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Viktor & Rolf
Type Private Company
Founded 1993
Headquarters Amsterdam, Netherlands
Key people Viktor Horsting & Rolf Snoeren (Co-founders and Partners) Renzo Rosso, Only the Brave, Partner
Industry Fashion
Products Apparel and Accessories
Website www.viktor-rolf.com

Viktor & Rolf is an Amsterdam-based fashion house. The company was founded in 1993 by designers Viktor Horsting (born 1969, Geldrop) and Rolf Snoeren (born 1969, Dongen). Known for their conceptual yet technically brilliant designs, the work of Viktor & Rolf is often described as a synthesis of fashion and art. From their play with scale, to their radical fashion presentations, for Viktor & Rolf fashion is a platform for artistic, technical and conceptual experimentation. Working within the fashion system and beyond, Viktor & Rolf are prolific in both content and commentary merging the two to create their iconic blend of surreal beauty.

Contents

History

Viktor Horsting (b.1969) & Rolf Snoeren (b.1969) met while studying fashion at the Arnhem Academy of Art and Design in The Netherlands.[1] They began working together upon graduation, relocating to Paris in 1993 to launch their careers. Their first collection 'Hyères' (1993) based on distortion, reconstruction and layering won three prizes at the Salon Europeen des Jeunes Stylistes at the Festival International de Mode et de Photographie. The subsequent presentation of four critically acclaimed collections in experimental art spaces affirmed their reputation as fashion artisans allowing them in 1998 to show their first Haute Couture collection (Spring/Summer 1998).

Focussing purely on couture, they stunned ever growing audiences with the extravagant and unorthodox nature of their designs, marketing their ascent into the realm of high fashion. Ever ambitious, Viktor & Rolf returned to ready-to-wear in 2000, with 'Stars and Stripes' (Autumn/Winter 2000-01). An instant commercial succes, the bold collection adopted the motif of the American flag to announce their global aspirations.

With the launch of the iconic wax seal in the same year, Viktor & Rolf had established themselves as a true brand. In response to Viktor & Rolf's own desire for classic clothing with a dash of wit, the menswear line 'Monsieur' was added in 2003 (Autumn/Winter), modelled entirely by Viktor & Rolf in a mirrored performance. The Viktor & Rolf range has since grown to include shoes, accessories and eyewear.

In addition to their own lines, Viktor & Rolf have collaborated with a number of other well know brands including Samsonite (2009) with whom they produced a luggage line, Shu Uemura (2008) for a range of couture false eyelashes, Piper Heidsieck (2007) for the iconic upside down bottle and most famously in 2006 the sell-out line for high street chain H&M which greatly extended their appeal to the general public. H&M.[2]

With the desire to expand, in 2008 Viktor & Rolf entered into a partnership with Italian clothing magnate Renzo Rosso of Only the Brave (OTB), allowing the company to develop new product ranges, extend distribution and open further boutiques. [3].

Philosophy and Style

Through fashion, commentary, and beyond, Viktor & Rolf continiue to deliver their characteristic form of extraordinary glamour. Their highly sculptural, conceptual glamour push the limits of fashion, affirming clothing aesthetic and intellectual value is as strong as any of the arts. Characteristics of their clothes include include exaggerated volumes and sculptural shapes, ribbons, bows and perfectly cut tuxedos. Prior collections have seen shirts with a ten fanned collar, upside down dresses and ensembles rigged with their own stage lighting. Harold Koda describes this opposition to the prevailing standards of beauty as having a “Dada-like sensibility to contemporary design”.(1) Indeed, Viktor & Rolf acknowledge “we will go very far to express ourselves properly”.(2)

While challenging forms are inherent in their work, Viktor & Rolf maintain the role as functional fashion designers. “We love fashion, we are a part of it, but we also think fashion can be much more than we all imagine. By questioning it from within, we try to search for its boundaries, and stretch them, as well as our own”.(3)

Fashion

Women’s wear collections

  • June 2009 - Main Collection S/S 2010, collection 25
  • March 2009 - Ready to wear A/W 2009, collection 24, Statues
  • January 2009 - Main collection F/W 2009, collection 23
  • October 2009 - Ready to wear S/S 2009, collection 22, Shalom
  • February 2008 - Ready to wear F/W 2008-09, collection 21, NO
  • October 2007 - Ready to wear S/S 2008, collection 20, Pierrot
  • February 2007 - Ready to wear F/W 2007-08, collection 19, The Fashion Show
  • January 2007 - Pre-collection F/W 2007-08, collection 18
  • October 2006 - Ready to wear S/S 2007, collection 17, Ballroom
  • July 2006 - Pre-collection S/S 2007, collection 16
  • March 2006 - Ready to Wear F/W 2006-07, collection 15, Silver
  • January 2006 - Pre-collection F/W 2006-07, collection 14
  • October 2005 - Ready to Wear S/S 2006, collection 13, Upside down
  • July 2005 - Pre-collection S/S 2006, collection 12
  • March 2005 - Ready to Wear F/W 2005-06, collection 1, Bedtime Story
  • October 2004 - Ready to Wear S/S 2005, collection 10, Flowerbomb
  • March 2004 - Ready to Wear F/W 2004-05, collection 9, The Hunt
  • October 2003 - Ready to Wear S/S 2004, collection 8, Red Shoes
  • March 2003 - Ready to Wear F/W 2003-04, collection 7, One Woman Show
  • October 2002 - Ready to Wear S/S 2003, collection 6, Flowers
  • March 2002 - Ready to Wear F/W 2002-03, collection 5, Bluescreen
  • October 2001 - Ready to Wear S/S 2002, collection 4, White
  • March 2001 - Ready to Wear F/W 2001-02, collection 3, Black Hole
  • October 2000 - Ready to Wear S/S 2001, collection 2, Tapdance
  • March 2000- Ready to Wear F/W 2000-01, collection 1, Stars and Stripes
  • April 1993 - Salon Européen des Jeunes Stylistes, Hyères, France


Men’s wear collections

  • June 2009 - S/S 2010, Main collection, Monsieur 14
  • January 2009 - A/W 2009 (Main collection) Monsieur 13
  • June 2008 - S/S 2009, Monsieur 12
  • January 2008 - F/W 2008-09, Monsieur 11
  • June 2007 - S/S 2008, Monsieur 10
  • January 2007 - F/W 2007-08, Monsieur 9
  • June 2006 - S/S 2007, Monsieur 8
  • January 2006 - F/W 2006-07, Monsieur 7
  • June 2005 - S/S 2006, Monsieur 6
  • January 2005 - F/W ’05-’06, Monsieur 5
  • June 2004 - S/S 2005, Monsieur 4
  • January 2004 - F/W 2004-05, Monsieur 3
  • June 2003 - S/S 2004, Monsieur 2
  • January 2003 - F/W 2003-04, Monsieur 1


Haute Couture collections

  • July 2000 Defile Haute Couture, Winter 2000-01, Bells
  • July 1999 Defile Haute Couture Winter, 1999-2000, Russian Doll
  • January 1999 Defile Haute Couture summer 1999, Blacklight
  • July 1998 Defile Haute Couture Winter 1998-99, Atomic Bomb
  • January 1998 Defile Haute Couture summer 1998, 1st Couture show

Fashion Presentations

Knowing the theatrical possibilities of the fashion show can act as the extension of a concept, Viktor & Rolf have not only embraced the format, but subverted it. Such radical examples include ‘Russian Doll’ (Autumn/Winter 1999-2000). Shown not sequentially but sculpturally, a lone model, Maggie Rizer , was positioned on a revolving platform to be dressed by the designers in nine garments, one on top of the other as a Russian doll in reverse. .[4]

Further presentations saw models act as blue-screens in ‘Long Live the Immaterial’ (Bluescreen) (Autumn/Winter 2002-03) a parade that used chroma-key techniques to project moving images onto the garments. .[5] Other collections such as ‘Atomic Bomb’ (Autumn/Winter 1998-99) and ‘Black Light’ (Spring/Summer 1999) have been presented twice. In both cases, models paraded the catwalk twice, first as a performative spectacle, and again to display the wearable collection.

Presentations have also featured several performers including Tilda Swinton on whom ‘One Woman Show’(Autumn/Winter 2003-04) was based, Tori Amos who performed in ‘Bedtime Story’ (Autumn/Winter 2005-06) and Rufus Wainwright who performed in ‘Ballroom’(Spring/Summer 2007). [6].

In 1993, Viktor & Rolf won the Festival d'Hyeres prize.[1]

In 1998, Viktor & Rolf put on an unauthorized, underground fashion show during Paris Fashion Week designed to attract members of the press.[1] Ready-to-wear and their menswear label "Monsieur" were to follow over the next five years.

In 2003, the Fashion Museum in Paris presented a 10-year retrospective of the designers' work.

In 2005 they opened their first shop in the Golden Quadrilateral (Quadrilatero d'Oro) in Milan (which closed in 2008), and were contracted by L'Oréal to develop their first perfume, called Flowerbomb.[7] In 2006, their first men's perfume, Antidote, was introduced in the US.


In 2008 an exhibition entitled "The House of Viktor & Rolf" [1] was presented at the Barbican Art Gallery[2], celebrating the duo's 15-year anniversary. Key pieces from 1992 to 2008 were remade as detailed miniatures and presented on hand-made porcelain dolls, in a large doll house.

In 2008, Viktor & Rolf announced that Renzo Rosso —owner of Diesel, chairman of Only the Brave (OTB)— had taken a controlling stake in their company [8]. Viktor & Rolf stated that this deal is meant to allow their company to put out a wider range of products and to open more stores.

Shows

Viktor & Rolf have gained attention for their artistic, concept-driven catwalk presentations. In a show called "Babushka" they dressed model Maggie Rizer in layer upon layer of couture dresses, piled on top of one another.[9] They have also used a collection of International Klein Blue clothes as a chroma-key blue-screen to project video.[10]In their Fall 2007 collection, each model wore scaffolding with her own lights and music, carrying their own fashion show as it were. For the presentation of their first menswear collection, they themselves modelled the clothes, changing outfits on the stage. Their collections have featured several performers, like Tilda Swinton, Tori Amos and Rufus Wainwright[11]. Another noteworthy, longtime cooperation is with internationally known photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, who made the photographs for all three of their fragrance campaigns.

Quotes

"For us, fashion is an antidote to reality."[12]

[Our fragrance Flowerbomb is] "all about the power of transformation. The power of every individual to turn anything into something positive."[13]

References

External links

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