Dries Van Noten: Inspirations

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Dries Van Noten, défilé Automne/Hiver 2008 / © DR
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For his exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten has drawn on the museum's collection to surround his clothes with artworks that inspire him – the geometric abstractions of Victor Vasarely, the expressionism of Kees van Dongen and bourgeois portraits of Jacques-Emile Blanche. From collection to collection and from season to season, painting, sculpture and photography show their influence on Van Noten's work, echoed in forms and colours.

However, Van Noten is not content with just presenting his work – instead, he has created a finely compartmentalised world on the model of a Renaissance 'cabinet of curiosities', bringing together images, fabric and found objects in themed cabinets ('butterflies', 'Orientalism', 'Gold' and so on). There's a liberal exchange between fashion, painting, sculpture, cinema, fauna, flora and crafts. In a similar way, Van Noten's creations are in some ways reflections of our age – rather than inventing new expressions, they are made up of what they find by looking to other times, places and peoples – the 1950s, military uniforms, Spanish bullfighters, '60s hippy chic, Bollywood, punk and more.

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