February 29, 2012 Paris
On the runway, the designers' riff had a dreamy serenity, and this was easily one of their best collections to date. As a nod to the artist's felt-covered objects and to preserve his aforementioned companion's imaginary status, this parade of Beuysian belles was appropriately covered up. Stephen Jones made the fedoras—echoing Beuys' own ever-present millinery—that were cleverly perforated in front to pull over the face while avoiding any blinded-model disasters. Scarves in rabbit fur and chunky knit completed the obscuring.
The effect was quite striking, but the clothes served both masters—concept and commercial reality—with lean trenchcoats over drapey silk dresses and nubby grand cozy cardigans and pullovers that were layered and belted in a way that makes you hope that winter isn't a thing of the past. Even the surreal details worked, like the trompe l'oeil prints of fur and hand-knit on spongey silks. The softness gave way to Bausch-esque tailoring, both plain and gold bullion encrusted, and yet more great pieces. If we had to quibble, it would be that Vandevorst and Arickx provided too much of a good thing. Fewer looks would have packed stronger punch. Still, kudos for a collection very well done.