Dries Van Noten is Paris fashion week's crown prints with this arty collection

The Belgian designer's photographic prints of nightscapes and cities impress, but the talk of the event is still who will lead Dior

Dries Van Noten is not the kind of designer to shout about next season's trends to his loyal following. His customer, a woman more used to Biennale drinks than nightclub cocktails, would positively hate that.

Theshow at Paris fashion week reflected those refined yet distinctive tastes with a collection built around serene landscape photo prints.

First came the daytime looks which featured black and white photo prints of botanical gardens mixed in with glassy lakes. They appeared on cotton shift dresses and crisp cotton shirts that were worn buttoned up to the neck. The cool fabrics on the catwalk were in contrast to some of the dark clad audience who were struggling to come to terms with the fact that their own knitwear and tailored jackets – despite being on trend – were completely at odds with the 30C Parisian heat.

Best were the nightscape prints, above, which appeared on long side-split skirts and on a beautiful drop waist silk slip dress. They recalled the view you get from an aeroplane when flying in to land in a city at night. Some of the more recognisable prints raised eyebrows in the audience. One depicted the famous Las Vegas hotel Circus Circus which prompted one show guest to comment that they hadn't taken the quiet Belgian designer for a Vegas man.

But true to form the prints weren't inspired by casino culture and had a more artsy provenance. They used the work of Marseilles-based photographer James Reeve whose city-scape photographs were exhibited at the Hyeres photo festival earlier in the year and were spotted by Van Noten who was a judge there.

Classy as the Belgian designer's clothes were, the Dries Van Noten show was never going to set the agenda at Paris fashion week. Off the catwalk the talk is not of trends and prints. The rumour mill is still spinning with speculation as to who will take over the reins at Dior which is scheduled to show on Friday lunchtime. Front row wisdom currently has Marc Jacobs as the frontrunner to land the job although it is claimed that his bosses at LVMH want him to remain in his current position at Louis Vuitton.

The talented but lesser known New York designer Alexander Wang is the latest name being touted for what is now being dubbed 'the job no one wants'. That appointment seems highly unlikely, but there is an increasing sense that the label does need to decide on a new designer before the brand suffers more damage to its reputation.

The brand's haute couture show in summer which was designed by an in-house team headed up by Bill Gaytten was panned by critics. However the constant speculation is at least ensuring that the brand is kept in the limelight at a time when the clothes themselves aren't good enough to warrant such attention.

Rumour and gossip is also rife around the much anticipated debut of US rap star and wannabe fashion designer Kanye West. He is set to present a collection of high end womenswear over the weekend. As yet details of the launch are sketchy at best. It is thought that a team of MA graduates from London college Central Saint Martins college have worked on the clothes under the possible supervision of designers Louise Goldin, Dean Quinn and menswear designer Katie Eary.


Imogen Fox in Paris

The GuardianTramp

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