January 24th marks my first time in Paris buying. I was given this opportunity and aimed to take full advantage of my time there. It became apparent that my perception of fashion week had become slightly distorted over the years of viewing both Mr Schuman and Tommy Ton’s inspirational blogs. The realistic side proved to be the unbalanced dashing from appointment to appointment with the slight break in between. I realise I can’t complain as I was surrounded by the charismatic facades of the Les Marais.
After leaving the Rendez-Vous we left for the streets where I found myself surrounded by the same alluring women I become fixated with over on Yvan Rodric’s personal blog. We took a sharp right onto a humble street where a frosted glass window read the words Dries Van Noten. The bell was rung and we were invited inside. The showroom was simple and elegant, large black and oak tables dominated the area with line sheets and note pads scattered creating an abstract camouflage. Within minutes we were left to our own devices with my attention being drawn towards the Dries staff members wearing strong pieces from the SS11 collection such as the Bleached Denim Shirt subtly covered with a clean black crew neck and the Nennos Tie Cardigan worn with flat colours to excentuate it’s simple leather detail.
I couldn’t quite get my head around the sheer mass of items to be selected. It made me think about the process it must take to whittle the pieces down to an on point collection ready for a show and there’s no doubt that he hasn’t excelled when it comes to show’s with every season creating a burst of energy and months of blogging all around. The two other buyers chose their selection, which evidently became quite safe as 23 years of successful business has made their frame of mind more drawn to the more commercial side of fashion making it in reality, sad. I wanted to shed light on this trip and allow them to see how taking risks allows one to feel more involved and passionate about the products. Seasons after Seasons myself and Kevin have discussed how both stores do not excel and take advantage of the accounts that they have victoriously held for a number of years. However this seemed to have a profound effect with my choices being taken very seriously.
Outerwear, Shirting and Tailoring had been finished with some strong pieces standing out. We made the move downstairs where the rails were overflowing with large pieces of knitwear, walls displayed with accessories and shelves exhibiting a solid footwear collection. As we arrived Selfridges Adam Kelly had just finished his order, which always makes you think about that small day trip to London followed by a brisk stroll into Selfridges just to see exactly how well he has bought, as SS11 was bought well I must say. The knitwear proved to be one of the strongest areas of the whole collection with more tailored versions of the previous ‘Hulk’ cut off sleeved sweat with side zips at both the waist and shoulder, which slowly moved onto boxier fitting crew neck knit’s with a pattern dating back to Dries circa 1996.
The accessories were simple and clean with the success of the canvas bag prolonging it’s life with it being updated with different shapes and colours. The weekend leather holdall was an extremely strong piece with it’s crisp tan leather just waiting for years upon years of use to create the most intimate personal finish.
The shoes this time round reminded me of the solid winter collection he had four seasons ago where Ostrich leather was used on large boots with the incorporation of zips and large soles unlike the past seasons where only certain shoes and elements of shoes have shone through such as the use of elasticated sides on beautiful shapes. The boots for AW11 are untouchable [see image above] with double layered contrasting leather inserts with large zips running up the heel, complimented with large functional workwear soles it makes for literally one of the most staple boots. Along with this, Horse hair was introduced into chelsea boot shapes which are just as exceptional, I tried my level best to get these in store however I was gunned down so that leaves me with the question, am I a unrealistic buyer? The answer is yes and I will continue to be until I see the buyers we admire who prove to be next level change their ways.
We concluded this five hour appointment with a fragrant white wine and sesame seed bread sticks encased in Prosciutto ham.