Dries Van Noten Announces Retirement

In a shock to the fashion world, Dries Van Noten announced that he was stepping down as creative director of the brand that bears his name. His fall 2024 men’s show, scheduled to take place in Paris in June, will be his last.

“My dream was to have a voice in fashion,” Mr. Van Noten, 65, wrote in a letter sent to editors. “That dream came true. Now, I want to shift my focus to all the things I never had time for.”

Mr. Van Noten was an original member of the Antwerp Six, the group of Belgian designers who changed fashion when they arrived in Paris in the early 1980s. In his statement, he wrote that he had been “preparing for this moment for a while, and I feel it’s time to leave room for a new generation of talents to bring their vision to the brand.”

In an industry in which founders often cling to their positions well into their 80s and rarely engage in succession planning, Mr. Van Noten’s move stands out as a rare example of a designer ceding power by his own choice — and at the height of his skills. His last women’s show, held in late February in Paris, was an emotional, generous paean to style over fashion and the creativity of dressing oneself.

But the consideration, originality, grace and attention to detail that marked his clothes, and that inspired a 2014 solo exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and a 2017 documentary about his work, have also marked his approach to his business.

Looks from Mr. Van Noten’s last women’s show in Paris in February.Credit…Photographs by Imaxtree, via Dries Van Noten (far left); Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

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