Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren didn’t think of it themselves, but their perfume “Flowerbomb” instantly came to mind, as we saw the physical iteration of flowers on the runway. The flowers grew from Dutch textiles company Vlisco – their wax fabric was made into giant babydoll dresses and stiffened with smocking, ruffles and petticoats. The lullaby from Rosemary’s Baby accompanied the walking sculptures, as the floral prints were brought to life in the form of cut-outs, which seemed to lift off the fabric. Even the outline of the flowers came away. Innocent straw hats grew in weight and scale, as huge bunches of wheat sheafs and woven straw flowers became entangled with the flowers blooming from the dresses. We’ve seen a return to nature’s good and great this week at haute couture, but here, Viktor & Rolf let the garden grow wild.
What we look at as African textiles in fact originate from an unexpected journey – beginning with the colonisation of Indonesia by the Dutch, who in the mid 19th century came up with a way to incorporate Javanese batik technique into textiles. These fabrics were then exported to West Africa, where a love and penchant for “real Dutch wax” has existed ever since. Whether in Accra, Ghana or Dalston, London, these fabrics have become our own projected symbols of “Africanness”. Viktor & Rolf underlined the Dutch connection once again with their collaboration with Vlisco.
Works of art:
“I put my heart and soul in my work and have lost my mind in the process.” This Vincent van Gogh quote is pertinent, as Snoeren and Horsting looked to the wild brushstrokes of his Wheat Fields series, where the artist pondered spirituality and his connection to nature. In the collection, those brush strokes manifested as madcap feats of millinery. But overall, the duo mired themselves in an exercise of art that isn’t purposefully out to find a “customer”. They use haute couture as a pure form of expression in comparison to their ready-to-wear, and if it’s purely for artistic endeavour, then so be it. Already, an art collector Han Nefkens has bought three of the dresses and they will be donated to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.