The Dries Van Noten Spring/Summer 2019 Menswear Collection, recently presented in Paris, was inspired by Verner Panton. An agreement with the family of the great Danish designer, who died in 1998, has allowed Van Noten to adapt some of his famous graphics to items of menswear. It is no accident that the name of the collection is Optimistic, channelling the energy that characterised the mid-Sixties, of which Panton remains one of the most outstanding interpreters (see also the article here “Buon Compleanno Panton Chair!”). Let us not forget that some of the most iconic objects of that time were actually designed by Panton, although he discovered an even more personal and unforgettable gift for the arrangement of interiors: no longer the white box of the rationalist architects (Panton trained with Arne Jacobsen), but an organic and enveloping unicum of shapes and colours, with textiles taking on a predominant and extremely original role.
According to Verner Panton: "The main purpose of my work is to provoke people into using their imagination. Most people spend their lives living in dreary, grey-beige conformity, mortally afraid of using colours”.
Dries van Noten has managed to retrieve not just the colour palettes and several unforgettable patterns from that era, but also the concept of an anti-bourgeois design stance capable, just as Panton’s design was at the time, of breaking many of the conventions that afflict men’s fashion. Colour first and foremost: emerald green, rainbow orange, sunshine yellow, as well as cocoa and ink are to be found on jackets and lightweight trench coats. Then there are the prints: important, clear and iconic (including a large hand, Verner’s own, on t-shirts). Lastly there are the fabrics, with obvious contrasts between the artificiality of shiny nylon and polyester and the robust naturalness of cotton and linen. M.R.
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