Viktor & Rolf designed their Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2018 line as a “collection of memories”, calling it the Immaculate collection.
Paris’ Le Trianon theatre set the backdrop for the show, which took place on 4 July 2018 as part of Paris Haute Couture fashion week.
The designers selected 25 iconic fashion pieces from the past 25 years, and refreshed each garment to form an entirely white collection, bedecked with Swarovski crystals.
“An ode to 25 years, Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2018 is a collection of memories, an immaculate renewal of the vows which represent Viktor & Rolf’s longstanding union to fashion,” said the brand.
“The approach, a typical Viktor & Rolf antithesis speaks to the designer’s personal fascination with time: consciously cherishing the past, yet always looking forward and pushing the boundaries of transformation,” Viktor & Rolf added.
The show opened with a redesigned version of a garment from the duo’s Blacklight Spring collection in 1999. The statement piece features an oversized, ruffled neckpiece.
Following this was the well-known “no” trench coat, which the duo debuted in their 2008 Fall ready-to-wear collection.
“We love fashion, but it’s going so fast,” said Viktor & Rolf about the range. “We wanted to say ‘No’ this season.”
Just like the original coat, the refreshed garment features the word no emblazoned across the model’s chest. Unlike the original, which was made with a grey, felt-like material, the 2018 piece sees the 3D letters protrude from a stark white trench coat, outlined with Swarovski crystals.
A gown from the duo’s 2010 Cutting Edge Couture Spring/Summer show was also brought back for the Immaculate collection, recoloured in white instead of its original shade of vibrant coral.
A large hole was been tunnelled through the skirt of the bustier dress, and its outer edges appeared to have been hacked away. “With the credit crunch and everybody cutting back, we decided to cut tulle ball gowns,” said Snoeren at the time of the 2010 show.
The designers also revisited a more unconventional show from 2005, which saw a succession of models walk the catwalk with satin pillows and cushions attached to their heads to create the effect that they were lying flat when stood up.
The Bedtime Story collection was reimagined as a pure white buttoned garment, which is halfway between a headboard and a plush quilt, embellished with rows of small Swarovski crystals.
Other revisited designs included a Harlequin-patterned garment that concealed the model’s neck from the 1999 Russian Doll show, and a piece from their 2015 Wearable Art collection that integrates parts of broken picture frames into a gown.
The collection coincides with the Viktor&Rolf Fashion Artists 25 Years exhibition currently being held at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, which was created in collaboration with Canadian curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot.
The exhibition, which is open until 30 September 2018, is curated to act as a timeline, narrating Horsting and Snoeren’s body of work from the past quarter century.
Through a display of around 60 works from the duo’s Haute Couture collections, the exhibition aims to illustrate how their “wearable art” pushes the boundaries between art and fashion, and give an insight into their unconventional and conceptual design approach.
“The singular and enchanted vision found in Viktor & Rolf’s work offers a unique dialogue between art and fashion for the past 25 years,” said Loriot.
“Their art of performing fashion, their strong identity and silhouettes, and the timelessness of their creations never followed trends or rules of the industry: it shows how they pushed the boundaries with sincerity and authenticity to their creativity, savoir-faire and craftsmanship,” she continued.
“This collection… is not a nostalgic look back to their past, but a celebration of their future, a new beginning that shows how the strength of their style and their codes over the years are still relevant and belong to the History of fashion.”
More than 35 of the designers’ haute couture pieces also featured in an exhibition at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria back in 2016.
The exhibition saw pieces from the ready-to-wear collections displayed alongside installations and the label’s ongoing Dolls series – tiny handmade mannequins dressed in miniature versions of Viktor & Rolf’s looks.
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