A farewell to grandeur: Dries Van Noten bids adieu to his fashion empire

Dries Van Noten steps down; the designer’s successor will be named in the coming weeks

On 20 March, Dries Van Noten, a luminary of couture, announced his retirement. It was on this day, to be chronicled in the annals of fashion history, the Belgian designer took to social media to share the decisive finale of his path as the creative force behind his eponymous label, DVN. After nearly four decades of serving up his signature medley of avant-garde flair and impeccable tailoring, Van Noten prepares to make his final bow with the Spring 2025 menswear show, slated for Paris Fashion Week in June 2024.

His sudden departure kindles a blend of melancholy and celebration within the fashion community and beyond. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Van Noten shaped an era with his masterful colour harmonies, artistic flourishes, and a marriage of the classic with the contemporary. His unerring command of luxurious fabrics and a worldly approach to design garnered him accolades like a CFDA Award, a place in the ‘Galerie des Eminents’, and the distinction of Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.

Reflecting on his remarkable journey with Highsnobiety’s Jake Silbert, Van Noten emphasised, “Youth is not only about age but mentality. Newness is something you haven’t seen before; it has nothing to do with age.” These words resonate as Van Noten entrusts his legacy to an appointed successor, who will uphold the DVN creed while charting new sartorial territories.

Dries receiving the WWD 2023 Designer of the Year Award. Photo by WWD

The transition promises a seamless shift, with the Spring 2025 womenswear collection entrusted to his studio team. Van Noten will remain connected to DVN, in a role yet to be disclosed, signifying his enduring bond with the house he built.

Part of the revered Antwerp Six, alongside luminaries like Walter Van Beirendonck and Ann Demeulemeester, Van Noten has traversed fashion frontiers with an ethos marrying tradition and innovation. This duality is echoed by Marc Puig, CEO of Puig—the parent company safeguarding Van Noten’s legacy—who emphasises the brand’s bright future. “It is a distinct honour for Puig to now be entrusted with carrying his legacy into the future,” Puig conveyed, recognising the responsibility that the transition entails.

As Patrick Vangheluwe, Van Noten’s partner, and the fashion world grapple with this epochal change, there’s assurance in Van Noten’s own words, “I am sure of this: the DVN future remains bright. The brand is now blooming. Like in a garden, you decide what to plant, and at some point, it continues to flourish. Seeing our clothes out in the world, knowing they have a place in your life, has fulfilled me beyond words.”

This is perhaps the ultimate nod to a heritage of innovation and emotional resonance with an international clientele—a celebration of a journey rather than the end of an era. While the door closes on Van Noten’s inimitable leadership, it simultaneously opens to welcome novel creative dialogues and the enduring evolution of the DVN mystique.

Dries Van Noten