paris fashion week: a.f. vandevorst

(images via vogue)

like several of the other fashion houses deciding to scale down with either a presentation or a fairly limited show at paris fashion week this season, the belgian husband-wife designer duo of an vandevorst and filip arickx, or a.f. vandevorst for their a/w 2013 collection showed a scant 16 looks. it felt a lot more fluid and frankly ladylike (at least from my perspective, knowing their propensity to present military or equestrian-inflected creations; see a/w 2010, s/s 2011, s/s 2012, s/s 2013) than in yester-season, seemingly continuing on the precedent set for spring.

anyway, because there’s a lot of background on the show, we’ll straightaway turn to style, which explained that they “partnered with filmmaker Dirk Braeckman to create the evocative six-minute video that played at the beginning of their show. In it, the choreographer Lisbeth Gruwez channeled some sort of wild creature, or at least a possessed woman, writhing on the cement floor of a warehouse and struggling down a ladder, her face completely obscured by the long bangs of an enormous wig. The models wore the same hairpieces when they stepped off the tableau vivant that was exposed when the video scrim dropped. According to Vandevorst, the clothes themselves told a different story than the film, one based on the novel The Time in Between by María Dueñas, of a couturiere turned spy in 1930s Spain and Morocco.”

“If appearances suggested that the duo had spent too much time and energy on this season’s origin story and not enough on what really matters, in the end the fashion didn’t disappoint,” they continued. “With its dark palette, abundance of paisleys, and concentration of floor-scraping dresses and skirts, the clothes had a nice sense of drama. It was a mood aided and abetted by a pair of military jackets that featured large, slightly askew patch pockets, and fastened on the side as if they’d been pulled on in a hurry. The jackets pointed up the designers’ tailoring skills, as did a wrap coat in green and navy paisley cinched by a wide leather belt.”

meanwhile, according to now fashion, “(i)n lieu of credits, the screen dropped to the ground, revealing a final tableau of sixteen models, clad in draped dresses, asymmetrical belted coats, layers of luxuriant fabrics, including a cloud grey print. ‘The fabrics are silks, 100% pure wool, also damasks. All very noble, to express a chic version of A.F. Vandevorst, a style we didn’t express as full before.’ Volumes emphasized a cocooned feeling, forecasting a winter of bodily comfort slightly belied by the vertiginous heel on boots. As for the hair, created by the addition of custom-made hair pieces, ‘Our woman is a private person, so she’s always hiding behind her hair, a hat. She’s more luxurious but still a little introverted’ Arickx’s added.”

and finally, there was wwd, offering that “(h)ow the Belgian designers worked the inspiration into the lineup remained unclear. They played with layering and draping, showing, for instance, a black bustier peplum top over a fitted little black dress. Exaggerated volumes were also present, namely at the waist. Some of the silhouettes were charming with a faint glamour, like the languid, gray paisley dress teamed with a furry shearling vest in the same hue.” indeed, i really wished it would have been longer, to help unfold some of that very, very lengthy backstory, but all the same, there were some lovely looks here, albeit in a more commercial vein than i hope to see these kids at their next outing come the spring shows.

(watch the full catwalk show video here)

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