AF Vandevorst: A Dynamic Duo

afv2In every relationship there exists a dynamic that is keenly communicated through affection, trust, adventure and a little spontaneity. But what happens to that relationship when the person you come home to at the end of the night to vent to about the problems of the day also happens to be your business partner and husband?

For An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx, both fashion graduates of the Royal Academy in Antwerp, their collective design goals were one in the same. A marriage formed between the two creative minds when a love for collecting uniforms and hospital memorabilia became an unlikely connection they shared. The notion of hospital inspired fashion is a positive process and a way to speak to the mind and soul.

“[They] view fashion as nothing less than a way to communicate the inner workings of the mind,” according to insightful fashion source

afv4The pair complemented each other’s style with sophisticated and intellectual grit with a knack for designing original material. Both born and raised in Belgium, the amorous duo joined forces in the late 90s and formed the line V.F. Vandevorst with a fierce drive for creating high fashion apparel. They work together shockingly well on a personal and professional level because of their mutual understanding of a common goal: to create art with their designs.

A Fall 1998 collection earned the fashion savvy team the coveted Parisan “Venus de la Mode” award, which is a prestigious honor for newcomers to the world of design. It was an astonishing feat for their first collection and they quickly used their newfound fame to go to work on a second collection right away. Catching eyes around the globe, V.F. Vandevorst took off and soared.

afv3The married couple drew inspirations from hospital memorabilia, often using a medical red cross as a staple symbol to the fashions. Though strong lines and clean cuts are frequently signatures of the designers, the looks are ultimately feminine and hint at more sensuality.  Though high fashion and somewhat couture in appearance, the V.F. Vandevorst line appeals to the universal woman with slouchy and comfortable looks that feel sexy and fit effortlessly. From sleek black frock coats over slim fitted crop pants to sharp blazers over slinky lingerie, the apparel conveys the personalities of each designer in a complimentary display.

“We do it our own way. It’s nice because if we have an idea we can do it – we don’t have to go through procedures,” A.F. Vandevorst explained to Vogue magazine adding, “It’s difficult not falling into clichés but our woman is a woman who is dreaming at one end but has both feet on the ground, she travels like a nomad, never lives in one place and likes to discover new things.”

New things are always on the rise for the couple who frequents Paris Fashion Week and strives for original at all ends. In addition to uniform inspired clothing and angular attire, an entire shoe line and lingerie line were recently introduced to the Belgian line. The high fashion blend of apparel ranges from chic boots with strappy buckles and sophisticated heels with peekaboo red stripes. Of course, black is a solid centerpiece to their collections but in 2014 V.F. Vandevorst strayed from muted colors like beiges, browns, blacks and whites, and introduced a variety of fun, bright pieces sure to shine on anyone’s summer accessories.

Always striving to highlight the body without overpowering the person, the delicate combination of a variety of hand picked fabrics and linear lines make V.F. Vandevorst stand out from other fairly new designers.

afv5“In our latest collection the contrasts between the different fabrics is very clear and gives a dynamic edge to the outfits, despite the almost exclusive use of solid colours. We focused particularly on the back and edges of the clothes to create a certain element of surprise: overlapping pleated fabrics appear out from under outerwear, looking a little like tails,” the duo expressed to Fashion Collections Magazines’ site “We had fun applying some unexpected leather structures and newspaper style prints that stand out on the dark colours. Jackets and coats have rather clean lines due to the square and pushed-up shoulders, but there are also delicate details such as bubble skirts and soft wool or fur collars.”

With a push-and-pull understanding of one another and a keen sense for detail and originality, V.F. Vandevorst continue to thrive by doing what they do best: communicating through fashion’s inner mind. Their boutique “pop up” shops get their brand out there while developing relationships and portraying a nomadic life. The pair collaborate seamlessly both professionally and personally and have the highest hopes for further broadening their horizons.


-Courtney Blackann