PARIS — As they prepare to celebrate their 20th anniversary in fashion, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are harking back to their conceptual roots.
Viktor & Rolf will return to the Paris haute couture calendar in July after a 13-year absence. The Chambre Syndicale, French fashion’s governing body, named the label a correspondent member of the couture calendar at a meeting of its management committee on Friday.
Horsting said the Dutch design duo would be coming back with a runway show that would celebrate the poetic and artistic dimension of fashion.
“Returning to couture now, on our 20th anniversary, feels like coming full circle,” he said in an exclusive interview.
Viktor & Rolf showed five couture collections between January 1998 and July 2000, including the Atomic Bomb collection, featuring dramatic mushroom cloud-like cushioned necklines. For the Russian Doll show, the designers dressed model Maggie Rizer in 10 layers of clothes, merging fashion with performance art.
The majority of those pieces were sold to museums and institutions, paving the way for the duo to launch their women’s ready-to-wear collection in 2000, followed by a men’s line in 2003. In 2005, they catapulted into the big league with the launch of Flowerbomb, their first women’s fragrance, in collaboration with L’Oréal.
Three years later, Italian entrepreneur Renzo Rosso took a controlling stake in the label through his holding company OTB SpA, previously known as Only the Brave Srl, heralding a new stage in its development.
Despite this move into the mainstream, Viktor & Rolf maintained their reputation for unconventional catwalk presentations, many featuring live performances by actors and singers, including Tilda Swinton, Rufus Wainwright and Tori Amos.
Horsting noted that over the years, the designers continued to incorporate couture pieces into their rtw displays.
“At a certain point, we started to get the feeling that we would like to separate these messages more, because there was a feeling as if we were trying to communicate two messages in the same show, and for us it didn’t really work anymore,” he added.
He noted that in recent seasons, the label has refocused its rtw shows on solid commercial fare.
“The shows are, let’s say, a little bit more real. It’s just a little bit more about ready-to-wear, but next to that, for us, fashion is so much more than that, so we thought it was a great opportunity to start doing couture again to express the other side of fashion, you know: fashion as a laboratory,” he explained.
Reflecting this repositioning, Viktor & Rolf recently moved into a new showroom in a historic townhouse on the tony Avenue d’Iéna in Paris.
“Our strategy is really to present our brand as a luxury brand for the 21st century, so having this beautiful showroom is part of that, and also focusing ready-to-wear on ready-to-wear, and next to that having couture, is part of that strategy,” he said.
Though Horsting was reluctant to reveal anything further about the upcoming couture show, he said the creations would be for sale this time around. “When you turn 20, it’s like you’re almost an adult, so we feel a certain confidence that goes with that,” he noted.
On a recent visit to the U.S., the duo stopped off in Los Angeles, where they met celebrity stylists with a view to stepping up their red-carpet presence. Top of their wish list right now are Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain (the latter attended their rtw show in Paris in March).
“I think she’s gorgeous and really lovely,” Horsting said of Chastain. “She’s a redhead. We seem to love redheads.”
The designers are also hoping to open a store in Paris, though they have yet to zero in on a location.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews