The prime definition of glamour as “an attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing” links it unquestionably to the world of couture. Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren considered another facet of the word and started an “investigation into the original meaning of the word — casting a spell,” Snoeren said.
They had, they said at a preview, wanted to work with Claudy Jongstra, a fellow Dutch artist who has embraced sustainability in her work. To create felt such as the one used as a cornerstone of this collection, she raises her own flock, shears their wool herself and then dyes them using only plant pigments taken from her organic garden — including the elusive “Burgundian black,” a medieval recipe that produces a deep black with red undertones, which she redeveloped. Talk about a process.
But there was no preaching message behind Horsting and Snoeren’s musing. Rather, they wanted to inspire action. As the general feeling of doom about the environment rises on all sides, the designers wanted to “show something that would give a positive message,” Horsting said. “To cast a positive spell that says things can be done,” Snoeren added.
To stay in the spirit of her work, the duo went to their own flock for materials — they’ve collected a hoard over the course of their career — for satins, jacquards and tweeds to use alongside the felt, in a pagan ode to nature.
Moons, stars, butterflies and birds — ever-returning symbols of nature’s resilience — featured throughout the collection. One patchworked dress that depicted the sun over a landscape, the gently rolling hills curling along the hem in green hand-dyed felt gave off a Van Gogh vibe. For the coat that opened the show, Jongstra felted wool and pieces of midnight blue satin together. The needle-punch technique was used on a dress in a gradient from light at the neckline to dark at the hemline. An abstract painting, Horsting offered, but it could have also been a creature captured mid-transformation.
Embroidery hoops left on the garments, as if the work was unfinished, created an inside-out petticoat effect. All the better to expose the pieces and structure. “We like to see the hard work,” Snoeren opined. Which brought back to the word craft and the idea of a secret, labor-intensive activity that produces a magical result — a fitting description of the kind of couture Horsting and Snoeren practice.