Dries Van Noten
Born: Antwerp, Belgium, 1958
The third generation in a family of tailors, Dries Van Noten’s grandfather reworked second hand clothes during the two world wars and his father owned a large high end boutique. With his mother working in a store and collected antique linen and lace, Van Noten was introduced to fashion from a very early age.
Attending shows in Milan, Dusseldorf and Paris with his father, Van Noten learnt about the commercial and technical side of fashion. With a greater interest in designing than selling, Van Noten enrolled on the fashion design course at Antwerp’s Royal Academy. During his studies, he worked as a freelance designer giving him invaluable experience.
After graduating, Van Noten carried on freelance designing while designing his own collection of shirts, trousers and blazers. In 1986 he launched his collection to immediate success, selling to Barneys New York, Whistles in London and Pauw in Amsterdam.
The same year, Van Noten opened a small boutique in Antwerp’s gallery arcade selling his men’s and women’s collections. In 1989 Van Noten moved from the boutique into a five story former department store which he restored.
In 2007, Van Noten opened a boutique in Paris and in 2009 opened a boutique in Tokyo. The following year Van Noten opened his first men’s store in Paris. In 2008, he dressed actress Cate Blanchett for the Academy Awards and has since continued to dress her for various red carpet events. Other notable customers of his include Queen Mathilde of Belgium and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. In 2018, one of his iconic items, known as the Dries van Noten suit, was featured in the third episode of the television show Killing Eve.
Van Noten’s brand focuses on ready-to-wear designs and does not offer haute couture. He believes in creating pieces that are available for purchase in stores rather than showcasing items that are not sold. His work is known for its use of prints, colours, original fabrics, and layering. Despite his success, Van Noten chooses not to advertise his brand.
The Dries Van Noten brand has multiple shops worldwide. The first shop, named “Het Modepaleis,” opened in Antwerp in 1989. Subsequently, shops were opened in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, and Singapore. The brand is also carried in around 400 fashion shops globally. In 2018, the brand was acquired by the family-owned Spanish fragrance and fashion firm Puig, while Dries Van Noten himself remains a minority shareholder.
Van Noten’s designs and influences were showcased in a 2014 exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, which later travelled to Antwerp. The exhibition featured 180 pieces by Van Noten as well as additional artworks, garments, and clips from external collections.
Dries Van Noten Biography