Back in the Autumn of 2007 myself and my friend designer Eilis Boyle were in Paris for the fabric fair Premiere Vision. We took the last day of our trip to visit the shops and department stores for inspiration and pleasure. We were in Le Bon Marche, which is one of the first department stores in the world and an emporium of style and good taste (the Food Hall alone is worth the trip to Paris). Eilis and I headed upstairs to the designer rooms, where I implored her over to visit the Dries Van Noten collection first. While we made our way around drooling over each piece Eilis saw a white shirt she loved and decided to try it on. She strolled to the changing room and I sat at a table and chair and picked up a little book that was lying there. The French sales assistant looked at me pawing the catalogue and said
"Oh, one moment" and disappeared.
Now French sales assistants in fancy department stores don't exactly have the reputation of being the warmest or friendliest of people so imagine my surprise when she came out and handed me this
Now to call this a catalogue is a bit like calling champagne a fizzy drink. This is a fabric covered hard back book with Dries Van Noten embossed on the cover and inside ............ oh what a parade of delights.
The photographs are by Wouter Deruytter and include images of the backstage area including this incredible scaffolding construction for hair and make up and dressing the models
a page with Polaroids of all the models in the show. and press taking shots and people giving interviews.
It's a little window into the thrilling and chaotic moments before the show. There are close ups of the sleek and understated hair and make up and detail shots of the luscious embroideries, you don't really appreciate the texture of the embroidery unless you see it in person or in a detail shot like this.
Isn't her intensity fantastic! As well as all of that there is, of course the complete collection A/W 2007/08 (one of my favourite seasons at Dries) and some detail shots. Doesn't the above embroidery look like a crustacean, some sort of aquatic anemone or coral formation.I love the simplicity of this paisley print .
I don't know why the sales assistant decided to give it to me but I appreciated it so much I actually started to cry! (sad I know) It is a precious treasure to me and the manner in which I received it makes it all the more valuable. I was not a big spending customer loading shopping bags with purchases, I was just a fan a real and honest lover of the work. So, whoever you were Ms. French Sales Lady, Thank you so much and Mr Van Noten I salute you.