We should have known - 'we' being the audience of the show. The fact that the invitation arrived in our mail with a cheeky, red, plumped kiss had to mean something; It was different. Feminine. If we take a look at previous collections, I don't think we've ever seen faces on Van Noten's collections before. Most would agree that Marilyn is more than a simple face, precisely because she is what we would call 'a face' - a symbol and a true icon.
The SS16 collection followed from the AW15 which, if you would remember, left me wanting to jump off my seat to feel the hand-embroidered embellishments on the jackets. Showed, once again, at Van Noten's one of the many, usual, warehouse-like settings, few things can be learnt from the previous collection and Van Noten as a designer. He designs rather than impress, adapts an 'eccentric rather than minimalistic' approach, and maintains its reputation as an international brand with little to no advertising. Its unique niche has proven its capability to secure a group of loyal fans. As a a brand, Van Noten is extremely independent.
This particular collection has affirmed the fact that Van Noten is rather mysterious - one can never forecast what's next for Van Noten, but we sure can guess. By studying his recent collections, Van Noten can be said to be all about embroidery, embellishments and prints. Though nothing looks jumpy or uneasy on the eyes. There's no clashing, but rather it is more of a blend of unique materials. The most recent AW16 collection from the January Paris Menswear shows this year proved fluidity from his SS16 boxy skater shorts and straight-fitted robes, to his AW16 wide-leg trousers.
It was heart-warming to see Marilyn appear on the clothing. I, for myself, am a true fan of Marilyn because of her persona. Her films and music oozes positivity, humour and wit. One can imagine what the combination of Marilyn and Van Noten would mean to me, or the thoughts that were spinning in my head whilst viewing the collection. A remix of B-52's 'Rock Lobster' was played without overshadowing her sultry voice. Snippets from 'Some Like it Hot' and 'Gentlemen prefer blondes' were taken to add to her 'presence', recollecting her innocence whilst acting as 'a dumb blonde'. Not everyone would have Marilyn as their cup of tea, so the music chosen was a perfect accompaniment to the lobster, palm trees and other exotic prints.
As the show came to an end, the models lined up neatly before a large bang of confetti fell from the ceiling, along with blasting one of the most famous of Marilyn's songs - 'I Wanna Be Loved By You'. It's hugely unexpected; for some, it was played to snap them out of their Marilyn daydreams, while others might have even startled in their seats as the show truly reached its climax. For my first time, Van Noten has made it possible for the audience to walk up to the models, feel the clothing and observe. As most normally dash out to the following show, this brief yet intimate approach allowed the audience to connect stronger with the clothing, combining the benefits of a show and a presentation.
What a performance.
To be continued... #tbc