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What Dries Van Noten Meant to Fashion

Dries Van Noten : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Menswear Spring/Summer 2017
Photo: Estrop/Getty Images

Dries Van Noten, the beloved Belgian designer known for his buzzy prints and elegant silhouettes, announced his imminent departure from his namesake label. His final show as creative director will be in Paris for the men’s spring 2025 season.

“In the early ’80s, as a young guy from Antwerp, my dream was to have a voice in fashion,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “Now, I want to shift my focus to all the things I never had the time for. I’m sad, but at the same time happy, to let you know that I will step down at the end of June. I have been preparing for this moment for a while, and I feel it’s time to leave room for a new generation of talents to bring their vision to the brand.”

Van Noten launched his namesake label in 1986. His designs often lean toward avant-garde opulence, filled with bold patterns and prints; bright, lush colors; and luxe fabrics. (The designer sold a majority of his brand to the Spanish fragrance and fashion firm Puig in 2018.)

“I can’t lie, I did a little cry this morning. It has been an immense honor to live with his clothes and take him with me through every part of my life,” the stylist Amanda Murray, who fondly refers to Van Noten as “Papa Dries” and estimates 70 percent of her closet is from his collections, wrote on Instagram this morning alongside a photo of the two together. “No one has made me feel more myself than my Papa Dries, and that is a gift for which I’m eternally grateful.”

Though his designs could be polarizing (Anna Wintour reportedly refuses to wear his work,) just a glance at many fashion writers’ and editors’ social media pages this morning highlighted the magnitude of Van Noten’s impact. Many of them, including WSJ.’s Sarah Spellings posted their first or favorite Van Noten outfits they’d worn or purchased themselves, highlighting how they felt when wearing or simply looking at the clothes he’d crafted.

While a successor has yet to be announced, “​​Conversations with designers in Europe have already taken place,” according to WWD. The outlet also noted that Van Noten would continue as chief creative officer and chairman of the board, according to parent company Puig. In his announcement, Van Noten noted his spring 2025 women’s collection “will be made by my studio team with whom I have been working very closely during all these years,” writing that he has “full confidence that they will do a great job.”

Dries closed his statement with a sketch of himself alongside his beloved dog, Harry, the two of them looking delightfully content. Perhaps now, he’ll have time to tend to his absolutely magnificent garden at his home in the Belgian countryside.

What Dries Van Noten Meant to Fashion