You really want to see this Dries Van Noten Paris Exhibition

First look at this Dries Van Noten Paris celebratory exhibition had me cheering for the designer’s novel approach to mixing bold prints, vivid colors, ethnic references and plays with textiles in ways that are fiercely modern. Let’s see what Richard saw. –S.H. I went to see the newly launched Dries Van Noten exhibition last Thursday with a friend visiting from out of town who is into fashion (and who comes once a year to Paris to buy her clothes), so I thought she would enjoy taking in the inspirations too. Dries-Van-Noten-Retrospective-Paris-History-Fashion-4 The fashion exhibitions at Musée des Arts Decoratifs are studiously presented in a specially designated space. The atmosphere is almost like going to the theater: it’s pitch black except for the vitrines that are dimly lit. It doesn’t always work and at past shows it’s been difficult to see the details of the clothes (unfortunate!). For the Dries Van Noten Inspirations show it worked to its advantage creating an air of mystery and romance. The thing we liked best about the show was instead of just a retrospective, it’s built around the designer’s sources of inspiration, which covered everything from pop art and music to brilliant painters to contemporaries. It was intimate access to his design instincts. Dries-Van-Noten-Retrospective-Paris-History-Fashion-3 The first vitrine featured a selection of other designer’s clothing from the 1980’s including Claude Montana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood along with posters from 1980’s music icons Grace Jones and Klaus Nomi. Along side the first vitrine is a clever walkway with names of artists, musicians, and celebrities emblazoned on the wall and ceiling in bold white capital letters against a black background. Eclectic themes in the other vitrines include Frances Bacon, The Duke of Windsor, and Cecil Beaton and more abstract themes such as enchanted gardens, feathers and camouflage Dries-Van-Noten-Retrospective-Paris-History-Fashion-1 The exhibition is dense with over 400 objects so be sure to take your time and absorb every detail. Upstairs Japanese artist Azuma Makoto has created a floral wonderland with large-scale flowers and plants on a black background to show off the sumptuous floral prints heavily used in his collections. You can also see the brilliant and prolific range of signatures Van Noten has created over a 28 year span. I most appreciated his innovative textiles and the way he freely mixes completely different prints in one garment. Dries Van Noten worked closely for over two years with head curator Pamela Golbin to orchestrate the show, and that labor of love delivered here. Richard Nahem Visit in Paris: Till August 31, 2014 Musée des Arts Decoratifs 107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Metro: Palais Royal-Musée de Louvre Open Tuesday to Sunday 11AM to 6PM, Thursday till 9PM