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A.F. Vandevorst

 

Of all the special materials displayed in A.F. Vandevorst’s show as a guest member on this season’s haute couture schedule, the recurrence of reworked garbage bags seemed particularly noteworthy. But lest anyone detect a disrespectful provocation, An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx confirmed their intention was precisely the opposite. “It’s about upgrading,” she said. “The message was that you can use whatever as long as you’re working in a couture way.” And the way they formed the black plastic into a bodice and built it up into ruffled, tiered skirts; or else how it appeared as floral embroidery on a sweater was pretty convincing. As in, whether or not the pieces end up being worn, the execution would have been the same had the material been lacquered organza or raffia. Moreover, by using local Antwerp garbage bags (the ones printed with “rest,” i.e. neither organic, nor recyclable waste), A.F. Vandevorst was also acknowledging its home base, no matter whether the brand shows in Paris or, as it has most recently, in London.

But then what about the other materials—the second-skin black vinyl, yellow latex accents, and faux fur outerwear—which might imply that the collection was aiming for the right side of trashy? The interesting thing here is how A.F. Vandevorst integrated uniform references—from regiment braiding to nun’s habits—but turned them a bit wonky, so that stripes appeared out of line, or a collar was composed of different parts. With a dress suit in faded animal print jacquard, and jackets in a jacquard that suggested layers of patina, the original concept swung downward; and yet, these pieces will likely have widest appeal. The collection’s thrifty baroque mix was underscored by random strass embellishments and a digital print of collaged upholstery fabrics, which as a tracksuit evening attire, seemed both odd and uncharted for the brand. However, reshuffle some of the looks, zero in on the footwear—especially the burnished military braid cowboy boots—and you end up with a solid fall retail offering in stores soon enough.

Lastly, Stephen Jones and his team imagined found objects as headpieces; pants as turbans, old medals arranged as bonnets, and unwieldy bags as veils. If couture-approximate bag ladies sound absurd; they ultimately packed a visual punch.Read more at:prom dresses | evening dresses uk