For fall, An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx had a country girl in mind — low profile but feminine, used to roaming the outdoors. Not one to put up with vestimentary restrictions. So they cut open the sleeves of her suit coat, lining them with zippers in case she wanted to close them back again. Shirt sleeves, too, were opened in this way, but with buttons. There was no planned color scheme — fabrics were chosen for their qualities, and then crafted into garments, making it more spontaneous and perhaps less intellectual, explained Vandevorst. Loose, tan trousers had a sporty, orange ribbon running up the leg while a silky purple shirt had piping details on the cuff, western style and one shoulder. Also in the lineup, season staples: a long, pleated skirt and smart outerwear, including trenchcoats.
Reflecting the label’s new emphasis on accessories, the showroom presentation was dominated by boots, sneakers and handbags galore — all shapes and sizes. Bags were mostly square-shaped, stamped with the label’s signature cross. Footwear options included a chunky-heeled ankle boot with zebra stripes on the front and lizard skin on the back — suitable, no doubt, for that country girl hitting the city streets.
What the designers didn’t know, when they made the collection, was that this girl would also go on a spin to a new, high-tech and futuristic place.
Introduced by a mutual friend to photographer and filmmaker Steven Sebring, the encounter sparked a new idea for presenting the clothing this season, which was quickly executed.
Arickx flew the clothing to Sebring’s New York studio where models were recorded from all sides, leaping in the air — hair flying, sleeves splayed open. Sebring worked the images into a film, which was projected on a screen at the Paris presentation, and also shown as a hologram. The results were striking.
Set to music, the film showed the models from all angles — spinning them around at different speeds and showing how the clothing moved on the body, naturally, rather than through computer-generated imagery.
“You can freeze moments, so you can bring poetry in it, it’s very high-tech,” Vandevorst noted.
“I think emotion will always be very important for us…because at the end of the day, it’s just clothes, it’s just a product,” she added. “If we can get [emotional creativity] into the high-tech world, then what are we worrying about?”