How Dries Van Noten Built Prints Working with Bouquets From His Have Backyard garden
“I did not want sweet flowers,” says Dries Van Noten of the vivid color-saturated floral patterns that he layered across supple silk trench coats and diaphanous column robes for his fall 2019 collection. “I thought, ‘What is the most spontaneous, most immediate way to create a flower print?’” The Belgian designer, who is renowned for his painterly botanical prints, uncovered the remedy, as he so usually does, in his very own garden, the sprawling 55-acre patchwork of rose bushes, fruit trees and swaying wild grasses that surrounds his 1840s neo-Classical property close to Antwerp.
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On a crisp afternoon in October, he headed exterior armed with shears and a digital camera. He slice fuchsia and lemon-yellow roses, burgundy dahlias and cornflower blue delphiniums from bountiful late-year bushes and suspended the blooms from delicate clear threads in front of a sky blue paper backdrop. He and his team then photographed the flowers, illuminated only by the fading sunshine, before digitally printing the illustrations or photos onto silks, chiffons and crepe de Chine. The final result is a assortment of prints that really feel naturalistic and just about palpably alive. “The past warm poker of the time, printed now on a gown, was a thing that I genuinely appreciated as a concept,” the designer claims of one of the specimens, the flame purple African flowering plant also identified as Kniphofia. In the collection, its starburst-like petals wend their way up a dusky blue belted trench dress in a buttery silk, as if even now sprouting from the earth.
Impressed in element by the introspective temper of the American writer Gertrude Stein’s 1913 poem “Sacred Emily” — perhaps most effective identified for its line “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” — Van Noten felt that the prints for this selection need to not be intimate. “I liked the idea that a rose can be a man or woman, it can stand for a symbol of natural beauty, it can stand for many things,” he suggests. Combining vibrant, a bit acidic colors — sugary violet, ice blue, sherbet yellow — with moody grays and masculine tailoring, the designer made what he describes as an aura of “strange splendor.” To that finish, he intentionally photographed the flowers for the prints in the slide. “At the conclusion of the time, you have mildew, black spots,” he claims. “You observed all the flowers with imperfections, but it presents the bouquets fact.”