"Indie Hero" Dries Van Noten: I Like Ugly Things

March 30, 2012 12:00 AM

" Belgian designer Dries Van Noten has been a quiet force in the fashion industry since launching his label in 1986. He's also known to be fairly quiet himself, making his decision to participate in French Institute Alliance Francais's third and final "Fashion Talk" last night at Florence Gould Hall all the more intriguing. 

As a member of the famed "Antwerp Six"--a collective of six graduates from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts that includes Ann Demeulemeester and Dirk Bikkembergs--Van Noten's unconventional approach to design and business has made him something of a cult icon. Iris Apfel, an unconventional icon in her own right, offered the designer's warm, if not entirely audible, introduction, describing the designer as "our hero."

To be sure, there is something heroic in Van Noten's ability to avoid the familiar trappings of a big fashion house. Accordingly, moderator Pamela Golbin steered discussion towards his rogue status, from his refusal to adjust designs for "trendiness" to his total lack of advertising "

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