Model in uniform with mouthpiece

A.F.Vandevorst collections are characterized by a fascination with uniforms. In 2005, they inspired the MoMu exhibition, Katarina Prospekt: The Russians by A.F.Vandevorst. The fashion design duo delved into the archives of the National Historical Museum of Russia and illustrated the influence of Russian culture on their own specific visual language.

Mannequin in khaki-colored uniform
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 1998-99
MoMu Collection inv. X938, Photo: Stany Dederen
Black invitation A.F. Vandevorst, with text in red letters
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 1998-99 invitation
MoMu Collection inv. T18/510, Graphic Design: Paul Boudens
Mannequin in brown-colored uniform
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 1998-99
MoMu Collection inv. X1390, Photo: Stany Dederen
New Year's resolution A.F. Vandevorst with paternoster in translucent ziplock bag, inscribed '2016'
A.F.Vandevorst, New Year wish 2016
MoMu Collection, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin in black piece, featuring leather harness on back
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 2011-12
MoMu Collection inv. X1004, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin in brown leather top and beige skirt, with brown leather knee boots
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 2001
MoMu Collection inv. X931, Photo: Stany Dederen
Model in sleeveless top with number '87' on back
A.F.Vandevorst, backstage image Spring-Summer 2001
Photo: Marleen Daniëls

An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx met in 1987, at the fashion department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, becoming friends and partners. In 1998, they began a fashion label using a red cross as its logo. This referred to their shared passion for the aesthetics of old hospitals, which they had each developed independently as they grew up, and which would play a particularly important role in their second show, for Spring-Summer 1999. Their early collections immediately embraced the basic ingredients that would define their visual vocabulary for years to come: a fascination with German artist Joseph Beuys, religion, horses and equestrian equipment, uniforms, rivets, lingerie and fetish shoes. They discontinued the label in 2020.


Model, lying on hospital bed in white clothing
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 1999
MoMu Collection inv. X934, Photo: Ronald Stoops
Mannequin in red uniform with a white corset
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 1999
MoMu Collection inv. X935, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin in white uniform with red cross on chest
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 1999
MoMu Collection inv. X939, Photo Stany Dederen
Mannequin in white dress with open back and sloping shoulder
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 1999
MoMu Collection inv. X941, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin in brown long poncho with white uniform
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 1999
MoMu Collection inv. X937, Photo: Stany Dederen

With their second catwalk show for Spring-Summer 1999, A.F.Vandevorst made an unforgettable impression on the international fashion press. The collection referred to an environment in which sleep, rest and recovery takes place, with such elements as pyjamas, blankets, white cotton, pleats and creases. The models lay supposedly sleeping in a series of vintage hospital beds arranged in a school, while fashion journalists were invited to sit at the heads and feet of each of the beds. The models eventually broke the quiet intimacy by standing up and walking through the dormitory space.


Mannequin in brown dress with crackles
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 2004
MoMu Collection inv. X973, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin in white top with beige skirt in sheepskin
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 2007-08
MoMu Collection inv. X996, Photo: Stany Dederen

In terms of texture and tailoring, A.F.Vandevorst played with extremes. Draped and pleated skirts contrast with structured jackets and trench coats. Flowing, transparent materials soften more inflexible leather, felt and even paper, while delicate lace flows into rabbit fur or sheepskin.


Defilé image model with prominent lip contour
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 2002 show
Photo: Marcel Gruyaert; Makeup: Inge Grognard
Mannequin wearing long black crocheted dress, with mask
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 2016
MoMu Collection inv. X1405, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin with striking black headpiece and long black dress
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 2015-16
MoMu Collection inv. X1404, Photo: Stany Dederen
Composite photo from profile of model
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 2004-05 lookbook
MoMu Collection inv. 66124, Photo: Ann Vallé; Hair: Rudi Cremers

Partial and total concealment of the face was a recurring factor, with fragile, mottled voiles, mouth veils inspired by Jainism, fetishist masks in silk or leather, oversized hats (in collaboration with Stephen Jones) and wigs. Make-up also played a role, invariably provided by Belgian make-up artist Inge Grognard.


Model in lingerie on mirrored floor
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 2008-09
Photo: Ronald Stoops
Nude heels with lace-up heel
A.F.Vandevorst, Autumn-Winter 2006-07
MoMu Collection inv. T06/1214, Photo: Martin Bing
Invitation A.F. Vandevorst depicting a vintage silken sock
A.F.Vandevorst, Spring-Summer 2001 invitation
MoMu Collection inv. T18/510

Lingerie played a decisive role in the A.F.Vandevorst signature. At their first catwalk show, for Autumn-Winter 1998-99, the designer duo had their models wearing delicate lingerie under military-inspired outfits, reinforcing a sense of femininity and sensuality. Their 2001 Spring-Summer collection was an ode to An Vandevorst’s exceptional fascination with vintage silk stockings. References to lingerie are a consistent thread throughout their collections. For Autumn-Winter 2006-07, they began a separate lingerie line, under the name of Nightfall.

Author: Romy Cockx
Photo above: Ann Vallé

Geert Bruloot for the exhibition 'Footprint' about boot in felt by A.F.Vandevorst from the Autumn-Winter 2009-10 collection

Geert Bruloot for the exhibition 'Footprint' about boot in felt by A.F.Vandevorst from the Autumn-Winter 2009-10 collection
Geert Bruloot for MoMu