Dries van Noten F/W 2010
Full disclosure: this isn't the first time Dries van Noten has been the subject of one of our Inspired By stories┬--nor will it be the last! We are die-hard fans of the Belgian textile guru and his eclectic sensibilities, so it's no surprise that he's stolen our hearts two seasons in a row (take a look at how the designer's S/S 10 collection sparked our globetrotting fancies earlier this year). And while his F/W 10 runway felt decidedly quiet in comparison to spring's smorgasbord of world prints and fabrics, the designer's current combination of utilitarian elements, minimalist elegance, and luxurious touches adds up to lots of supremely desirable looks.
The individual components of Noten's masterful fall mashup are decidedly familiar. In addition to the having a perfectly of-the-moment palette (primarily neutrals like gray, camel, and olive green), the collection includes everything from refined outerwear options to military fatigues-inspired skirts and pants to ultra-casual sweatshirt tops. Noten also put a handful of ladylike essentials on the runway, pieces like satin skirts and elbow-length dresses with a slightly retro air. But while all of these items may not be revolutionary on their own, the way they were mixed together is what gives them such a fresh and desirable look. Our favorite combinations paired glamorous pieces with quotidian ones: a furry leopard-print vest with an olive cotton skirt, an antique gold blazer with dark jodhpur-like pants, and a floor-length purple silk skirt with a slouchy short-sleeve sweatshirt in a drab khaki green. All in all, Noten successfully incorporated many of the season's top trends and showed us precisely how to style them in a wonderfully wearable way.
Though the exact items from Dries Van Noten's fall runway are masterful investment pieces┬--especially the Contrast Sleeve Jacket ($1341), Military Style Skirt ($545), and the Low Back Dress ($1700)┬--with a little effort, you can easily emulate the collection's spirit at a more affordable price point. To see what we mean, read on for all of our Inspired By must-buys that will give you that brilliantly casual DVN runway look.
1. Parkhurst Faux-Fur Pull-Through Scarf ($48)
It's never a bad idea to incorporate the season's animal-print obsession into your daily rotation. But while our more daring dressers will opt for a chic faux leopard coat or a pair of feline-print trousers, Noten offered up a more subtle approach with a cozy scarf. Since the runway's exact neck-warmer is essentially sold-out (and a wee pricey), we think Parkhurt's iteration is an excellent substitute, as it will give any outfit a similarly luxe look. Just take a note from Noten, and pair the purr-fect scarf with a camel coat and either gray or army-green trousers for an of-the-moment fall ensemble.
2. In├ęs Sunglasses ($11)
If we're sure about one thing, it's that an on-the-go Dries women should always be equipped with a glamorous pair of sunnies. While in the past Noten created a frenzy with printed cat-eye styles and thick white frames, this time the designer gave his models ultra-dark circular shades. Fortunately, In├ęs has created an equally envious pair that not only mimics the designer's cool, polished style, but also comes with a more budget-friendly price tag!
3. Topshop Shrunken Wool Blazer ($160)
As mentioned, menswear-inspired pieces were one of the prominent components of Noten's fall collection. The runway boasted plenty of two-tone jackets and crisp blazers with contrast collars, making Topshop's shrunken iteration the perfect pick for today's story. There's no denying its rich camel color, black collar detail, and tailored fit make this piece an almost exact replica of Noten's Camel Wool Blazer ($1293, 212.753.7300); it's almost hard to spot the differences!
4. Zara Sweatshirt-Style Sweater ($40)
Of course today's story would not be complete without Noten's key casual-dressing component: the sweatshirt! While we're always fond of athletic gray versions, there's something so lovely and unexpected about this military green version. For a modern daytime look, simply style the relaxed fit of this Zara sweater with a knee-length full skirt, then transition effortlessly into the evening hours by teaming it with a sleek maxi skirt.
5. ASOS Premium Washed Leather Double Zip Satchel ($126)
We have always loved the rugged flair of an army-inspired bag, and today's satchel is certainly a nod to the utilitarian theme woven throughout Noten's collection. The washed leather gives the carrier a cool worn-in look, while its multiple pockets and considerable size provides enough storage room to carry all of your daily essentials.
6. Old Navy Plaid Wool-Blend Mini ($30)
It's hard to imagine wearing a mini skirt in the dead cold of winter, but once we spotted Old Navy's plaid wool version, our thoughts turned quickly to all of the ways we could! It definitely has that chic schoolgirl spirit we love, and would look splendid styled in a Dries van Noten fashion, meaning with an untucked, loose-fit sweatshirt. If the weather calls for more layers, we suggest adding a pair of black wooly knit tights, and dressing up your look further with a pair of ankle booties.
7. Halogen Nora Pumps ($100)
Much like the collection itself, the footwear at Dries this season has a more subdued and timeless vibe than in seasons past. We spotted a mixture of black low-heeled Suede Shoes ($616) and cognac pumps strutting down the runway, which leads us to our next item on the Inspired By wardrobe list: Halogen's Nora Pumps. Simple, yes, but these almond-toe platforms are the kind of classic shoe option that will take you from one season to the next.
8. Bruce II Pleated Trouser ($390)
If you're still on the hunt for that perfect fall trouser, then today is your lucky day dear readers! Bruce II's high-waisted silk slacks are a seriously functional style that can be worn dressed up or down, and they offer a similar tapered silhouette as the Zip Detail Trousers ($733), an attribute we can be sure our fellow dedicated Dries fans will be thrilled about.┬--Jessica Baker
Runway images, courtesy of PR Consulting; Image of Bruce II trousers, courtesy of La Garconne; Image of Ines sunglasses, courtesy of Fred Flare.