Dries Van Noten in an interview with VOGUE: “If something is too good, I want to break it”

There is absolutely no system behind it. This is what I always tell my team: the last thing I want is for us to work with a formula or a rule. Because then it gets boring. In this way, we always remain alert and receptive to the new and unusual. Of course, you can take a floral print and print it on a part of the men’s collection. It works, of course. But then what is the next step? I’ve actually been doing this for a while, and I want to – and have to – continue to be amazed. Everything revolves around surprises. My team should surprise me and vice versa. I call it creative ping pong. We discuss everything.

Are there many discussions?

Of course. You know, I have a very young team around me. Many of them came to me fresh from university. I’m also regularly faced with the fact that my entire womenswear team wasn’t even born when I started designing. Yes, there is a lot of discussion here. But these are very good discussions and we are all happy to be able to work together.

Have you ever seen images of your brand years later and thought, “I would never do that again?” I don’t like this color combination anymore”?

in years? Rather a few days! (laughs) I am very critical of my work. I always present my collections much later than they were created. But I am always satisfied with my work. And I love my old collections.

It sounds like you’re not a big fan of last-minute changes.

Not really, no. I am very structured in my work. Creativity is also a quality that sometimes arises due to time pressure. I’m a perfectionist, but there are times when you just have to let go of a project – finish it and let it happen. You have to make decisions, you are not always 100 percent satisfied with everything, and that is good. Coincidences are an important part of my work.

You are known in the industry as a perfectionist. Do you strive for this unattainable goal with your work?

The contradiction in my work is this: I’m a perfectionist, but I don’t like perfection. In my opinion, imperfect things and people are the closest thing to perfection. Everything else scares me. If something is too beautiful and perfect, I want to break it up with something else. It doesn’t matter in which area. If something is too perfect, it looks fake, like a fairy tale. Something has to change that image, or something random has to collide with it, for the object or view to be truly intriguing.


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