Viktor & Rolf haven’t showed a haute couture show in over a decade and it’s well-timed for the label’s 20th anniversary as well as a deeper separation between their more commercially-led ready to wear and the concept hi-jinks, for which Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are well-known. We were sat in a black box of a room with a sparse Japanese garden taking centre stage, complete with white gravel drawn with lines that look like topographic maps and intriguing black boxes dotted about. Horsting and Snoeren entered the garden and sat opposite each other, knees crossed and eyes closed in a meditative state. Cue awkward silence as we contemplated the pair in their contemplation. Then, one by one, a model emerged all dressed in the same black neoprene-esque fabric, which were made up into robe noirs – ruched, draped, zippered at different points with magnetic closures creating morphing garments. The only stray embellishment would be the miniature piping made to look like grass to go into this stark garden. They circled the room and then Horsting and Snoeren proceeded to "arrange" each girl into certain positions around the boxes, pulling the hems of the dresses and adjusting their body positions so that collectively as a group they would form the living and breathing rocks in the garden. So deceptive was the initial form of some of the dresses that once unfurled, they became tent-like structures covering not one but two bodies in fetal position. In the end, once all twenty outfits were revealed, it created one tableau vivant of zen. It was a rigorous exercise in innovative pattern cutting presented in a purist manner that was fitting for Snoeren and Horst’s current reflective state of being.
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