Dries Van Noten, the Belgian fashion designer, has just held the 100th show of his career. To mark the occasion, the footage of every single runway show (1992 – 2017) from its archive is being made available online.
This is called the ‘Silent Archive’, because the original soundtrack is stripped out of the recordings 24 hours after the videos are first posted, leaving the models to walk the runway silently. This is very likely a copyright decision – the music used in the early shows will certainly not have been licensed for online broadcast – but its effect makes the clothes more prominent and forces focus on to the visual presentation of the garments.
The Silent Archive also fulfills a useful function, in that fashion show footage, particularly that which dates to a pre-internet era, can be sometimes difficult to locate. This has become easier in recent years, where the major shows are live-streamed and are then digitally available, but older shows can still be problematic to source. Having one single page where the last 100 shows can be found is wonderful.
The Silent Archive can be accessed here: www.driesvannoten.be/silentarchive/