AF Vandevorst stands for the Belgian design duo of An Vandevorst (born ’68) and Filip Arickx (born ’71).
The husband-and-wife design team met in ’87 at the Royal Academy in Antwerp. On graduating, Vandevorst worked as assistant to Dries Van Noten. Meanwhile Arickx, who worked for Dirk Bikkembergs for three years as a teenager, completed military service after leaving the Academy and then worked as a freelance designer and stylist.
Together they established their own label in ’97, and presented their first collection in Paris for a/w ’98. The label quickly came to the attention of both the fashion press and establishment; after only their second collection they were awarded Paris Fashion Week’s Venus de la Mode award for ‘Le Futur Grand Createur’, a prestigious prize for newcomers. For the spring/summer and autumn/winter ’00 seasons the pair were invited to design the Ruffo Research collection, an opportunity periodically offered to young designers by the Italian leather house Ruffo.
AF Vandevorst clothes convey a slouchy confidence and a version of femininity that evokes a sexy yet intellectual cool. Traditional clothing (horse riding equipment, kimonos, frock coats) is often referenced, reworked and refined until it sits slightly left-of-centre; a medical-style red cross is their enduring symbol. For collection themes, they often favour the unexpected, as for a/w ’03, when honey bees provided inspiration. Following no set colour palette, AF Vandevorst stray from muted tones into brights. The label expanded to encompass footwear, accessories and lingerie and they continue to present catwalk shows during the Paris collections.
Exhibition & Book
In ’05, An and Filip were asked by MOMU, the renowned Antwerp Fashion Museum, to curate “Katharina Prospekt” an exhibition based upon the couple’s impressions of Russia.
Exhibition “Katharina Prospekt”
A series of objects or images inextricably linked to Russia: Russian matrioshkas or Russian dolls, vodka, the fur hat, the long queues of the Soviet era, the Volga … These stereotypes give a distorted image of contemporary Russia and obscure the diversity of its peoples, cultures, styles, and historical periods. By integrating these clichés into the scenography of the exhibition, A.F. Vandevorst makes us rediscover modern Russia. Like the Russian dolls which hold inside them a series of smaller dolls, the exhibition comprises several dimensions in which the historical collection of clothing of the State Historical Museum of Moscow is confronted with ever different contexts.
Curators:Tamara Igoumnova, State Historical Museum Moscow,An Vandevorst & Filip Arickx
Book by the exhibition
Fans of Belgian avant-garde fashion, Russian style and great book design, unite! This exceedingly seductive volume documents Katharina Prospekt: The Russians, a tour de force exhibition put together by the innovative Belgian fashion house.A.F. Vandevorst of Russian cultural artifacts borrowed from the State Historical Museum in Moscow, coupled with contemporary fashion designs by A.F. Vandevorst and others–including Yves Saint Laurent, Bless, Martin Margiela and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
There are sections on Propaganda, Military Design, Fur, Chess and even the iconic Russian dolls that fit one inside another. The bold typography riffs on Constructivist design, and we see antique objects, artifacts, textiles and costumes alongside vintage photographs and eye-popping contemporary fashion design.
Author: A.F Vandervorst, ISBN: 978 9061 536185
A.F.Vandevorst installation @ Arnhem Mode Biennale 2011
In June 2011, A.F.VANDEVORST was invited to create an original installation for the Arnhem Mode Biennale, for which An & Filip drew inspiration from their second collection and presented DREAMING, a life-size sleeping girl made out of candle wax
Director Zach Gold, Producer David Dumas, Cinematography Steve Romano. An Fashion / Art short for AF Vandevorst which won the Grand Prize at the ICG Emerging Cinematography Awards. Shot with Phantom HD Gold camera and Leica Lenses.
Delfine by A.F. Vandevorst. Directed by Stef Viaene as part of the Selfridges Film Project.
Official website: https://www.afvandevorst.be/en