5 posts tagged "A.F. Vandevorst"
As creative director of her family’s business, Selfridges’ Alannah Weston has turned the massive department store on London’s Oxford Street into her private fiefdom of fun with a series of large-scale events that have brought together artists, filmmakers, musicians, and designers in the name of underscoring the store’s retail vision. Wednesday night saw one of the smartest, artiest events yet, to mark the opening of the Women’s Designer Galleries. Curator Emma Reeves commissioned a set of short films to interpret seven of the collections carried in the new space. The single criterion? A strong female character at the heart of each film. For Ann Demeulemeester, for instance, Michael Pitt filmed his fiancée, Jamie Bochert, as a wraithlike figure moving through the desert (top), like a contemporary version of Isabelle Eberhardt, the 19th-century French traveler who inspired the designer’s collection. For Comme des Garçons, Katerina Jebb filmed concert pianist Madeleine Malraux, the widow of cultural nabob André Malraux, still playing at the age of 90.
Ruth Hogben made a typically brilliant piece of film for Gareth Pugh (above), a hectic slice of Cabaret-style decadence. She also created a sepulchral German-expressionist short for Rick Owens: harsh angles, shadowy reveals, eldritch textures, and an opera soundtrack. Her grasp of atmospheric moviemaking is so acute it came as a surprise to hear Hogben admit that all she wants to do is take still pictures. I swear everybody’s going to be reading real books again in a few years.
Speaking of atmosphere, set designer Simon Costin has made Mars out of molehills, and here he turned the derelict Selfridges’ hotel into an outlying branch of the Overlook, with curtained-off spaces intended to obliquely echo the building’s former use. There were “rooms” with oversize sofas, long dining tables, cracked vanity tables, and huge beds, with the movies projected on the ceiling above them. That was how we got to see an edit of the film Christopher Doyle had made, but not used, as the backdrop for Dries Van Noten’s show for Fall 2005. (Technical issues pulled it at the last minute.) Doyle was the man whose camerawork made In the Mood for Love into the swoonsville date movie of the millennium. A perfect match for Dries’s own romantic leanings. It was kinda nice watching it lying down, too.
Funny, only one of the films—the McQueen one—really featured recognizable clothes. The others were all projections, figurative and literal, like Delfine Balfort’s erotic equine dance for A.F. Vandevorst. You can see them all on Selfridges’ Web site, but you’ve got till March 26 to experience them in person. More fun that way.
A few years ago, A.F. Vandevorst‘s Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst started opening “guerrilla” shops in neglected buildings in northern Europe; more recently, they’ve taken to the road with a clothes-selling installation they’ve dubbed The Smallest Traveling Store in the World.
The name is much more unwieldy than the thing itself, which fits neatly into two crates and takes up a mere three square meters when it’s traveling, Arickx explained last night at the Tribeca boutique Patron of the New. He was minding the front corner of the boutique, where he and Vandevorst had set up his hospital-themed mini-shop, the centerpiece of which is an old Red Cross bed his father salvaged for him when he was 12. “The Red Cross in the village where I lived, they were changing furniture,” the Belgian designer said. He and his wife and co-designer, he added, both have a bit of a thing for hospitals.
The duo returns to Europe tomorrow to get ready for the Paris shows, but the traveling shop’s North American tour has just begun. “It has a visa for one year,” Arickx reported. He wants to take it to Canada, he said, but the actual itinerary at this point is anyone’s guess. “Who knows? It can be very spontaneous.”
Interactivity isn’t just a Web app anymore. Actually—although it seems fanciful to remember—interacting was something people used to do in real time, face to face, without any mediation of binary code. This was back when the word “friend” was a noun, meaning someone you liked to see on a regular basis, as opposed to the current verb form, having to do with actions undertaken on Facebook. How simple we used to be! Anyway, A.F. Vandevorst designers An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx are taking the idea of interaction back to its roots as they prepare to launch both their first-ever guerrilla store in Antwerp and a diffusion line, called A Friend. “Our friends were saying, hey, you know, we like A.F. Vandevorst very much, but it’s too expensive,” explains Arickx. “So we began to work on pieces that could cost less, and as we did so, we got eight of our friends together to advise. They looked at the designs, came to fittings…” Debuting in the States for Fall ’10, A Friend is making its first appearance at the A.F. Vandevorst pop-up that opens on December 17. Designed with some help from the curators at the Dr. Guislain Museum—a museum dedicated to the history of the care of the mentally ill, housed in a psychiatric institute in Belgium—the shop is the first standalone A.F. Vandevorst boutique, and its opening marks the start of a series of pop-up shops for the brand. As Arickx explains, the store also presents A.F. Vandevorst fans with the opportunity to interact with the design of A Friend. “We’re putting a box in the store where people can drop off items that they like, that they’ve destroyed in some way and aren’t using anymore,” Arickx says. “They will write their names, addresses, and a description of the aspect of the garment that they like—the neckline, or something.” At the end of six months, Vandevorst and Arickx will go through the box, and if they wind up using a donated item as source material for an A Friend piece, the donor will receive both the original back, and a gift of the new piece it inspired. The Antwerp A.F. Vandevorst store is scheduled to close March 31; the box will travel with the brand. Friendship, it seems, has no fixed address.
Fashion has long had a love affair with the horsey set. Now, it appears, designers are cutting out the middleman and going straight for the horse. A.F. Vandevorst kicked off a trendlet at its show in March, putting a Clydesdale sole on boots and shoes, and Opening Ceremony has followed suit with a hoof-inspired clog for fall. “We had this image in our heads of herds of running animals,” explains Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon. “That’s something we’ve always loved, as an image, and that’s how we came up with the idea of these hooflike shoes.” Oversize in front, with a dainty heel at the back, the clog comes in a zipper-detailed slingback style that strikes an urbane compromise with its beast-of-burden silhouette. For the full feral effect, however, Leon implores skeptics to give the suede version a chance. “I think it’s one of those shoes that look really awkward at first, but once you put it on your foot and take another look, the silhouette grows on you,” he says. “We feel like this is something really special.” What do you say? Yea or neigh?