“It’s a book we read,” started Filip Arickx, one half of the A.F Vandevorst duo he forms with An Vandevorst, after the duo’s fall-winter show had concluded to the question of their inspirations. “But never mind that. First of all, we wanted to make a movie with Belgian artist Dirk Braeckman and return to a format where we could give people more, share our perceptions.” There was the result, on the silver screen, of a starkly disquieting exploration of the Boekentoren (Book tower, in Dutch) of Ghent, featuring a mysterious woman with her face obscured by her hair, occupying the empty spaces of this marvelous interbellum construction, in the manner of a contemporary dancer. A reference to their previous muse, Pina Bausch? A throwback to slash movie Ring’s killer ghost?
In 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. The resulting silhouettes nonetheless felt like a satisfying middle between a conceptual exercise and a retailer’s bottom-line.
So why did this presentation leave a taste of the unfinished? Perhaps it was the space –the basement of the grand Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild – that didn’t allow for the kind of interaction the pair envisioned, but the arrangement of this standing only viewing made the show a little hard to capture in its entirety, and the clothes a little hard to see.
- Lily Templeton