Consuming images that have been filtered through screens and all manners of algorithms might lead one to believe six impossible things before breakfast, just like Lewis Carroll’s White Queen.
That’s certainly how Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren felt when they imagined their spring couture collection, whose starting point was seeing the world through our phones and the subsequent disconnect between images and the reality behind them.
Not only is there something very random in a juxtaposition that “goes from making cakes to war, climate [emergency] to holiday destinations,” as Snoeren put it, but it also habituates us “to seeing as possible [things that are] impossible,” explained Horsting before the show.
In their spring collection, they therefore looked at another disconnect: the cliché couture feeling of fashion history and the present day. This took the shape of an absurdist take on the stereotypes of couture gowns, all embroidered bodices and big skirts in lovely soft colors, to which “strange things happen,” they said.
Among those odd happenings: a dress that seemed to fly off the body; one that fell forward horizontally as if model and outfit had collided at a right angle; a third that was entirely upside-down and resting on the hips, and another still that stood two steps away from its wearer.
All impossibilities that “will end up as an image but [are] not just an image but also a real thing,” pointed out Horsting.
To bring them to life, the duo harnessed yet another opposing pair, couture’s needle and thread augmented by 3D printing, which was used to build the structures. Glimpses inside the gowns — and at the eminently normal first group — showed that beyond the acres of chiffon lies the very real technical mastery of the pair, that went from the tenets of classic couture to calculating how to precisely balance the dresses to make them, well, wearable so that models could glide elegantly around the room.
Seeing these Viktor & Rolf creations as mere products may be nigh on impossible, but seeing one of them on the likes of front row guest Doja Cat, sporting an improbable mustache, is a very real possibility.