Fashion designer Dries Van Noten to retire

The feted Belgian designer Dries Van Noten will step down as creative director of his namesake fashion label this summer, he announced Tuesday.

Van Noten, 65, is set to leave after the next Paris Fashion Week menswear show in June.

Known for luxurious colours, avant-garde styles and expert tailoring, Van Noten began as part of the so-called Antwerp Six who trained at the city’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the 1980s.

Other members included daring designers Walter Van Beirendonck and Ann Demeulemeester.

In his statement, Van Noten said his career had been “a dream come true”.

“I want to shift my focus to all the things I never had time for. I’m sad, but at the same time, happy,” he said.

Van Noten added that a replacement would be announced “in due time” and that his studio team would handle the next womenswear collection.

Though not a household name, Van Noten is a hero for many in the fashion world where he is often known simply as DVN.

He grew up as the third generation of a family of tailors, and worked first as a freelancer before launching his own collection of menswear in 1986.

He won the International Designer of the Year Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2008, and celebrated his 100th fashion show in 2017.

“My joy is to create a garment that fuses and balances beauty, craft and function,” he said in an interview on his website.

“I enjoy juggling with colours, textures and light in a way that evokes rather than provokes.”

His latest womenswear collection, presented this month in Paris, was lauded for bringing a note of colour and excitement to everyday items — which fashion site WWD described as “audacious everyday”, a counterpoint to the recent trend for “quiet luxury”.

Van Noten sold a majority stake in his label to Spanish conglomerate Puig in 2018, but remained chairman of the board and creative director.

The brand has added beauty and perfume lines, and expanded into e-commerce, since Puig’s takeover.

Van Noten finished his letter by thanking his clients and fans.

“Seeing our clothes out in the world… has fulfilled me beyond words,” he said.


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