Dries Van Noten talks fashion film: "it needs to have a message"

Belgian designer Dries Van Noten

At this year's ASVOFF Festival in Paris we spoke to jury president Dries Van Noten who presented his 'Carte Blanche' on Saturday, featuring a selection of inspirations from filmmakers as diverse as Luchino Visconti and David Attenborough. The legendary Belgian designer discussed his involvement with the festival, the relationship between fashion and film, and his blockbuster exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. 

Are you interested in fashion film as an art form?

“For me every film can be a fashion film. I think as a fashion designer you catch small things from everything that’s happening in your life so you pick up nice images, things which shock you, which make you think, which change your view and that’s also what I did now with the montage of films we’re showing... It’s not really films I like, it’s films which made me look at fashion a bit differently or made me into the person I am who makes the clothes I make.”

How did you get involved with this event?

“I think Diane (Diane Pernet, founder of ASVOFF) is kind of an icon, she’s followed us for so long and she gives so much support to young designers. She’s really a person I admire, who is also important for fashion, so when she asked me I was really honored and I said ‘okay let’s do it!’”

What makes a good fashion film?

“It has to attract your eye. It has to give you a message. When we gave the prize to "Jumper" (by Justin Anderson, winner of this year's Grand Prix at the festival), it was also because one of the reasons I liked it is the way it’s like a whole movie in four minutes. It makes you think and it looks good. It’s a melange of all these different elements. It’s not like ‘okay let’s show fashion in a beautiful way that no one is interested in’. It needs to have a message and it needs to be interesting.”

Your recent exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs featured slow-mo films by David Michalek. What was the inspiration?

“An exhibition is so static, especially because with a fashion exhibition everything has to be behind glass. You can show a small video, but in fact you don’t really see the clothes coming alive. So Pamela (curator Pamela Golbin) and I were looking for a way to make the clothes moves, to show that the fabrics and the clothes I make are always clothes to live in, that I pay a lot of attention to how garments and fabrics move around your body, how they shape your body or just hide your body."