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It was the best kept secret in Paris. As guests filed into a concrete bunker within the Opéra Bastille for Dries Van Noten’s latest show, they found on each and every seat a single red rose with a card that read ‘DVN XCLX’. Could it be? A collaboration between two leaders of 80s/90s fashion?

Having left fashion over 10 years ago to pursue his other passion, costume design, Christian Lacroix is still considered a supernova of haute couture, so with the news of this impending partnership about to be visibly manifested, the bunker was buzzing.

Collaborations tend to be a bit of back-scratching exercise - a power-play usually between two big brands vying for prominence. Sportswear has seen some of the biggest moves in this arena in recent years. But this was something different, this was a mutual appreciation playing out before the fashion world’s eyes, a helping-hand as it were, a gentle push out of the comfort-zone into new and exciting territory that no one had ever seen coming. 

The bareness of the bunker and the abundance of the collection worked together in a surprising manner, much like Dries Van Noten and Christian Lacroix themselves. Polka dots, feathers, flamenco skirts and beautiful brocade poured onto the runway reminiscent of some of Monsieur Lacroix’s best work, together with a 90s classic Dries Van Noten pairing of white jeans and tops, grounding the collection with a wearability that is fundamental in much of DVN’s work.

In an interview on the Dries Van Noten website, Christian Lacroix and Dries Van Noten give a revealing insight into this collaboration and how it came about. As Dries Van Noten says it was ‘for fun, the joy of dressing up’ - what better reason do we need? The beauty of this inspired work is that this isn’t a simply a homage, or a rehash of the ‘best bits’ that these stalwarts of fashion have come up with before. This is something new, something contrasting, something evolutionary that pushes the boundaries, and still manages to be accessible, approachable, and beautiful. It may be for one season only, but it may just have redefined the Dries Van Noten mould and we guarantee we’ll be talking about this one for a long time yet.

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--EOB

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