The documentary about Dries Van Noten, the clothing designer who is my hero, has finally turned up on Netflix.
Dries takes the form of many documentaries about fashion—we see the creation of collections, from scraps of fabric to sketches to the making of the sample to the fashion show at the end. But it’s Dries! He’s like no other!
I was a little nervous to watch this film, because I have such high regard for this creative genius. What if he’s, like, a jerk?
I shouldn’t have worried. All the things that I’ve heard about his modesty, calm temperament, and worldview are very much a part of this film. And—dream come true—much of the documentary takes place in his studio, in the workrooms, in the workshop in India where his extravagant embroidery is created by thousands of workers.
There is so much beauty to see here.
His offices in Antwerp.
His brilliant, quiet staff.
The embroiderers in Kolkata.
And we visit the extraordinary house and gardens in Antwerp that he shares with his work and life partner Patrick. Their relationship may be the most moving aspect of this documentary.
I often think of the magicians Penn and Teller, who will show you exactly how a magic trick works—letting you in on the back side of the curtain, basically. And then they do the trick again, and you still can’t figure out how they do it. That’s what this documentary does: we see all the ingredients that go into a Dries Van Noten collection. Yet only the magnificent imagination of Dries can distill it all into his sublime mashups of luxury and utility.
I won’t say anything more. Just watch. To be a fly on the wall in this designer’s studio is really special.