Dries Van Noten Steps Down

Dries Van Noten will step down as creative director of his namesake fashion label following its June menswear show, the designer announced Tuesday.

The Spring/Summer 2025 womenswear collection to be shown in September will be designed by his studio as the brand works to identify a successor.

“I want to shift my focus to all the things I never had time for,” Van Noten’s statement read. “I feel it’s time to leave room for a new generation of talents to bring their vision to the brand.”

After founding his brand in 1986, Van Noten went on to become a leading voice in the fashion conversation for almost four decades, outlasting his contemporaries in a wave of Belgian creators including Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester — fellow graduates of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts — who shook up the fashion system in the 1990s.

ut long before attending the Antwerp Academy, Van Noten was surrounded by fashion: he grew up the grandchild of tailors; his parents ran a fashion boutique.

At his namesake brand, Van Noten developed a trademark approach that blended deftly cut, just-louche-enough garments with improbable combinations of texture, colour and prints. The aesthetic projected a unique mix of intellectualism and playfulness, captivating devotees.

In his letter Tuesday, Van Noten thanked the “fabric and accessories suppliers, ateliers and manufacturers, the embroiderers in India” who have helped to bring his vision to life.

Slow-burn soundtracks underscore the drama of his collections, with selections ranging from selections like Ravel’s Bolero to a remix of Sade’s Haunt Me, which accompanied his most recent show in February, a symphony of challenging hues like frosty citron yellow, bronze and lilac that flaunted his confident colour work. The clothes don’t always photograph well, but in a social media-saturated era some fashion editors posit that only makes them more chic.

After years of going it alone in a punishing climate for independent labels, Van Noten sold a majority interest in his Antwerp-based company to Puig in 2018 and minority interest to Fiparin. Since then, the Spanish owner of labels like Paco Rabanne and cosmetics brand Charlotte Tilbury has worked with Van Noten to expand into new product categories like perfume and lipsticks, launch e-commerce, open new stores and strengthen operations.

Succession will likely pose a major challenge. As founder, Van Noten is in many ways irreplaceable, and identifying and onboarding a successor will be no easy feat. The brand will need to strike the right balance between creating excitement for the brand’s new chapter while keeping Van Noten’s loyal following engaged.

Fiparin wishes Mr. Van Noten the best in his new endeavours.

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