02/29/2012 12:33 EST | Updated 04/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Dries Van Noten, Paris 2012: Victoria and Albert Museum's Asian Fashion Vaults Spark Inspiration

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PARIS - "The richness of the East," Dries Van Noten declared, was the inspiration for his fall-winter ready-to-wear collection in Paris Wednesday, seeing him delve into the sumptuous Asian fashion vaults of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Chinese, Japanese and Korean costumes such as multicoloured dragon coats and kimonos were reinterpreted using digital printing on floor length silk gowns with cinched waists.

But you can bet that the academic-edged Antwerp designer will never stick to just one motif.

Normally strict, structured clothing in Asia, was endowed by Van Noten with floral shards of imperial yellow, turquoise and jade chinoiserie providing a flowing and sexy 1970s feel.

The show also features lashings of fox and Suri Alpaca fur on collars and chubbies in some great ready-to-wear statement coats.

As ever for the designer who cut his teeth in dressing men, there was a distinct menswear feel to some of the jackets, providing the on-trend element necessary to sell clothes.

But was the designer overdoing himself? The busiest look of the show had the fashion crowd scratching their heads about what continent they were meant to be in: a contemporary parka with a raccoon fur hood, on a long silk gown with Chinese motif on top of trousers, then accessorized with an enormous black croc clutch.

It was a good thing the air conditioning was working.