The Sensual Militia: Backstage AF Vandervorst Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week autumn/winter 2014-15
The Belgian label A.F. Vandervorst is the label of couple An Vandervorst and Filip Arickx founded in 1997. Graduates of the famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp the pair showed their first collection in Paris to critical acclaim, going on to win the prestigious Vénus de la Mode in 1998. Since this auspicious beginning the label has followed its own particular trajectory in the fashion world with designs that combine a strong conceptual feel - a love of old hospital imagery and iconography for example - with designs that reference militaria and uniform aesthetics whilst simultaneously channelling a sexy, sleek, feminine atmosphere into their creations. This season was no exception with their characteristic style on display in a runway that mixed military uniforms, sartorial codes with their trademark feminine touches, while injecting new sportswear influences into the mix.
The collection was characterised by a functional relaxed silhouette, one effortlessly suited to modern urban environments, but with enough twists and dynamism to impart a certain mysterious and sensual atmosphere. In a color palette that began in light and neutral colorways of white, cream and khaki, the collection evolved to darker tones in brown and blue before finally to rich blacks. Softly tailored suits in silk and jersey projecting a martial atmosphere were teamed with thigh high soft leather boots, while felt was used to dramatic effect to reinterpret sports clothing for the winter months, with felt baseball cap accessories completing the look. Obi-style wide leather belts were delicately folded like fine fabric, while a mixture of matte and glossy effects on the final totally black outfits offered dark depth to the garments. Whilst not a dramatic for departure for the label, it offered a consistent vision, sleek and highly wearable whilst avoiding the mundane.