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Dries Van Noten and Casablanca

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A sunny Wednesday afternoon in Paris Fashion Week could be profitably spent at two shows: Dries Van Noten and Casablanca, where the connecting thread was the euphoria blending of unlikely materials, hues and moods.
 

Dries Van Noten: Mixing and matching

Mix and masterly match at Dries Van Noten, whose ability to blend distant fabrics, colors and textures made for an elegant collection sure to please thousands of women.

Dries Van Noten – Fall-Winter2024 – 2025 – Womenswear – France – Paris – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

 
A collection which Van Noten admitted post-show he was editing up until the last minute as he blended metallic jacquards, sheer Lycra, wooly mop bags, clustered sequins and dense wool tailoring. In the hands of a lesser designer this would have been a mess, but Dries managed to make it all work, and how.
 
“A woman who dares to cut her own fringe,” chuckled Van Noten, half of whose cast had foreheads covered in hair.

Dries cut with volume throughout, but the big news was the unexpected combos of multiple lengths and materials – combining sweatshirts with flesh-colored materials; or pairing fully embroidered jackets with a men’s shirt underneath. Same thing with the color scheme – super intense metallics, elastic-based lace, fluffy duchesse, either real or polyester depending on how they could take color.
 
From a dashing pink knitted mohair evening coat to an outstanding dipped satin polyester trench in descending colors of electric blue, kissing pink and muddy brown.
 
“It’s a matter of trial and error, but the key thing is each piece has to stand on its own right,” added the Belgium designer to explain the editing process.
 
“A woman of audacity; considered and takes time to do things for herself. Very talented, very strong. She wants to be loved and she decides herself. And she decides what is daywear, evening and night, combining all of them together as she wants,” he insisted.
 
All told, an impressive show and a striking location inside a disused department store on Boulevard Haussmann, marred only by an inane soundtrack which sounded like Shade trying to sing, but continually being shut down.
 
In effect, the acquisition of Van Noten in 2018 was the icing on the cake of a Puig Group fashion acquisition campaign. They control a stable of brands like Carolina Herrera, Rabanne, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Rochas.
 
One can always tell a hit show by the mood of the patron. In this case José Manuel Albesa, who was beaming as he marched back into the backstage.
 
“What a great show,” enthused Albesa, who also happens to be president of Puig Beauty and Fashion.  
 

Casablanca: Greco Magna in the northern Med

In an entirely different mood, Casablanca looked to Ancient Greece in its latest collection, a jumbled-up meeting of antiquity and after party style, presented with great pomp inside the Cirque d’Hiver.

Casablanca – Fall-Winter2024 – 2025 – Womenswear – France – Paris – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

“I wanted to show that there is a natural connection between Greek myths and modern France,” said Casablanca founder Charaf Tajer.
 
Unlike most shows, which begin with daywear and end at night, Charaf started with a cutaway bodycon all-white cocktail exposing acres of legs and pants where one label wrapped like a shawl around the torso. Seen in glimmering white or sinful red, always ready to party.
 
Entitled ‘Venus as a Boy’, after the classic Bjork song, the show was staged before several scores of mime dancers of Murmuration, choreographed by Sadeck Berrabah. Adding a sense of theatre to the show.
 
Charaf’s big idea was blending the myth of the city of Eleusis and its annual religious festival – the likes of Plato, Sophocles, Aristotle and Herodotus are said to have attended the rite. In a co-ed show, one chap in green dégradé mohair redingote even carried a Grecian urn.
 
A collection featuring lots of active sports elements – from the Lycra running tops with Hellenic star signs and swimmers caps, to the baseball jackets with Olympic torches and skiers glasses.
 
Experienced guests could not help murmuring the word Versace at times, with all the Grecian script, friezes and bodycon style on view. But to his credit, Charaf gives everything his own spin – an upbeat, sports-driven, multi-colored vision of fashion that has made his brand one of the hottest in France. Call it a Mediterranean mash up, or downtown Dedalus.
 

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