At the recent Haute Couture Week in Paris, husband and wife designers An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx of A.F. Vandevorst had something special up their sleeves for SS’18. To mark 20 years as a label, celebrations came in the form of a new book called ‘Ende Neu’, with a star-studded launch event held the night before their retrospective runway show.
With a tight selection of the most enduring pieces from their archives, the essence of the label culminated in 40 different looks from 40 seasons spanning their double decade tenure. Perhaps one of the most exciting capsule collections to grace the catwalks of Paris Couture, the show took guests on a journey through the years with Antwerp’s most influential design duo. With aesthetics that stem from a great love of the visual arts and a strong devotion to cultural archetypes, their show titled ‘ALWAYS+FOREVER’ considered older designs in a contemporary light with fresh styling. Showed in chronological order ending with the most recent, A.F.Vandevorst’s integrity was evident through each and every look, offering their signature paradoxical combinations and strong military, medical and riding wear influences.
The designers cleverly chose to show mostly black, white and red pieces, with the occasional foray into beige or olive. A modest colour scheme meant each outfit sang against its predecessor, resulting in a coherent line of garments that could have been created all in the same season, and amplifying how a piece designed 20 years ago is just as relevant today. The show opened with a brown leather saddle corset from AW‘98, styled over a graphic hoodie. Then there was the beige trench coat from Spring 2004, fashioned entirely from paper; from AW’13, an elegant black bustier gown, worn over a casual white tee; from AW’14, a loose military-style suit with multiple cargo pockets; and from SS’15, a voluminous, army green parachute dress, worn with thigh-high lace up boots from AW’15. From Spring 2016, a draped sari-style dress studded with eyelets was accessorized with a simple black tee and a motorcycle helmet. From AW’17, thigh-high yellow snakeskin boots were spotted, as was a Napoleon military parade waistcoat with gold detailing.
“Going through our archives we realised how much of our daily lives are involved in our collections so we revived all these moments and all the things we shared and that was very emotional." An Vandevorst
The re-integration of seasons was aided by B. Åkerlund, with expert styling to limelight the label’s craftsmanship and balance of feminine and masculine silhouettes. The show was the perfect ode to the label’s leading position in the luxury apparel sector, especially as the news came last season that they would be realigning their design strategy to focus on footwear and accessories.
The duo also created an image-based book, with a launch party held at the Yvon Lambert bookstore in Le Marais district. Delving into a retrospective of their designs, inspirations and solid visuals, the book features artists like Joseph Beuys along with quotes and stories from notable industry experts such as Sarah Mower, Dries van Noten, Suzy Menkes and Tim Blanks, as well as personal anecdotes by An and Filip. Opening with their first encounter as students at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts, ‘Ende Neu’ charts the story of both their romantic and business partnerships - a beautiful collation of memories through the ages, offering a fascinating insight into the Belgian label’s universe.
To watch the A.F. Vandevorst AW’18’19 show in Virtual Reality on your headset:
Step 1: Download the Vimeo App, you can find it in the App Store and Google Play store for iPhone and Android. Have a headset ready to view with, we find the Homido Grab easy to use and very clear.
Step 2: Once the Vimeo has downloaded, click here to watch the Virtual Reality video. The video should open the Vimeo App.
Step 3: Press the Headset icon in the video control bar. Tilt your phone and once the video is split screen, press the Settings icon in the top right corner. Press "Swich viewer" and scan the QR code that is on your headset (this may be inside the headset).
Step 4: Add your phone device to the Virtual Reality headset and watch away. The video contains high definition audio so please turn the sound up.