Looking Back at The Legacy of Dries Van Noten

5 min read
Dries Van Noten Fall Winter 2024. Image: Spotlight.

The designer backstage at his Dries Van Noten Spring Summer 2024 Menswear Show in June.

All Images Spotlight/Launchmetrics.

In March the fashion world began processing the sad news that Dries Van Noten would be stepping back from his namesake brand after a 38-year run. Often called a designer’s designer, which really means that people with the most refined fashion eye had an enduring passion for his clothes, always interesting and expressive but never over-the-top. Some fans cried, even panic-shopping after the announcement.

Backstage at the Dries Van Noten Spring Summer 2024 Menswear Show.

Born in Antwerp in 1958,  Dries Van Noten is the third generation in a family of tailors. At the age of 18, Dries entered the fashion design course of Antwerp’s Royal Academy and became one of the famous Antwerp Six.  He started with men’s fashion in 1986, and expanded to women’s collections in 1992.

Van Noten’s ability to blend chic simplicity with flattering proportions makes his clothing especially appealing. His designs, known for lacking defined waistlines, cater to those who value elegance without effort. Van Noten is renowned for his strategic use of exquisitely designed prints, precise proportions, and mastery of colour, a rarity in the field.

Dries Van Noten captivates with collections rich in detail, where every colour and print is combined with unmatched artistry.


In a ceremonious nod to his sartorial brilliance, June 2008 saw Dries Van Noten bestowed with the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s International Designer of the Year Award. Van Noten’s influence, however, extends far beyond his collections. A prime example is his 2014 Paris exhibition, “Dries Van Noten: Inspirations,” which served more as a homage to the myriad designers and artists who have shaped his vision than a mere display of his own work. This exhibition showcased Van Noten’s humility and generosity, traits that have won him admiration within the industry.

The exhibition’s journey continued to Antwerp in 2015, a year marked by further accolades. In July, France recognized Van Noten’s artistic contributions, awarding him the prestigious ‘Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.’ Then, in October 2016, The Province of Antwerp presented Van Noten with its Culture Award, acknowledging his significant cultural contributions.

Furthermore, Van Noten’s commitment to authenticity in fashion, prioritizing the dressing of ‘real women’ over seeking celebrity endorsements, distinguishes him within the fashion world.

Looks from Van Noten’s past collections are displayed with selections of period and global attire, film clips, and artwork. Photo: Dominique Maître. Source.

His designs support and empower women, a philosophy that has garnered him a dedicated following. His personal life, too, reflects a thoughtful balance between work and leisure, as evidenced by his daily commutes from his country home and his famously well-tended gardens.


Menswear AW19


One of his brand’s most memorable moments was during his 50th show anniversary. That evening, the runway was transformed into a dining table for a celebratory dinner, which was a potent reminder of the unique experiences his fashion shows offer. It’s this blend of personal connection, innovative design, and genuine engagement with the audience that cements Dries Van Noten’s status as a beloved figure in the fashion world.

In June 2018 Puig entered the capital structure of Dries Van Noten as majority owner. The designer remains, over the long term, a significant minority shareholder and continues his role as chief creative officer and chairman of the board.

2019 saw Mr Van Noten collaborate with world renowned fashion designer Mr Christian Lacroix on his collection for Women, Spring/Summer 2020. In June 2020, and September 2021, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has again nominated Dries Van Noten for its International Designer of the Year Award.

The Belgian designer will end his nearly 40-year run with a final menswear show in Paris this June. However, his fans don’t need to fret because his clothes will still be available in stores until next spring. As we prepare for his epic sendoff, let’s cherish the time left with his exceptional designs. Here are some of our favourite collections:

Men’s AW14

Mens AW14


Mens AW16


SS05 Men’s at École des Beaux-Arts, Paris


AW96 Women’s at a huge warehouse, Paris


AW19 Women’s collection


AW13 Men’s collection


AW16 Women’s collection


AW20 Women’s collection, a vibrant blend of print and colour.

Showcasing his mastery of print and colour. Dries Van Noten's womenswear SS2020 show.


AW00 Men’s and Women’s collection a muted palette