Deciphering Dries Denim

Deciphering Dries Denim

>> My weekend was supposed to be about devoting time to being the me of yesteryear, in a single state, plodding around London watching films at the BFI, trawling through charity shops and TK Maxx and trying to cram in five meals in a day so I can sample little bites all over town.  My Saturday did comprise mainly of that agenda (the normally very-rubbish TK Maxx on Charing Cross Road finally came up trumps for me – scored a S/S 11 Versus number for ¬£120) but on the way, there was a deliberate detour into Harvey Nichols, where they're having some 20% off promo (just register on their site and the discount is valid for the Bank Holiday Weekend) to check out what was looking tasty from current S/S 12 collection, before it all goes on sale in a month or so.  

In the Dries Van Noten corner was this lonesome intricately embroidered denim skirt.  Having stalked Dries all around town and in Paris, I've never spotted this piece.  It wasn't part of the S/S 12 main show yet the amount of lavish text and emblem embroidery on it suggests this is no mundane commercial piece.  Van Noten is no stranger to interesting interpretations of denim – his S/S 11 true blue denim fading into bleached white lingers vividly in memory.  Here though, a mid-calf faded blue denim skirt is the recipient of numerous emo fuelled ramblings spelled out painstakingly in hundreds of gunmetal bugle beads, fitting in neatly with the incredibly nuanced and perfectly judged remixed grunge vibes of the S/S 12 collection.  You can well imagine the design team at Dries throwing phrases and slogans around the room to make up the embroidery design of this skirt, some of which is frankly illegible, even after staring at it for a good while and inspecting the lining to trace the embroidery threads.  Some of it deliberately riffs off of metal/grunge cliches – "Death Rage", "Eclipse" and "Oracle" in heavy goth-hued font, "Clash till dawn" and "Things Get Worse" in emo scrawl.  Other phrases are a little nonsensical – "When the ocean is wounded, it takes the whale." – is in a similar vein to slogan tees I remember seeing in Hong Kong where the English would be broken and odd, expressing sentiments such as "Love Peace Power Pretty Girl".  Flanking this RAAAWK verbage are the tried and tested power-ridden beasts – an eagle and a tiger – I'd expect nothing less from this seemingly irreverant and poke-fun piece.  From a distant, all of this text blurs into what appears to be an abstract pattern of obscure lines, showcasing what is a fine bit of Indian embroidery.    

Combined with memories of writing in Tippex over backpacks and exercise books and innane scribblings in my "journal" (I re-read mine from time to time and find myself curled up in a ball of toe-curling embarrassment) and the unexpected discount, I convinced myself that this skirt was an "investment".  Even if it is a size too big.  Blame it on the concept of Future Vintage lingering in my head.  So long as the bugle beading doesn't unravel somewhere (I'll be lowering myself down on buses/restaurant seats/benches with painfully slow movement when I'm wearing this skirt), hopefully someone fifty years down the line will appreciate it for its deliberate poor-taste zane and as yet another fine example of Van Noten's genre and style mixology skills.  
















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  1. Brigadeiro

    2013-05-05 at 1:11 PM

    Wow, I would not have guessed ‘Dries’ as the designer for this item, but it looks brilliant! The cut, the embellishment…hope to see it featured on a post some time! Hope there are some decent stuff (DVN in particular) left at Harvey Nichs’ sale when I come up for a visit late in June *cross fingers*

  2. Kirbybee

    2013-05-05 at 1:58 PM

    What a stunning piece. No words.

  3. Hummingbirdgirl

    2013-05-05 at 2:13 PM

    WOW, I want it !!! love it

  4. Stephany

    2013-05-05 at 3:04 PM

    Oh my God that is STUNNING

  5. Ailee

    2013-05-05 at 3:10 PM

    wow, I want it‚ô•

  6. bayu radith

    2013-05-05 at 4:06 PM

    love that stuff.. awesome..

  7. Meital

    2013-05-05 at 4:29 PM

    amazing piece!
    Très Jolie fashion blog
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  8. LM Florian

    2013-05-05 at 5:55 PM

    Great post !
    Love, unicorns and glitter on you. <3

  9. MARTA

    2013-05-05 at 6:18 PM

    Nice post! I like the skirt so much!

  10. vasilieva

    2013-05-05 at 7:15 PM

    this one is one heck of a piece. ode to the ’90s. i guess


    2013-05-06 at 2:14 AM

    Almost like a puzzle on a denim skirt. It is very interesting…don’t know if I’d wear it but I would certainly love to see someone in it.

  12. milex

    2013-05-06 at 3:04 AM

    I have enough of denim.

  13. The Provoker

    2013-05-06 at 12:57 PM

    The craft is gorgeous! Yep, I, along with most fash-peeps, are keeping a super close eye on Dries, we all got high hopes for him and hope to see some ad campaigns or fashion films. Love a designer take on denim, always great to see their mark.
    xx The Provoker

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    2013-05-06 at 3:03 PM

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  15. Maya Topadze Griggs

    2013-05-07 at 3:52 AM

    love how you said “find myself curled up in a ball of toe-curling embarrassment”. I have that feeling if I look at my old blog posts but it’s still all part of me, part of my journey.

  16. Lena

    2013-05-07 at 9:06 AM

    a curious fact: you can actually read the ‘illegible’ words if you look in the mirror, I have no idea why, buy they are spelled backwards! have fun!

  17. Deadly Bite

    2013-05-16 at 10:29 PM

    Pretty cool! I would turn it into a jacket, though 😛

  18. Brigadeiro

    2013-09-23 at 6:03 AM

    Finally posted the pics I snapped of you outside Chanel (couture show in Paris) wearing this skirt on my blog, I recognised it before I saw it was you wearing it, haha! SO jealous, it is incredible!
    Brigadeiro’s Blog

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