Styling masterclass: Dries Van Noten SS13

I was so bowled over by the styling in the Dries Van Noten show, I thought I’d break it down in a blog post. Taken separately, each piece of the Dries collection is a beautiful, timeless workhorse. Weightless tea dresses, wrap jackets, sheer plaid shirts and patterned pants. Nothing new there. Put them together just so, with complementary hair, make-up and hands-in-pocket attitude and you have a bucketload of reasons why everyone (including me) will be referencing DVN this season, consciously or not.

Styling is everything in a show and to give these pieces a point of view, mixing up the components was key. So chiffony shirts and heels to add femininity to otherwise mannish tailoring, messy hair and Kurt Cobain-style glasses to knock some polish off the elaborate, 3D fabrics, and plenty of mish-mashy layering to make us take a longer, closer look. Some of my favourites below…

Plaid shirt buttoned up to the neck + loose, sheer, leg-flashing skirt = the right boy-girl mix.

Sheer, unbuttoned skirt + long ‘anti-fit’ skirt in delectable soft colours. Note the relative simplicity of the shirt and shoes with the ‘how did you do that’ flower-strewn applique skirt.

The key to this outfit is the variety of weights and proportions. The heavyish knit, over the sheer shirt which create uneven layers over the see through trousers (or is it a long skirt?) which itself is worn over a short skirt (or is it a pair of shorts?). The bare clavicle, strong lip and feminine clutch all counterbalance the grungy masculinity of the top half. Who knew there was so much science in styling?

How to wear a dress over trousers: pair super-skinny, silky pants (with zip ankles for added toughness) with a boxy, sleeveless jacket-dress. I like how the patterns are totally clashy but the tones are harmonious. I also like that the dress is loose but tailored so you could have a few lunches and it will still flatter. This could work with a heeled boot too but the bit of skin on show here counteracts the masculine proportions. Some chunky bangles or rings could also go well with this look.

We all know what a great colourist Dries is and I really think the tonal mixes are what makes these ensembles work and translate to real life. The look below is highly achievable with a boyish inky blazer and semi-fitted separates in a palette of blues and aubergines. The heels could be switched for brogue-like lace-ups (without socks) and this would still feel luxe and feminine.

When it comes to pyjama and dressing gown styling, you have to be careful, right? So the slightly tailored fit of the jacket here is crucial, as is the sheerness of the pyjamas-like pants and the omnipresent high-heeled court shoe. I like the classic shoe shape as opposed to something like a superwedge (which could also work but might be a bit much). Again, the colour combinations here are just beautiful and instinctive. I love the matte lip (Chanel’s L’Exuberante).

One more. This is such an elegant way to do grungy layering. Break this down and each piece is a beauty on its own, to go with plainer partners for work and beyond. Mix it all up though and you take this to a much more creative place with the different textures, weights and lengths working together. This calf length is usually considered frumpy but add the heels, wacky sunnies and rolled-up boyish sleeves and you have a look that’s super-confident and sexy in a non-obvious way. One for the Tommy Ton brigade I predict…

Isn’t it funny that Make-up artists and hairdressers explain their tricks backstage at the shows but the stylist is still mostly invisible and unheard? Just an observation…