Save for a pair of unfortunate face harnesses (why?) and a few perplexing corrugated-cardboard vests, Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst took a much more real-world approach than they did last season, and the collection was all the better for it.
Traveling familiar terrain, they turned out structured and pieced jackets and vests riveted together with metal bolts—they were subtler than they sound—and paired them with fluid, full pants or draped jersey skirts and leggings, which were tucked into thigh-high boots with articulated knees. Everything was monochrome—beige, wine, plum, fuchsia—except the black numbers. Black shirtdresses came in an abstract chalkboard print (blackboards and cardboard being the designers' twin obsessions for Fall), and drapey black cowl-neck sweaters were covered in actual chalk dust. As one model did her front-of-runway pivot, a pouf of white powder came off her.
Toward the end, Arickx and Vandevorst sent out an otherwise plain button-front shirt with dozens of pieces of chalk held in place by rows of holsters. It was a funny, light moment, although it ultimately evoked bullets and guns. Were the husband-and-wife duo offering a "Make education, not war" pitch? Could be. But the important message is that they are back on track, updating the kind of basics that have potential in the stores.