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Not only did Viktor & Rolf say “I do” to a hookup with Hennes & Mauritz, they designed a wedding dress for the occasion.
Taking fast fashion down the aisle into a new frontier, the Dutch design wizards created a silk-and-tulle bridal gown that will retail for 298 euros, or $378, when the one-time Viktor & Rolf for H&M collection hits 250 H&M stores on Nov. 9.
“We kind of have a fetish for wedding dresses,” confessed Rolf Snoeren who, with Viktor Horsting, designs one of the most conceptual labels in fashion. “You can’t imagine a piece of clothing that is more exclusive or symbolic.”
In 2004, the duo famously outfitted the wedding party for the televised nuptials of Dutch Prince Johan Friso to Mabel Wisse Smit, the bride in a duchesse satin gown festooned with more than 250 bows and trailing a 10-foot train.
Divulging details about their H&M collaboration exclusively to WWD, Snoeren said the collection sprang from the prospect of their short-lived marriage with the Swedish fashion giant, which in the past has engaged Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney as temporary guest designers.
“All the women’s clothes have hearts, and all the men’s clothes have arrows,” Snoeren said, explaining the love symbols on garments, including a heart-shaped belt buckle, arrows printed on a necktie and prints on jeans. “We really wanted to have a full wardrobe.”
Indeed, the collection spans everything from shoes to underwear, with women’s sweatshirts priced at 39.90 euros, or $51; trenchcoats priced at 99 euros, or $125; tuxedo blazers at 79.90 euros, or $101, and jeans at 59.90 euros, or $76. Men’s items include brogue shoes at 99 euros, or $125, and a tuxedo at 149 euros, or $189.
Advertising to promote the venture, including a television commercial and print ads, also conveys the marriage theme, with model Raquel Zimmermann cast as the bride and Snoeren and Horsting as the two grooms. Lensed by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, the print campaign shows the trio posed like a wedding-cake topper.
The advertising blitz — including billboards and Internet elements — is slated to run in October and November in 24 international markets. Snoeren was mum on details about the TV spots, only saying that he speaks just one line. “I think it will be a fun little commercial,” he said.
This story first appeared in the September 28, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Window displays will echo the marriage theme — with the gown as the centerpiece. Only 1,000 dresses will be sold, each bearing a number of the limited edition and allocated to select locations. “We wanted it to be only 99 euros,” Snoeren noted, “but of course, that’s not possible.”
Still, the collaboration will bring the V&R sensibility to its widest audience yet, fulfilling a longtime ambition of the designers, who launched their fashion label in 1993 with art-based installations and atomic-bomb-inspired couture, ultimately adding ready-to-wear and fragrances with fragrance partner L’Oréal.
“It’s good to share your vision with a bigger public,” said Snoeren. “What Viktor and I do is to show that you can be very creative and be very commercial at the same time.”
He described the H&M project as “a fun and light thing” — up to and including the fact that “you know there’s a divorce.”
V&R and H&M plan to unveil the complete collection at a launch event in Los Angeles on Oct. 27. In the meantime, the duo is slated to show their signature collection on Oct. 2 during Paris Fashion Week.