PARIS — Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren just moved into sprawling new headquarters in Amsterdam, so large that everyone gets their own office — except the men whose initials are above the door in the form of a gold seal 7 feet in diameter.
“We of course share one office,” quipped Snoeren with a knowing chuckle, given their reputation as the Gilbert and George of fashion. “It’s the biggest room in the building.”
The swanky digs, in a heritage 1903 building by the same architect who did the Stedelijk Museum, are emblematic of their growing business. In an interview here Monday, the Dutch duo disclosed a number of initiatives, including:
Opening the first flagship Viktor & Rolf unit on Milan’s Via Sant’Andrea in April.
New licensing agreements with two Italian firms: Iris for footwear and Mantero for underwear, silk scarves and neckties.
Adding pre-collections, effective this season, to grow ready-to-wear sales.
Establishing a custom-order business to dress such celebrity devotees as Gwen Stefani, Mischa Barton and Ellen DeGeneres.
What’s more, Snoeren said he and Horsting are now ready to do even more. “There is space to tackle other subjects and labels,” Snoeren said. “Until now, we were not open to it. At a certain moment, you realize the more you do, the easier it gets.”
Even if there are no offers on the table from major luxury brands to take over their design reins, Viktor and Rolf have plenty to keep them occupied in the coming months — including a slew of personal appearances in support of Flowerbomb, their first perfume with L’Oréal, rolling out this spring, and the Milan boutique.
For the latter project, and the headquarters, the designers were obliged to look within themselves and discover their taste in interiors.
“We noticed it was very classic,” Snoeren deadpanned.
The 6,500-square-foot headquarters, with a style Horsting described as a mix of “weird Art Nouveau and English country,” was largely left intact with its extensive and intricate wood paneling and ceilings. The pair has come a long way from their first digs, which were not much larger than a studio apartment with a makeshift plywood worktable.As for the 1,000-square-foot boutique, in a space previously occupied by Marni and Helmut Lang, Snoeren was more cryptic about its gray and white decor, which will have a conceptual bent, much like their collections.
“Classic, but twisted,” Snoeren offered, eager not to diminish the surprise factor. “Let’s just say we were looking for a different perspective at an interior.”
Horsting characterized the forthcoming boutique, which will house the complete Viktor & Rolf offering, including men’s wear, as a tool for “having direct contact with how the collection is performing and reacting to that.”
For all their notoriety, as the masterminds of some of the most theatrical fashion shows in Paris, the Viktor & Rolf business remains relatively small. The collection, produced and distributed by Italy’s Gibò, generates about $9 million at wholesale via about 130 accounts.
But Gibò president Franco Penè said the business is “progressing well,” particularly in Europe and Asia.
Showmanship aside, the designers are clearly interested in commercial success. That shoes created by their in-house accessories designer Fredie Stevens got sundry editorial credits, but scarcely sold, is a sore point, which the license with Iris should remedy. The first complete collection is for fall.
A recent tour of Mantero’s facilities in Como revealed capabilities to do underwear, upon which Snoeren and Horsting seized, in addition to the ties and scarves. “We really wanted to do things in silk,” Snoeren said, noting that a women’s line will debut first at retail in spring 2006, followed by men’s one season later.
A global eyewear license is also in the works. To date, Viktor & Rolf only has one for Japan with Murai.
Meanwhile, advertising for Flowerbomb is hitting women’s fashion magazines, which the designers said will help raise their profile.
They acknowledge the U.S. is still a weak link in their business, but that could change this fall. “Colors,” a Viktor & Rolf-curated exhibition that attracted some 350,000 visitors in Tokyo, takes up residence in December at the Cooper-Hewitt design museum in New York.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)