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Dries Van Noten Menswear Spring Summer 2016 Paris

Dries Van Noten finally gave into the cult of celebrity craze that has infiltrated every aspect of society since the advent of the web and the proliferation of social media.

Well, now that is not exactly true. His menswear collection, filled with black and white images of Marilyn Monroe, palm tree prints, lips crafted from sequins, and a lobster as a mascot, wasn’t joining in on the madness. It was beating it.

The show was a magically surreal sartorial social commentary on how anything and everything can become consumed and commoditized. Nothing is sacred anymore – not an image, not a unique design idea, not a piece of music. But sometimes that appropriation and repurposing of other people’s ideas can create something new and original.  

That was certainly the case on the Van Noten catwalk.

This was a roomy oversized collection filled with relaxed suiting, fly away outerwear, boxy skater shorts, and generous knit wear, all of which Van Noten adorned with Monroe in one way or another. And if she was too busy then a Schiaparelli lobster would take her place.

No one would argue that Monroe is easy on the eye. But she is also is powerfully distracting. So much so that all the different surreal elements in the show never dovetailed into a cohesive collection. Rather, they were all “one of” designs.

But Van Noten didn’t need, or perhaps even want, this collection to have a symbiotic relationship. After all, a man willing to wear a suit built from blown up images of the most famous screen siren of all time is not looking to blend in with others.