Distracted by their smartphones, people barely clap at fashion shows anymore. Not the case chez Viktor & Rolf. Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren enlisted a group of percussion students to perform a clapping piece as the designers paraded a couture collection made entirely of red carpet, on a red carpet.
It was a wry, yet ultimately one-note commentary on the public’s — and fashion’s — obsession with celebrities. “A meditation on a cultural phenomenon,” Snoeren said during a preview.
He and Horsting are participants, too, having dressed the likes of Jessica Chastain and Natalie Portman for events, and not always in the standard-issue hourglass column. “It’s our idea of what the red carpet should be,” Snoeren said of the 22-look collection.
The designers sourced synthetic, low-pile carpet at a factory in Holland, and in lieu of the usual rigid backing, they used a technical mesh. Then they wrapped, knotted and draped the carpet into minidresses, cocooning capes and off-the-shoulder coats.
Minus the jutting bows, many of the pieces had a just-out-of-the-bath look. The more pliable mesh made more plausible and less bulky garments, including nicely draped one-shoulder dresses. These were embroidered with small tufts of carpet arranged in spots approximating wild cats. “We like the idea of animal prints because it’s so primal glamour,” Snoeren noted.
Horsting and Snoeren also unveiled their latest collaboration with Atelier Swarovski, including bangles and rings with most of the crystals covered in light-absorbing flocking. As Horsting put it: “Making something brilliant, not brilliant.”