To celebrate its 100th fashion show, Dries Van Noten did something not many labels do nowadays. It might've been a pretty monumental moment for the brand, but Noten played it cool: The designer put his favorite throwback designs from over the years on all of his favorite women. The move was both genius and very French, bien sûr, but that casting move resulted in an idea that is actually — yes, in 2017 — considered quite new.
More than half of the models — actually, almost all of the models — were over the age of 30. And there was solid representation in terms of racial and size diversity, too. But let's be honest: If you think today's crop of Insta models are the only ones to watch, then you may have had trouble ID'ing the faces that came down the Dries runway. The model brigade included Caroline de Maigret, 42; Yasmin Warsame, 40; Amber Valletta, 43; Nadja Auermann, 45; and Carolyn Murphy, 42. They were attired in blazers, sweaters, trousers, and coats that make us wish fall came twice a year. The show even included Alek Wek, 39, who came out of retirement to support the house.
But apart from the show's anniversary element (which seemed more like a heartwarming reunion than a viral spectacle), and the incredibly cool clothes, the show's casting was felt like somewhat of an antidote to a Paris Fashion Week season that's thus far been overshadowed a bit by the negativity surrounding the unethical treatment of models. Recently, casting director James Scully took to Instagram to call out the casting agents behind shows as big as Balenciaga and Lanvin. And even today, the latter's catwalk featured only one Black model and one Asian model (both wearing sunglasses).
Some younger brands like Eckhaus Latta, Chromat, and Gypsy Sport — all New York designers — seem committed to realizing what genuine inclusivity looks like. But as for what it's going to take to change the ways of the Old Guard's casting practices? That remains unanswered. However, Dries Van Noten's latest showing was a welcome celebration of age diversity. Click through to check out some highlights from the show.