First, the bad news. While there was much to admire in A.F. Vandevorst's Fall show, there were a few reasons why it didn't fly quite as well as it could have. It's never a good idea to present your collection way out of the center of Paris at nighta very cold night, at thatand then keep your audience shivering on the sidelines for more than an hour in subzero temperatures. Serving Champagnechilled, naturellementmight score brownie points with some, but at this stage in the evening hot cocoa would probably have been a bigger hit. Just why it was so cold became apparent when the show finally started. An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx, the duo behind the label, had opened up the vast auditorium in order to allow the models to enter from outside, deposited by a fleet of Lexus limousines that drew up at the entrance.
Once the girls started to stalk the square runway in a complicated formation sequence, things began to heat up: An and Filip put their own sharp twist on the pretty, polished femininity that's a recurring theme this season, with a smart tie-belted cardigan jacket in a magnified houndstooth tweed; a lacquered black lace circle skirt; and a decidedly chic cream bouclé tweed coat. The good news also included the now-trademark looks with which they opened and closed the proceedingsa belted trench with voluminous caped sleeves.
Intermixed with these standouts, however, were endless military-influenced jackets and shirts strewn with braiding, or pinned with medals. It may have been a comment on war and the military, but it led the collection directly into no-man's-landand a chilly one, at that.