Presented as a performance, rather than a regular catwalk, the A.F. Vandevorst Fall/Winter 2015-16 collection is an evolving non-linear narrative, inspired by travels of the mind, body, and spirit. The collection evokes an escape to the Andes Mountains, and its stark landscapes punctuated by the jubilant costume of the Peruvian people.
Studied in monochrome, their dense and decorated vestments are instilled with a dramatic chiaroscuro, a shadow play of detail and silhouette that shines unencumbered in the dark.
‘Streamlined tradition’ describes the hand-touched, sculptural softness found throughout, as textiles are wrapped, laced and moulded around the feminine form.
Natural fibers abound, with a profusion of organic textures underscored by the bold details of high- altitude clothing, with giant whipstitch lacing defining the contours of stovepipe trousers, cuissard boots and slim blazers. Long and languid suiting meets the flared volumes of hand-tucked and pleated wool skirts, falling to the knee or past the ankle in pitch black, bright white, and a muted palette of grayscale tones.
Surface builds from the flatness of crisp poplin creeping with Chivay embroidery through to tapestry-print crepe and felted wool, developing into the rich, layered depth of thick-pile knit fringing, ombreì Tibetan lambskin, jersey faux fur, and a herbaceous rose jacquard. Up close, mourning ribbons adorn jacket lapels and a band tee translates the Incan myth of the Ayar brothers as an irreverent graphic motif.
A series of wool coats and gowns are backed with aluminium to create sweeping gestures of movement inspired by the wings of the Andean Condors of the Colca Canyon, as are Stephen Jones’ draped bonnets (lending a touch of the absurd). Brogue boots in rose jacquard, suede or calfskin are elevated on a stiletto heel, traced across the instep with hiker’s lacing.
The performance piece “White Light, Paint It White” by Belgian artist Joris Vandemoortel was integrated into the show, as models and musicians alike were transformed to the strains of “White Light White Heat” by the Velvet Underground.
Photos courtesy of A.F. Vandevorst