Rag-rug stitching, buttons, embroidery, and explosions of tulle – Viktor & Rolf boldly recycled outfits from former collections into a dizzying melange of retro-futuristic “Dickensian vagabond” and “surplus-plus-plus.”
Haute couture is inherently a push-and-pull of old and new: old techniques, new materials; old maison, new designer; old silhouettes, new interpretations. Today, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren transformed their old collections into dramatic new clothes. This wasn’t an ordinary exercise in upcycling, nor a trip down memory lane. Rather, it relied on varying proportions of everyday base layers handwoven with leftover fabrics, boosted with swirling tulle volumes and embellished with heaps of hardware and buttons. Essentially, the designers performed a wondrous feat of conflating rag rugs with riches. Looks that grew from old army jackets and vintage jeans could be described as surplus-plus-plus.
Given the haute context—and the Viktor & Rolf track record—it’s unclear whether satire could be found underneath all those undulations of tonal tulle, or whether their intention was purely earnest. Either way, most of the looks were relatively wearable because, as Horsting pointed out, “The references are clothing references,” (as opposed to paintings or sculptures), and “the shapes are still there.” And if nothing more, the duo confirmed that this KonMari-style purge was beneficial for both storage and soul. “It feels good, like a new start,” Snoeren maintained, denying any nostalgia. “You look at the past in a neutral way. Everything becomes equal in this new texture.”