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Dries Van Noten’s “As Usual” Glorious Finale: A Last Show Filled with Tears and Happiness

On June 22, Paris was covered with gray clouds, with rain coming and going. On this day, Dries Van Noten, who was retiring as a designer, was emotionally moved by his significant decision to step down from his brand. “There are days when I think, ‘Ah, this was the best decision I could make,’ and other days when I wonder, ‘What have I done?'” Many who love “Dries Van Noten” probably felt a mix of eagerness to see new work and sorrow over his departure.

For his final show, the 2025 Spring/Summer Men’s Collection, Van Noten chose a former factory site in the heart of La Courneuve, the same location where he held his 50th show in 2004. Guests arrived wearing their special “Dries Van Noten” pieces, ranging from the latest items to collections over 10 years old, creating an atmosphere akin to an exhibition. There were no perfectly dressed pop stars or screams from fans; just people who purely loved fashion, sharing memories of the brand while waiting for the final runway show to begin.

Many designers came to see the 66-year-old Van Noten’s final appearance, including Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck, who had also been part of the “Antwerp Six,” as well as Pierpaolo Piccioli, Haider Ackermann, Diane von Furstenberg, Thom Browne, and Veronique Nichanian. Rumor has it that fellow Belgian designer Martin Margiela also attended. Additionally, there were representatives from an Indian embroidery factory that had collaborated with Van Noten for about 30 years.

This collection featured entirely menswear. Models included Alain Gossuin, who had opened Van Noten’s first show, and Christina De Coninck, who had walked in his early shows, among other men and women of various generations symbolizing different eras of “Dries.” This reflected Van Noten’s belief in “a big, happy world where anyone can wear what they want.” “The models in this show are all like family to me. It was really important for me to have everyone around to celebrate this moment,” he explained.

In the finale, models appeared all at once, arm in arm, laughing as they walked down the silver runway. When Van Noten appeared last, about 1,000 guests welcomed him with a standing ovation. All the guests were smiling, filled with hope and joy.

Backstage, Van Noten said, “I don’t know yet. I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I am very, very happy,” expressing his contentment. He mentioned that after completing interviews, he plans to go to a villa in Italy with his partner, Patrick Vangheluwe, to plan their next steps. While he will continue to advise “Dries Van Noten” and be involved in beauty and store design, his words were bright and hopeful. By the end of the show, the capricious Paris sky had cleared, as if to celebrate the beloved designer.

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