I don’t know how weather flows where you live, but in the Southwest where I grew up, severe storms are a regular part of Spring, one that often challenges one’s ability to survive against mother nature. As dark, voluminous ensembles made their way down a fog-heavy runway, I couldn’t help but think back to those stormy nights, with lightening flashing and thunder rolling. This collection fits that atmosphere incredibly well from start to finish.

Working with extremely large swatches of severely (and permanently) wrinkled cloth, the husband-wife design duo of An and Filip Vandervorst give us a wind-strewn collection born of stormy nights and restless weather. One can almost feel the tension in structured pieces forever caught by the wind. Styles looking at times as though they were hastily thrown on in the dark provide an element of emotion and angst while more regal-feeling gowns summoned the power of ancient royalty.

Sounds serious, doesn’t it? Then, perhaps just to break things up, the couple sends down a pilot’s jump suit in white with bright neon orange stripes, the kind of thing one might expect to see an emergency aid worker wearing. Read the stenciled print on the jumpsuit, though. It says, “Remove before flight.” There’s also something on there about flying body inspection. One really has to like it when the designers toss a little humor into the middle of such a serious collection.

Turning to a bold red, though, things get serious again. Long, loose jackets, often left open as the label tends to do, over loose pants and skirts with cargo pockets, bring back that feeling of one fleeing from the storm. Thigh-high boots that lace up the front add to the drama; the situation is obviously getting very intense and then …

Hold on, there’s something in your hair. It’s … a flower, or a weed, sort of. Just as the collection gets so black that the pieces look as though they might have been pulled from a fire (there’s actually a set of black fire gloves in the mix), floral treatments, not the blooming kind, but the feathery weed-like kind, start showing up in the model’s hair. I understand the reference of storm refugees having debris lodged in their locks, but when the grass grew so long that it looked like helicopter blade on the model’s head I had no choice but to burst out laughing. For all the seriousness built into the clothes, the hair treatments were just hilarious.

These loose, casual, and pre-winkled clothes are perfect for so many people. They never need ironing; just pick ’em off the floor when you need them (presumably clean, of course). I rather doubt the monochrome looks come with their own “sturm and drang,” but perhaps these could be just the thing for one to generate such emotion on their own. These are very well designed, well stitched, and storm-worthy clothes.

Just be careful to avoid lightening. No clothes can save you from the lightening.

Photo credit: Gio Staiano

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