Designer Focus

A.F. Vandevorst

Based on a fetish for uniforms, A.F. Vandevorst refers to archetypal symbols such as nurses or soldiers. Their creativity comes with a very accessible approach to design. As they say, uniforms have a universal aspect to them, so do their collections.

 

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About the designer
 

‘Our woman is a woman who is dreaming at one end but has both feet on the ground, she travels like a nomad, never lives in one place and likes to discover new things,’ explains An. Belgian designer duo and couple An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx met on their first day at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. During that time, Filip's niche hobby consisted of collecting nursing and hospital uniforms, which is the foundation of the couple's love for fashion and their relationship. Exactly 10 years later they presented their first collection in Paris under the A.F. Vandevorst label.

Currently, the A.F. Vandevorst brand includes a prêt-à-porter line, fully developed and produced in Europe, whereas their shoes and accessories are manufactured in Italy. Prior to launching A.F. Vandevorst together with Filip, An worked for Dries Van Noten as a first assistant. Their strong love for art results in regular collaborations with film makers, creating special art installations or costume designs.

Collection autumn/winter 2017

Presenting in the iconic Espace Commines, Belgian partners in love and design A.F.Vandevorst turned the showmanship on this collection down a notch compared to previous seasons. But theatrical, this AW17 offering surely still was. Inspired by a new nostalgia, a longing for re-invention, A.F.Vandevorst sent out their models in the characteristic square space wearing past tokens and heirlooms, but then refashioned and repurposed. Trousers with tracksuit stripes and military embroidery tucked in knee-high boots were nods to uniform-style dressing, as were the Stephen Jones-designed headpieces. Traditional Nordic knit wool sweaters were worn in non-traditional ways, like nun’s habits or turbans, wrapped around the head. Refuse bags – most notably from their home city of Antwerp – were given unexpected functions , as headscarves or skirts. High gloss vinyl often made appearances, even teamed with a pleated schoolgirl skirt. Regeneration was the key thought here, the using and reusing of materials and prints. Various colours and textures refused to follow conventional rules. Yellow snakeskin, faded leopard print jacquards and fur coats clashed with glittery, sequined boots in A.F.Vandevorst’s AW17 effort to find freedom in letting go.