1980 and 1981. Ann Demeulemeester, Marina Yee, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene, and Walter Van Beirendonck were all members of the collective and combined their unique design strengths to dominate the fashion industry with their refreshing approach to contemporary fashion. Dries Van Noten founded his eponymous label in 1986, taking the fashion industry by storm with its wearable avant gardism which weaved print and pattern into its sophisticated offering. 

The show space 

The show space was a tale of two halves, literally, with the runway sectioned off before by an industrial gate, which opened to reveal the space. If you’re a die-hard Dries fan, you might be familiar with the move from the brand’s Fall/Winter 2006 catwalk, only the first time around models walked on gold foil, and this time, it was silver. After the show, guests were scrambling to take home a piece of the runway and immortalise the occasion.

In this space, designers turned up in droves to get a glimpse of the occasion, including Harris Reed, Glenn Martens, Ann Demeulemeester, and Diane Von Furstenberg. Legendary fashion critic and editor Suzy Menkes, who was wearing Dries Van Noten, rocked up with former Dior and Berlutti Creative Director Kris Van Assche, adding to the list of heavy hitters who wanted to enter the world of Dries Van Noten one last time. 

Nostalgic, but not too nostalgic 

It would’ve been all too easy for Van Noten to present a highlight reel of his most notable designs or to repeat some of his most iconic runway moments, like that SS05 table-turned-runway. 

While Dries Van Noten’s SS25 collection wasn’t an on-the-nose “look at me” reproduction of his archival hits, one warm and well-executed reference was seen in the casting. Familiar faces who previously walked for the brand were back on the runway, including Kristina de Coninck, whose early career moves saw her modelling the designs of the Antwerp Six. 

Dries at its best 
Dries Van Noten ©

Dries’ final menswear outing saw print and pattern applied with his signature restraint, which followed muted tailored looks where single and double-breasted suiting oozed with his trademark sartorial sophistication. Sheer mesh trousers and tops overlaid undergarments, refracting in the light to elongate the silhouette. According to Dries Van Noten, the collection offered a “continuum of connection: encompassing ideas developed from classical to innovative, attesting to craft and colour.” Silver, pink, purple and yellows all intersected across outerwear, knitwear and accessories, with floral prints, velour and snakeskin all joining the party for one final colourful crescendo. 

In a nutshell 

Dries Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2025 collection saw the designer present one last irresistible offering, grounded in the colourful avant-garde design codes that he does so well. The final show soundtrack was Bowie’s “Sound and Vision” –  and what a vision he left. Thank you, Dries. 

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