Photo Courtesy of A.F. VandevorstMarching dead center in a uniformed procession, the tribesmen advanced towards the cameramen who in rhythmic unison took a shot with every step of the approaching clan member. Harmoniously, exotic tribal music followed their succession to unveil A. F. Vandevorst’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection at Paris Fashion Week.
As always, and in pure Vandevorst fashion, the house successfully created an impressive collection. My personal interview with this duo gave me more depth into their grand success, from this current show to what’s next to come.
Vandevorst is known for combining opposing details within their design. “Aside from the fact that a woman (An Vandevorst) and a man (Filip Arickx) design the collections probably encourages these contrasts, it is something that we have always focus on. Ever since our first collection in 1998, we combined ideas of soft, and delicate lingerie with hard leather harnesses, and woolen felt military inspired coats,” explains Vandevorst.
That would be the signature elements Vandevorst shares from one collection to the next, “influences from (artist) Joseph Beuys, and our fascination with uniforms.”
It was the semi-nomadic Turkana tribe and the Samburu warriors of Kenya that specifically inspired this collection by Vandevorst and Arickx. The Mohawk-like tribal headdresses made quite a statement atop the clansman. “We stayed for three days in a Turkana village in the north to make these headdresses together with the local women,” says Vandevorst of the villagers who take great pride in their appearance. Another personal favorite was the red ochre which “is the pigment that they (tribesmen) decorated their bodies with.”
This collection gives us a proud warrior like no other, who wears leather and silk, harnesses and headdress, and ornaments of twisted tassels and broken embroideries. She is a warrior princess flaunting her confidence and elegance, adorn with military and tribal accents. “We create harnesses, which are direct ties to uniforms and equestrianism,” remarks Vandevorst of a consistent underlying influence.
“It is life itself which inspires us. We absorb everything that we see, and experience,” reveals Vandevorst about where their inspirations for design come from. “We love what we do, because we love to tell a story; our story.” These inspirations that manifest into their story “will always stay true to our strong feminine archetype who remains something of a nomad; a wanderer, and more importantly, an explorer. As our work is our passion, we take everything that we experience into our collections.”
Always on the move, Vandevorst’s “traveling guerilla store,” is one I’ll be on the hunt for! It is a temporary “shop within a shop” concept where their AKTION line has been sited in stores around Belgium, London and Eindhoven. However, be on the look out for AKTION to hit other parts of the globe as well soon. Additionally, Vandervorst will also be designing the costumes for the Flemish Opera, the Duke of Alba, premiering May 2012. For more visit AFVandevorst.be.
“It is life itself which inspires us.” -Vandevorst