Fashion Show: A.F. Vandevorst Fhasion Show

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A.F. Vandevorst Fhasion Show

FALL 2010
Ready to Wear

, March 4, 2010

Save for a pair of unfortunate face harnesses (why?) and a few perplexing corrugated-cardboard vests, Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst took a much more real-world approach than they did last season, and the collection was all the better for it.

Traveling familiar terrain, they turned out structured and pieced jackets and vests riveted together with metal bolts—they were subtler than they sound—and paired them with fluid, full pants or draped jersey skirts and leggings, which were tucked into thigh-high boots with articulated knees. Everything was monochrome—beige, wine, plum, fuchsia—except the black numbers. Black shirtdresses came in an abstract chalkboard print (blackboards and cardboard being the designers' twin obsessions for Fall), and drapey black cowl-neck sweaters were covered in actual chalk dust. As one model did her front-of-runway pivot, a pouf of white powder came off her.

Toward the end, Arickx and Vandevorst sent out an otherwise plain button-front shirt with dozens of pieces of chalk held in place by rows of holsters. It was a funny, light moment, although it ultimately evoked bullets and guns. Were the husband-and-wife duo offering a "Make education, not war" pitch? Could be. But the important message is that they are back on track, updating the kind of basics that have potential in the stores.

Ready to Wear

, October 1, 2009

With transparency and visible lingerie shaping up as a couple of Spring's biggest trends, An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx are, for better or worse, in their element. They didn't invent innerwear as outerwear—that somewhat dubious honor probably goes to Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier—but it is a significant aspect of their oeuvre, and tonight they worked it like nobody's business. Pausing at a wind machine at the back of the runway, the models' sheer, blousy nude shirtdresses and slips fell off one shoulder to expose the body casts they wore underneath, while flesh-toned stockings left their briefs visible. The casts, which were bolted, not sewn, together from stiff, papery fabric, gave structure to the collection's soft, floaty fabrics, but they were a strange motif: You wondered what place, if any, there is for them in real life. The way the models' pants were stuffed into the tops of sheer hose was a bit of a puzzle, too. Why hide your work? From a two-tone wrap trench with a trio of substantial leather belts to a soigné blue chiffon blazer tucked into a narrow pencil skirt, there were some timely pieces on the runway. Unfortunately, they were mostly obscured by heavy-handed styling tricks.

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