No one in fashion would argue with the fact that designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren’s are some serious fashion showmen. But they are also savvy businessmen- more on that later.
First, let’s talk about the showmanship of their latest couture collection, only their second since they returned to the discipline after a thirteen year hiatus. It all started with the shoes- make that toe shoes- which were the only thing the audience could see at the start of the designer duo’s presentation. A lineup of ballerina feet going through the motions of the five basic positions of ballet in perfect synchronicity. It made for a sweet and yet slightly strange start to the show. Which is pretty much how someone could describe the Viktor&Rolf aesthetic.
Then one by one each Dutch National Ballet corps dancer appeared en pointe, balancing their slender frames on the tips of their fully extended feet as they crisscrossed across the stage. Their faces covered in clouds of hair resembling that of Myrtle Snow on American Horror Story-Coven and their skin tight ballet costumes in familiar nude and blush pink shades. But this being a Viktor&Rolf show those body hugging ensembles were crafted out of Latex, not Lycra. Instantly transforming every asymmetrical handkerchief hemmed skirt or wrap front jacket into something slightly naughty.
This sugar and spice dichotomy was also played out in the tattoo-like illustrations of birds, ribbons, ruffles and bows that embellished the Latex. Sometimes as simple as creating a faux pleated effect on the bodice or a bow about the neck. It was more cleverly used in the instances when the designers placed a bird (think Cinderella’s little helpers) at strategic points on the outfits where the material gathered into gentile folds. Creating the illusion the birds had plucked up the fabric in their beaks to kept it out of the way of the dancer’s prancing feet.
It was only after the designer’s had taken their bow that the businessman side to the duo indelicately appeared. A massive photo of the first campaign for the brand’s latest women’s perfume- Bonbon- unfurled in front of the cameras. Shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin it depicted a naked model covered in painted-on pink ribbons with a strategically placed bottle of the ribbon shaped perfume sitting in her lap. Message received. But the commercialism of this move inevitably tainted this creative collection.