A.F. Vandevorst is a Belgian brand that always impresses me. But this time because of two reasons. The first thing is their SS15 window display in their Antwerp flag-ship store, which is all about their fashion show parachute dress which is a true work of art. I am simply amazed with it’s mind-blowing effect. Then, the second thing: their elusive, slightly eerie winter collection look-book. The clothes inspired with Peru (note all these pompons and shearling), beautifully combined with A.F.’s signature rock’n’roll edge look more than cool. Decadent, sculptural and niche. That’s how I would describe the spark hidden in this collection, and the brand’s really great ideas.
The AF Vandevorst couple presented a collection, which was very personal to them – their favourite hard rock music meets Peru, their favourite lately visited country. Long leather boots contrasted with Peruvian pom-pons while tribal-inspired way of wearing scarves looked ultra-cool with fur-trimmed dresses. And all of that was interpreted in deeply poetic black. “In our Belgian way, we took out all the colors,” An said backstage. Rose floral jacquard, patterned Quechua weaving motifs, layered Andean skirts, and Spanish colonial frill were thus all made black and once or twice white and grey. The avant-garde Stephen Jones hats were all about condors and signature AF Vandevorst fedoras. The silhouettes were long, lean, and brooding, even floor sweeping in some cases. The band playing along-side the presentation made the entire impression even better and emotional. Huge, huge bravo for An and Filip!
Belgian designer, Walter Van Beirendock, uses fashion not only as his own artistic expression, but also as a message: STOP TERRORISING OUR WORLD was definitely directed on the horrible, savage and unhumane attack that took place lately in Paris (#jesuischarlie). Walter mixed plastic, wool, satin, jacquard, EVERYTHING, and created a colour collection for soldiers of LOVE. Slightly tribal, rather than going into military green, Van Beirendock brought a whole colour palette. And the detailing was fantastic, too. I love when designers aren’t scared to make men’s fashion avant-garde, fearless and playfull. But at the same time meaningful and right for the current situation.
Dries Van Noten is man, that knows what women want, and that’s not so common nowadays. His collections are always so clear, so feminine and beautiful… for SS11, for example, we had a blast of hand-painted florals; for AW12, Dries brought oriental mood to his chic silhouettes; for SS15, he made the models (and clothes) calm down and sit down on a hand-made carpet from Buenos Aires. Known for great styling skills, he was the first to make a woolen sweater, striped shirt and feather-appliqued midi skirt look so good. Forgetting about being shiny on the New Year eve- maybe one of those outfits will inspire you?
Born and raised in Antwerp, Jan-Jan Van Essche menswear brand blends ethnic tradition with western characteristics- knitted ponchos, wool hats and loose attitude. Together with his partner Piëtro Celestina, whom Jan-Jan met during his fashion studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he runs Atelier Solarshop just a few blocks away from their loft where they live and work.The former solarshop carries Jan-Jan’s pieces and vintage treasures that reflect his style and mood. In Jan-Jan’s latest collection, entitled INITE, he shows his signatures- lazy blazers, pants and non-chalantly worn scarves. Also, we’ve got a quiet, peaceful colour palette perfect for every season. But what strikes you first in his new look-book, are the gold-polished socks which give the all of the outfits a edgy touch. This Antwerp-based guy keeps it close to his own, personal aesthetic and I love it (by the way, his models seem to be perfect for the overall atmosphere of the collection). More on ateliersolarshop.be and janjanvanessche.com
Funagata bag by Kazumi Takigawa
Walter Bosse hedgegog
Jan-Jan Van Essche hat
Hui-Hui silk scarf
Nickel bronze cutlery
December 7: A.F. Vandevorst, the eponymous label of a couple, had a great 2014- a new flagship store in Antwerp with an atelier on the second floor. Also, their SS15 collection was a beautiful fuse of militarian grunge and couture finishings. In other words, the Antwerpian label is in full-bloom this year!
Shadows fell on the girl who had recorded Horses. At a time of deep loneliness she received a package from Antwerp—an exquisite white box tied with black ribbon—like a photograph by Robert Mapplethorpe. She set it on her worktable by the window, laid the ribbons aside, and raised the lid. There, beneath layers of immaculate tissue, were three white shirts. She unfolded and spread them in the light, examining every stitch. I understood that I was not alone. When at long last I stepped back upon the stage, the girl of Flanders brushed the dust from my shoulder, adjusted my collar, and laced my boots. Patti Smith on Ann Demeulemeester.
My favourite Belgian label, A.F. Vandevorst, has just shown a magical collection. Keeping it a bit military, the designer couple introduced beautiful silhouttes and fabric. An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx had come up with a story, about a female pilot flying around the world who parachutes into terra incognita and begins exploring. Which is to say, Vandevorst and Arickx were riffing on parachutes and flight suits, a theme sledgehammered home by the rather extraordinary opening gown of what looked like parachute silk, with a train nearly the length of the runway. The models wore non-chalant gowns, wrapped jackets, red suits, very “natural” head covers and feather embroideries. And these ones were reall amazing. A.F. Vandevorst decorated the whole gown with feathers, making it look couture. But the simple shape of it made it feel (and look) very comfortable. Amazing.
Sebastien Meunier, whose the second season at Ann Demeulemeester feels like a vocabulary of the house’s heritage, was shown yesterday at Paris Fashion Week. The clothes were black & white, mesh and romantic fabrics were seen. The models had those punk-ish hair, but mostly it all felt silent and ethereal. In other words, it feels like if Ann was still present in the house, but with lack of progress. Beacaues that’s metaphorically true- Sebastien uses old house codes and hits, just to make it all more “commercial” and too Demeulemeester. The collection is not bad- but it feels like if the new creative director didn’t really try that hard as he should to make this Belgian brand be loved and respected. Hope the next season will be better…