September 30, 2009
With transparency and visible lingerie shaping up as a couple of Spring's biggest trends, An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx are, for better or worse, in their element. They didn't invent innerwear as outerwear—that somewhat dubious honor probably goes to Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier—but it is a significant aspect of their oeuvre, and tonight they worked it like nobody's business. Pausing at a wind machine at the back of the runway, the models' sheer, blousy nude shirtdresses and slips fell off one shoulder to expose the body casts they wore underneath, while flesh-toned stockings left their briefs visible. The casts, which were bolted, not sewn, together from stiff, papery fabric, gave structure to the collection's soft, floaty fabrics, but they were a strange motif: You wondered what place, if any, there is for them in real life. The way the models' pants were stuffed into the tops of sheer hose was a bit of a puzzle, too. Why hide your work? From a two-tone wrap trench with a trio of substantial leather belts to a soigné blue chiffon blazer tucked into a narrow pencil skirt, there were some timely pieces on the runway. Unfortunately, they were mostly obscured by heavy-handed styling tricks.