Being inspired by armor is familiar ground for Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst, their signature look being one that falls into the category of the urban warrior. But for Spring, the duo took that notion and evolved it into an exploration of metal in all its various forms. Perhaps unintentionally, it made for an uncharacteristically flashy look (not necessarily a bad thing). Let's call it Glamour Armor.
Arickx and Vandevorst ran the gamut of metallic treatments. There was the stiff, aged silver herringbone beading, used on the cap-sleeved dress that opened the show and on more constructed pieces like a breastplate-cum-shell top. A softer fabric covered with silver-gray sequins was draped up into sexy skirts. And the glam factor really got going with gold mesh (hello, A.F. Versace!) and liquid bronze and gold lamé. The pair kept their hard-edged fighting spirit by layering all that shine with skinny sliced ribbon pants and knits crafted to look like chain mail.
Perhaps as a sign of their own little revolution, one model came out carrying an A.F. Vandevorst flag. (Was this Liberty Leading the People into shiny new territory? The Delacroix reference did appear to be echoed in the sashlike draping on dresses throughout.) Yet if the dedicated A.F. Vandevorst fan isn't up for the glitz of a gold mesh halter top or lamé harem pants, there were lovely stiff canvas coats and jackets—cut in a fabric based on painter's canvas—hand-painted in watery strokes. In all, this was a bright and fresh moment for a collection that easily turns doom-and-gloomy.