Referencing period dress with ruffs and leg-of-mutton sleeves supersized up to eye level, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren unleashed a rainbow parade of tulle gowns — some supersized to extreme proportions. Each was fronted with a slogan or one-liner inspired by Instagram captions and souvenir T-shirts. (These included “Get mean,” “Whatever” and “Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come.”)
“It’s the kind of message you find on social media, with the same instant feeling,” Snoeren noted during a preview of the collection, adding that the aim was to create a “strange contradiction.”
“All these statements that are so obvious or easy — there’s a lot of banality on Instagram and social media in general — are counterbalanced with this over-the-top, shimmery, romantic feeling,” he added.
The conceptual designers, who have experimented with working with one material before, relished the technical challenge of taming tulle — 8 kilometers’ worth — to create ruffles, intricate pleats and the like, with the entire collection executed in the unyielding material. The models sported extra-long Victorian-inspired tresses.
On the labor-intensive creations, all of the artworks — from a transfer-style eagle motif marked “Freedom” to a patterned ban-the-bomb symbol marked “Peace” on a fluorescent pink dress — were laser cut in layers of tulle, encrusted on the garments and then appliquéd. Among other witticisms, the message on a gargantuan white tulle gown read, “I’m not shy, I just don’t like you,” in a graded black font growing from small to big.
With a number of designers exploring the toxic impact of the Internet on society, including Demna Gvasalia at Vetements, the impetus here, the designers said, came more from a sense of intrigue. Just like the material, there was nothing heavy in the messaging.
“Fascination without condemning; it’s just the world we live in,” said Horsting, with Snoeren adding: “It’s our way of dealing with it.”