At a time when world politics are in a disgraceful state, how should a civilized adult comport himself? That’s a question. Dries Van Noten’s show came up with a solution that served: Blot out the mayhem, put on a suit, and just concentrate on behaving like the hero you want to be.

There was a collection of voices that accompanied this collection—an aural backdrop of snatches of conversations and interviews with the men Van Noten admires. There was David Bowie, of course: his pleated pants, a flavor of his ’80s persona. There was David Hockney, talking about getting up mid-morning in California and going out to see what’s around to paint. There was a burst of Jimi Hendrix—cue a riff on tie-dye. Kurt Cobain, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Yves Saint Laurent, David Byrne. And in the middle of it, there was the mordant voice of an Englishman, nailing the state of affairs today. “I think the whole of our society is run by insane people for insane objects,” he said. Turned out to be John Lennon, in the ’60s.

Plus ça change—and there it was, a purple psychedelic dandy suit as a salute. Van Noten is old enough and wise enough to deal with the turning of the tides with a certain urbane amusement. Dressing well, thinking clearly, keeping a sense of what’s important when all around are losing their heads . . . . Well, it’s only fashion, but this looked like an admirable way for a man to put his best foot forward.

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