Dries Van Noten (born 12 May 1958 in Antwerp) is a Belgian fashion designer and an eponymous fashion brand. In 2005, the New York Times described him as “one of fashion’s most cerebral designers”. His style is said to be “eccentric”, and fell out of favor during the long period of minimalistic fashion in the early 1990s, only to make a come back towards the mid-2000s, culminating with Van Noten’s winning of the International Award of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2008. That same year, he dressed actress Cate Blanchett for the Academy Awards, and has continued to dress her for other red carpet events since then.
Other notable customers include Princess Mathilde of Belgium, and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Van Noten was born into a family of garment makers and traders: his father owned a menswear shop and his grandfather was a tailor. He graduated from the Antwerp Academy in 1980, and began his career in 1986, when he presented his first menswear collection in London as part of the The Antwerp Six collective. That led to a small order from Barneys New York, a store that still stocks his merchandise regularly. Louis, Boston, was one of the first to bring Dries to USA, carrying his collection and selling in in Boston.He currently creates four collections a year (men’s and women’s, both for summer and winter).
The brand does not offer haute couture; all of its designs are ready to wear and available at retail: “‘I’m a little naive but I don’t like the idea of showing things that you don’t sell in a store”, said Van Noten in a recent interview. His work is said to be characterized by use of prints, colors, original fabrics and layering. He does not advertise.
Van Noten works and lives in Antwerp, but his brand has shops in multiple locations worldwide. The first, opening in Antwerp in 1989, was “Het Modepaleis”. Shop openings in Hong Kong and Tokyo followed. In early 2007, a shop was opened in Paris, decorated with antiques collected by Van Noten and his partner Patrick Vangheluwe, followed ten months later by a shop in Singapore. The brand is said to be carried in some 400 fashion shops around the world. As the brand is a private company, not much is known about its financial affairs, although it claims to have annual sales of some 30 million euro.