Dries Van Noten has branded the fashion industry “brittle” and “not in the best condition”.

Dries Van Noten has branded the fashion industry ‘brittle’ and ‘not in the best condition’

Dries Van Noten has branded the fashion industry ‘brittle’ and ‘not in the best condition’

The Belgian-born menswear design icon, 66, marked his retirement from the business by waving goodbye at the closing of his last-ever runway show at this year’s Paris Fashion Week, where he presented his final and 150th collection to mark him stepping down from his role as boss of his eponymous brand after 38 years.

He said when asked by GQ if he was jaded about the business: “It’s not fashion which is brittle, it’s fashion business that is.

“And I think for me that those are two different things.

“Fashion is a desire. I think that’s the power of fashion. You don’t feel good, you put a sweater on and you feel much better.

“You want to shine at a certain moment, you can shine. You want to hide yourself, you can hide.

“And I think that’s the power of clothes. I think that’s what clothes are for. That for me is the important thing.

“It’s what the businessmen made of fashion, that is a different thing.

“And that for me is not in the best condition at the moment. I think everybody knows that. How much fake desire can you create? Too much now, absolutely too much.”

Dries is now returning to his home city of Antwerp, and has been holidaying on the Amalfi Coast with his partner Patrick Vangheluwe and their dog.

But he insisted he is not totally going to step away from fashion.

Dries added: “I still have a lot of plans, I'm still going to do different things.

“The fashion world and everything, it’s my soul, it’s my life. So it would be strange to now close the doors completely. So, I won’t.

“I’m happy. I think… I am going to have moments that I say, ‘Well, my goodness, what did I do?’

“I think it’s normal when you do something with your heart and your soul, in such a passionate and complete way as I did.

“I was always thinking about fashion. Everything that I looked at was a source of inspiration. I was really feeding my creativity constantly… I will still continue working on the company’s beauty and perfume, which I love to do, and I will also continue with store design and all those things.

“And I will advise on the men’s and women’s collection. Of course, the thing is they can follow my advice, or they cannot follow my advice.”