Sydney Film Festival Review: Dries (Belgium/Germany, 2016) celebrates a fashion designer that works to the beat of his own drum

In a world where fashion can be fickle and disposable a designer like Dries van Noten is a gem. The Belgian designer has spent over three decades in the business and remans fiercely independent when other fashion houses have allowed themselves to be bought out. He rallies against the notion of fast fashion and strives to be timeless and relevant. The documentary Dries captures all of this and more by being an intimate portrait of one notoriously private man.

This documentary is directed by Reiner Holzemer who is no stranger to making films about creative minds (he’s made documentaries about William Eggleston and Anton Corbijn, to name a few). Dries is the first time that Dries van Noten has been portrayed in a feature film and it should appeal to individuals that enjoyed documentaries like: Dior & I and The September Issue. Dries rarely gives interviews so it is interesting to follow his creative journey as he works on multiple collections throughout a single year as well as looking back on his career as a whole. This charmed life and vocation began when Dries graduated from the Royal College of the Arts and became known as one of the Antwerp Six.

Fashion journalist Suzy Menkes, fashion icon, Iris Apfel and Pamela Golbin, a curator at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris are interviewed. Dries is also interviewed along with his life and business partner, Patrick Vangheluwe. These scenes are interesting enough in and of themselves but perhaps the most fascinating ones are when we see Dries at work selecting the rich garments, embroidery designs and vibrant prints that he is famous for. Dries is an innovative and creative individual who enjoys coming up with different ideas and playing with the notion of shock and contrast.

Dries is essential viewing for anyone interested in learning more about the fashion world. The documentary is an honest look at a charming designer’s brilliant career and covers the highs, lows, passions and the trends he helped inspire. This gorgeous film is ultimately an incredible look at a creative tour de force and a man that lives style and creates fashion while working to the beat of his own drum.


Dries screens at the Sydney Film Festival on the 10th and the 12th of June. For tickets and more details head HERE


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