Filip Arickx & An Vandevorst
"Arickx and Vandevorst met on their first day as students at Antwerp’s famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1987. They knew they were a match right away, both personally and artistically, but initially focused on their own individual projects. After graduating, An worked for Martin Margiela and eventually became the first assistant to Dries van Noten, with whom she worked closely for six and a half years and “learned almost everything.” Meanwhile, Filip completed his mandatory military service and worked as a freelance stylist before Dirk Bikkembergs took him under his wing. “Dirk introduced me to the fashion world. When I was 15, he took me to Paris to see the shows of Montana and Mugler,” recalled Arickx.
The designers first felt it was time to tell their own story in 1997. “We had studied creation, we were a couple — which meant both a shared vision but also a constant soundboard with which to exchange and fine-tune ideas — and we had a story to tell, which was primarily built around aesthetics, and at a certain moment you feel this strong impulse to materialise it. You have to create it and physically make it. You say to yourself, ‘It needs to be out there, Now!’” said Arickx.
Arickx and Vandevorst remember their first collection — shown in Paris for the Fall/Winter 1998 season — as being overflowing, perhaps overly so, with ideas. “Looking back at our first season, I think it had too much going on. But I think every young designer is like that. It’s not even that you want to show all that, you just feel there is no other way,” said Arickx. “There are so many things in you and you have been waiting for so long to express it, and suddenly you can, and it all comes out. It’s only later that things really start to take form in a more focused, mature way.”
“I still think the most difficult part in designing is to say ‘stop’ and to concentrate on just one idea,” added Vandevorst. “Especially because there [are] two of us and we’re constantly talking about ideas and impulses, eliminating becomes really important, but is also really difficult. It’s the hardest part.”
An Vandevorst selected questions/answers from Assouline’s The Fashion Questionnaire
Your favourite fabric – Felt and the fragile nylon of nylon stockings
Your favourite colour – If black is a colour, black. If not, then army green
The style you most dislike – No style
Your favourite fashion photographer – Ronald Stoops
Your shoe/shoe designer fetish – Black leather riding boots
Your ideal bag – Doctor’s bag
Your favourite designer – Filip Arickx
Your contemporary muse or inspiration – A mix of Joseph Beuys (for his primitive roughness) and Pina Bausch (for the elegance of dance and her strength and humour) with a hint of desert nomad.
What is your present state of mind? New year – new energy – new creativity – new things that will happen.
ann demeulemeester, 1993
Kirsten Owen for The Face, September 1993. by Craig McDean
Ann Demeulemeester store in Antwerp
Ann Demeulemeester’s store looks like an artist’s workshop: a raw open space with an unfinished feel. The result is unique and extremely personal. Ann wanted her first shop to look like her and to be an incursion in the own world. She designed the store with her husband and partner Patrick Robyn and asked the architect Paul Robbrecht to help with the realisation. The building is opposite the Museum of Fine Art and is located on the museum square, recently redesigned by Paul Robbrecht.
The building accommodating the store was build at the end of the 19th century and is situated in an historical and now bohemian area called “Het Zuid”. The typical Antwerp architecture of the building and it’s opulent facade is in stark contrast with the poetic bareness created by Ann inside. Here, one can find the intimate atmosphere of her atelier. The furniture, the light, the music, as well as symbolic elements of her work such as a white feather and white canvas wrapping up the space like a second skin.
600 Square meters are spread on two levels and linked by an impressive staircase. The floor is made of unpolished wood, high ceiling are painted black and the walls are covered with huge frames of canvas. the lighting is very simple and combines industrial neons, bare light-bulbs and hanging lamps wrapped in cotton gauze. All furnishings are Ann’s creation.
5 oversized changing rooms are surrounding a small wild garden. In each room, a jug of water and a glass placed on a white table invite the customer to take time and enjoy this intimate moment. Elsewhere, white pigeons in a glass cage add to the poetry of the space. Higher up perched on the roof, a light watches night and day over Ann’s universe. All of Ann Demeulemeester’s collection will be available in the store: women- and menswear, shoes and accessories as well as furniture.
"Escale A L.A." Lara Stone photographed by Inez & Vinoodh for Vogue Paris 2011
Undercover; Patti Smith’s “Babelogue” cowhide gloves.
Neoboy: Spring/Summer 09