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All The Rage

At Dries Van Noten, an Op Art rave

PARIS -- Belgian designer Dries Van Noten is the man of the moment at Paris Fashion Week, with an exhibition devoted to his career set to open later this week at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs.

"Dries Van Noten: Inspirations," open March 1 to Aug. 31, will explore Van Noten's influences, including folkloric textiles and fine art, with music and film clips shedding light on the creative process behind the business he launched in 1986.

The fall 2014 collection that Van Noten showed on the runway Wednesday was certainly celebratory, what you'd expect from someone on a high note. It also was more bold and bright than ever before, and not the least bit folkloric or multicultural-looking. It was as if the designer was trying to say: "You may think you know me, but I can still surprise you."

With a look that was Op Art meets glam rock, it was like he had put all of his life's inspirations into a kaleidoscope and shook them up. The result was totally groovy.

The look: Oversized volumes and outsized graphics. Bold flowers and prints that imitate fabric weaves (foil waves, knitted diamonds and more). Vivid palette of yellow, navy, orange, pink, gray, black and silver.

Key pieces: Coats and midi-skirts with groovy wave stripes. Balloon sleeve dresses emblazoned with a single bold flower, or all-over graphic orchid prints. Two-toned diamond-patterned sweaters. A psychedelic, almost holographic-looking silvery beaded dress. Flight jackets with parachute straps and pulleys.

The verdict: Even after all these years, Van Noten can still keep us guessing. And it's a wonder that even when he's working in such bold strokes, the subtle gestures still shine through, like the barely-there sheen of green sequins sprinkled across a patterned top, or hand-painted silver flowers on a sweater. Here's to many more surprises to come.


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