The Viktor & Rolf Couture spring/summer 2017 runway show was essentially a high fashion arts and crafts project. Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren began by deconstructing party dresses from across the decades, as early as the ‘40s. They took actual, pre-existing dresses that had been worn and damaged and turned them into new extravagant eveningwear pieces that might just catch the attention of some of Hollywood’s most fabulous thrift shoppers, like Sarah Jessica Parker.
This concept is similar to the Viktor & Rolf Couture fall 2016 collection from the label, when the duo created new clothes from materials that had been used in their past collections. So they’re actually bringing in the old and sending out the new in last season and this one.
Each dress used in the collection was spread out through a few different looks, which helped with cohesion while also stretching the usefulness of each garment. The smart thriftiness of this collection is self-evident, but according to Snoeren in an interview with Vogue, there was even more inspiration at play.
“All of the fragmented pieces can be put back together,” he said, referring to the pieces in relation to the Japanese practice of Kintsugi.
Kintsugi is the act of putting broken pottery back together without trying to mask the brokenness. This is often seen in the cracks and chips being a new, highlighted part of the piece that adds even more character to it. The same can definitely be said about the clothes in this collection.
This same concept is brought right into the making of the Viktor & Rolf Couture spring 2017 collection in the title itself, which is “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
This concept is beautiful, especially in relation to the pieced-together garments. The broken dreams form together as a pathway – if you know the popular song by the band Green Day, the lyrics even add an extra tone to the lineup.
Yet, the pieced-together garments end up being luxurious and extravagant.
All of the pieces had some sort of volume aspect to them, most of which came from tulle. Some garments embraced the full capacity of the tulle, like an up-shouldered white top paired with a pretty deconstructed look.
Others, on the other hand, were subtler in their trendiness, like a pale pink sari-inspired dress. The same tulle was used at the bottom, and it added volume without taking it to the extreme. Other subtler options were many of the pants in the line, which had great allusions to patchwork with sequins.
Extravagance wasn’t absent though. The runway show even ended with a handful of ball gowns.
Patches were sewn to some full tulle skirts, where a complete fabric panel may have once covered it completely. The first of the gowns, a black and pale pink one, had the bare-bones feel of a naked tulle skirt, which is actually quite beautiful in and of itself. The full, luxe skirt floats as it walks and is in perfect contrast to the black bodice. Now, add in while floral, black, gold, and yellow patches, and it becomes a truly unique gown, which is what Couture Fashion Week is really all about.
Now, in this uniqueness lies a problem. It’s actually a deceptively difficult process to get these pieces just right. The brand had even more difficulties putting the Viktor & Rolf Couture spring 2017 collection together than with their past season’s idea of reusing their old materials. “It was so spontaneous, it took us months to do,” Horsting said to Vogue.
Reconstruction and deconstruction are not new in the high fashion industry – in fact, deconstruction has been huge in the past year for many designers in their seasonal presentations – but this display brings back so many glamorous fashion moments of nearly a century and revamps them into something inherently wearable, especially for the upcoming awards season.
Furthermore, Viktor & Rolf are trying their hand at a see-now-buy-now model. Three of the designs that walked the runway were made immediately available for purchase from the brand’s website. That being said, it will take a brave soul to wear one of these over-the-top pieces. But, noting the meaning behind the clothes and taking the time to appreciate the subtleties that pop up from garment to garment will result in a true wow moment.
Photos courtesy of Vogue