Dries Van Noten Is Stepping Down From His Namesake Label

On Tuesday morning, Dries Van Noten penned a letter, confirming a fate many fashion fans feared: the Belgian designer is stepping down from the label he founded 38 years ago. His menswear spring/summer 2025 collection, scheduled to show at Paris Fashion Week in June, will be his last.

“I want to shift my focus to all the things I never had the time for,” he said in a note, posted on Instagram, writing that he is “sad, but at the same time happy.” Upon his retirement, Van Noten’s studio team will design the women’s spring/summer 2025 collection. After that, a new designer will be chosen to take over the helm, as Van Noten feels “it’s time to leave room for a new generation of talents to bring their vision to the brand.” Still, Van Noten promises he will stay involved.

The news is a blow to the fashion community, as Van Noten has long been heralded, not only for his designs—with all their color, patterns, and dignified details—but also for his demeanor. In an industry that can often be uninviting, intimidating, and sometimes downright cruel, Van Noten was known as the good guy, who loved tending to his garden as much as he loved making beautiful clothes. “If I have to choose between opening a store and staying a little longer in my garden, I stay in my garden,” he told W in 2007.

Courtesy of Dries Van Noten

Van Noten, 65, was born into a family of generational tailors in Antwerp in 1958. Continuing his familial path, Van Noten studied fashion design at the Royal Academy of Art. In 1986, just five years later, he presented his first collection, which was quickly stocked by stores like Barneys and Whistles. It was at this point that the fashion press coined the term, the Antwerp Six, describing a group of Belgian designers—including Walter Van Beirendonck and Ann Demeulemeester—who had studied at the city’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

From there, Van Noten’s brand grew. He opened his first store in Antwerp in 1989, and debuted at Paris Fashion Week two years later with his menswear collection. Then in 1993, he took womenswear to Paris Fashion Week, where he has since staged two menswear and two womenswear shows each year. Van Noten has enjoyed some much-deserved recognition for his work over the years. In 2008, CFDA awarded him with the International Designer of the Year Award, while in 2015, France honored him with the Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Just two years ago, Van Noten expanded into the beauty space with a range of fragrances, lipsticks, and accessories, products that were immediately celebrated, gaining titles like “Product of the Year” from WWD.

Courtesy of Dries Van Noten

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It was in 2018 when the indie label made a big move with a majority stake sale to Puig, the Spanish-owned fashion and fragrance firm that owns Rabanne and also has a stake in Jean Paul Gautier. In his letter, Van Noten spoke highly of his relationship with Puig, writing, “Since Puig became part of our business, we could continue to grow the way we wanted to. We have added beauty and perfume lines, extended the accessories, added e-commerce and opened exciting and innovative stores. The brand is now blooming. Like in a garden, you decide what to plant; and at some point, it continues to flourish.” Following the sale, Van Noten remained on as a minority shareholder as well as the chief creative officer and chairman of the board. It is unclear exactly what role he will take, if any, now that he has stepped down as creative director.

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