Viktor & Rolf Couture

Viktor & Rolf will soon be celebrating a new flagship in Paris. Not that you’d know it if from their mournful couture show. Not so much mournful as mindful, certainly the already-quiet Dutch duo’s most solemn collection to date.

First, the designers themselves emerged, in all black, and meditated on the stage for a good few minutes. Then models began to appear — again, in all black. Twenty of them slowly filed in, sitting and lying down together on little cushions so that their lumpy, padded garments took the shape of large rocks and a thistle-like black material on later dresses resembled grass. Carefully covering whatever bits of flesh were visible, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren were, in their uniquely conceptual way, recreating a Japanese Zen garden. The Ryōan-ji temple in Kyoto, to be exact. 

At the show’s conclusion, the two designers then bowed to each other, like the respectful gents they are. This collection marked thirteen years since their last landmark couture show and twenty years since starting the company. Naturally, they have a lot to reflect on.

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