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Film Review: Dries

The word fashion I don’t like because fashion means something that is over in six months – Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten is a notoriously elusive designer; preferring to stay in the comfort of his immaculate Belgian residence or working extensive hours at his Antwerp studio. Thus, his decision to partake in the creation of an intimate cinematic portrait of his life and work seemed like the last thing he would agree to. Indeed, it took director Reiner Holzemer four years to convince the designer to let his camera near him; the result however, was a beautifully explorative documentary showing the human being behind the innovative designs.

follows Van Noten and his company for a full year, giving an exclusive insight into the production of four ready-to-wear collections. The audience gain access to the thought process and steps taken by the designers at Dries Van Norten to research and produce fresh collections in such short time frames. Locations span from his studio Belgium, to his embroidery factory in Kalcutta and his runways in Paris, providing a thorough understanding to the global influence of this discreet figure. His perfectionism penetrates not only his work, but his home life; one scene depicts Dries discussing how he plans his holidays, poking fun at himself for being incredibly controlling over the itinerary. Holzemer, who has previously produced documentaries on Jürgen Teller and William Eggleston, proclaimed “I was not looking for the drama of fashion, what goes wrong shortly before a show, which most other fashion films do, I wanted to make it like other artist portraits I’ve done, and give a real insight into his world and thinking.” Holzemer achieved his aim, slowly exposing a man who is so often hidden behind the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry.

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