Last week, one of the most authentic independent designer brands, Dries Van Noten, surprisingly sold a majority stake to Spanish fashion and fragrance group Puig.
Even in the fashion and luxury industry, the appetite for mergers and acquisitions remains at a record high this year.
The eponymous brand launched by Belgian designer Dries Van Noten is now part of a fashion group that includes Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
The designer will remain a minority shareholder, and CEO and chairman of the board.
Dries Van Noten is still one of the few brands that really makes money with its clothes.
With the experience and excellence of Puig in the beauty market, the Belgian fashion house is likely to start venturing into the beauty and fragrance businesses.
Last Thursday, the Belgian designer unveiled his 2019 spring/summer collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
In keeping with tradition, the brand’s fashion show featured no international celebrities seated the front row or musical guests performing: the focus was placed, as ever, on the clothes.
Just one week earlier, Italian designer Miuccia Prada had impressed by furnishing her show space in Milan with inflatable plastic stools adapted from an idea by the late Danish interior designer Verner Panton.
In Paris, the Belgian designer used a pattern of textile work by Panton for his prints. One might put it down to the old saying, “Great minds think alike”.
Both of the designers, Prada and Van Noten, went in the same direction, with a 1960s feel to their collections.
The Belgian designer used various Scandinavian-style prints by Panton, such as squares, curves and waves using a few psychedelic colours.
The collection has a great balance of designer clothes in vivid summery colours mixed with relaxed, tailored garments in more basic colours such as navy blue, camel, olive green and off-white.
The longer the collection show went on, the more the psychedelic prints in orange, yellow and red were infused in the formal designs.
In the styling, the talented designer made bold choices so easily, such as pale-pink overalls presented on the catwalk with the sleeves tied around the model’s waist, and an orange shirt paired with a fuchsia, single-breasted jacket, which offered an appealingly chic outcome.
The relaxed styling to suits saw tailored trousers cropped at the ankle – perfect for the summer heat.
While all the main fashion houses have been going crazy about trainers for commercial reasons, Dries Van Noten was going in the opposite direction with colour-blocked sporty sandals.
The show featured no drone flying above in the sky, no patchwork of collaborations with trendy sportswear brands, no preview on social media and no trainers: the Belgian designer showed he still has the same sense of discreet yet assured creative power.
The beloved Dries Van Noten received a thunderous ovation from all the guests at the end of his show.
His collection had combined the simplicity of the male silhouette with funky prints in daring colours. Sometimes choosing a bold aesthetic, but most of the time opting for practical designs, his garments are always meticulously smart creations suitable for men’s daily lives.
As independent designer in the past – or now, as part of a large fashion group – the name of Dries Van Noten will always remain synonymous with creative freedom, exquisite prints and nonchalant elegance.