A.F. Vandevorst beige dress decorated with gold chains, bronze beads and clear sequins — spring 2014€199.00 Add to cart
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The first collection already included all of the references and inspirations that came to play a defining role in A.F Vandevorst’s brand over the past 20 years: Joseph Beuys, the red cross, religion, horses and horse-riding accoutrements, rivets, lingerie, uniforms and fetish shoes.
The base of the collection was the lingerie. An and Filip asked all of the models to wear their collection of intimates because the clothes were very masculine and valiant. A.F. Vandevorst used heavy felted fabrics and drew a lot of influence from the military, so they wanted all of our girls to have a strong inner sense of femininity. An and Filip thought that if they gave them lingerie from their line, they would walk in a different way. The philosophy was that they would stride softly in tremendously bold and confident clothes.
In addition to the feminine sensibility, A.F. Vandevorst gave a cassette that they had made to each girl we cast. The tape had three songs: “Wild is the Wind” by David Bowie, “Superstar” by Sonic Youth, and “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene. Along with the cassette, they handed out the accompanying lyrics. Their intention was for the models to learn the lines to each tune so they could sing along while walking in the show.
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.