A.F. VANDEVORST AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK
Where to start? Probably in Peru, where An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx traveled recently and became inspired as much by condors, folklore, traditional dress, and ponchos as they were by their time hanging out with Mario Testino in his museum there. Back at home, they began Vandevorst-izing this new ammunition. “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 monochrome—shades of grayed. Stephen Jones’ hats were condor perches or fedoras. The silhouettes were long, lean, and brooding—made longer and leaner by viciously heeled boots—or slouchy yet sinuous.
But what about those protective face masks? Unless they’re worn during the processing of Peru’s most notorious export, they did not seem a detail particularly evocative of the country. The answer rested with Joris Van de Moortel, an artist recruited by A.F. Vandevorst to further desaturate their desaturated collection at today’s presentation. Held at the Belgian ambassador to France’s residence, this was a chaotic affair where guests were offered their own face masks—and protective onesies, too—when they arrived. As the models emerged from behind a screen of the plastic sheeting that swathed the entire interior, Van de Moortel sprayed them, and the excellent band playing alongside him, with white paint from an industrial spray gun. It was great, deranged fun. Special props to the ambassador, Patrick Vercauteren Drubbel, for his commitment to the dissemination of avant-garde Belgian lunacy.