Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have seen their fair share of ups and downs since entering the fashion scene in 1993. They have been ridiculed as jokesters (see the ironic release of Viktor & Rolf Le Parfum in 1996, a “virtual” scent that came in an impenetrable bottle), and praised as innovators who take “fashion as art” to new levels of postmodern meaning. Over time, Viktor & Rolf have adapted to fashion’s fickle feedback, abandoning their existential couture collections in favor of accessible ready-to-wear. Yet, the duo remain fashion’s most adept prestidigitators, who found a way to make their trademark trompe l’oeil accessible to the masses.
Under a set of erected street lamps and to the smooth, hypnotizing sound of a street busker, the designers presented their Fall/Winter 2014 collection. They proved their understanding of fashion’s current mood, showing relaxed silhouettes, deconstructed menswear, and cozy knits. Yet, for this collection’s commercial appeal, there is a conceit at work, at type of abstract complexity that underlies the simplicity of the looks. The simple draped jersey dress that opened the show is proof of this conceit: the right shoulder sports an added wing that interrupts the smooth line of the sleeve. Ankle-length tunics feature cutouts that arch up to the waist, a jumpsuit finds odd companionship with sheer and corset paneling, and a faux bustier trim hugs the bodice of a baby-blue peplum top. These are minor tweaks in comparison to some of their later looks, like one that showed a slim single-button blazer Frankenstein’d together with bulky knit sleeves. These are unusual, off-key additions to daywear, as if Viktor & Rolf can’t help but remind us whom we’re dealing with.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway