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In collaboration with diamond company Diarough/UNI-Design, designers An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx have set new standards in extravagance by creating the world’s most expensive pair of shoes.
Sourcing diamonds worldwide like the adventurer whom we glimpse an impression of on the runway, it was a natural fit for A.F. Vandevorst to take part in the diamond fashion project; as eighty-four percent of the world’s rough diamonds, and fifty percent of all polished diamonds pass through Flanders.
Based on the design of a pair of paisley patterned calf skin boots from the Fetish shoe collection, 30.000 man hours were put into designing, and producing a replica pair completely covered with 38.883 naturally white, light pink, brownish pink, champagne, and grey colored hand set diamonds into 4.753 grams of gold. Exceptionally rare reddish pink diamonds from the Australian Argyle mine complete the set with the signature cross-shaped logo; coming to 1.527 carats and a cost of $3.188.000 .
After having revealed the most expensive diamond boots in the world during 2013 Business of Design Week in Hong Kong, the boots lay for rest by the runway of the Autumn/winter 2014 show during Paris Fashion Week. And in continuing to deal with diamonds, A.F. Vandevorst introduced Black Beauty, a new concept for their Autumn/ Winter 2014 sales in which their trademark X010 shiny black calf leather riding boots could be ordered with the trademark cross covered in naturally white, brownish pink, or light pink colored diamonds.
Only 12 pairs were ever produced and are now exclusively for sale at Vaniitas.
In 1987, both An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx met on their first day as students at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Instantly they felt like they matched, both on a personal and a creative level.
After graduating, An Vandevorst went to work for Maison Martin Margiela and became the first assistant of Dries Van Noten later on. Filip Arickx completed his obligatory military service, worked as a freelance stylist afterwards and went to work for Dirk Bikkembergs.
Vandevorst and Arickx united in 1997 to create their label A.F. Vandevorst. This was a time when the fashion world was eagerly awaiting a second wave of talent to follow in the footsteps of the famous ‘Antwerp Six’: Ann Demeulemeester,Walter van Beirendonck, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee.Arickx and Vandevorst remember their first collection — shown in Paris for fall 1998— as being overflowing, perhaps overly so, with ideas.
Nonetheless, Dries Van Noten supported the couple with sales and distribution.
The A.F. Vandevorst aesthetic is marked by a combination of feminine draping and strong masculine tailoring. Filip and An look for inspiration to military and nurse uniforms, lingerie and fetish subculture. Appropriately, their footwear line, launched in 2003, is called Fetish.
They have been growing very slowly and recently gained momentum with their fall 2015 collection, which was nothing short of an art happening, with models wearing gasmasks and getting spraypainted by artist Joris Van de Moortel while walking the runway.