Viktor & Rolf have undeniably succeeded in stunning the fashion crowd once again, with ‘Wearable Art’, their latest Couture collection that combines Baroque tradition and action painting. While building upon the theme of Couture as Art and likening the role of a dressmaker to that of a painter and sculptor, the Dutch duo staged the ‘artist at work’.
The opening looks thus featured models with nude makeup and carefully combed ponytails, clothed in dresses, skirts and jackets made of blank canvases, all worn over comfortable denim tunics with rolled up sleeves and faux splotches of paint, paired with black ‘working shoes’. As the collection progressed and the works were ‘molded into shape’, white canvases were twisted, crumpled or folded and seemingly random splashes of colour appeared.
Heritage references took the form of distorted three-dimensional gold frames that extended beyond the dresses and Dutch classic painting prints that ‘spilled’ all over the fabric, as the works neared completion.
Viktor & Rolf’s exceptional artistry has stirred the interest of various art collectors, such as Han Nefkens who regularly acquires their works and donates them to institutions like the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, for instance.
For his debut collection at Schiaparelli, Bertrand Guyon, who previously worked at Valentino, Givenchy and Alexander McQueen, among others, presented a discreetly retro collection of brocade pantsuits and dresses, ankle-length flared skirts, bowties, geometrical 20’s jackets, trompe-l’oeil prints and Art Deco motifs like the eye or the sun, several floor-scraping black velvet or Shocking Pink evening gowns, Surrealist brooches and headpieces, as well as a splendid satin gown dripping in gold.
Jean Paul Gaultier turned to his iconic nautical theme and to his love of travel for this Brittany-inspired collection. Gaultier toyed with naval officer uniforms, sailor’s trousers with bridge, Captain’s jackets with large buttons and golden braids, his signature blue and white stripes, marine hats, and calf length boots, all mingled with elements of Breton folklore like clogs, striped tights, Bigouden headdresses, apron skirts and traditional embroidery on silk dresses.
As for Franck Sorbier, the Couturier’s collection was dedicated to the art of ballet, as gracious dancers presented a series of all white evanescent lace, tulle, and silk dresses for a scene that seemed to be borrowed from an exquisite Edgar Degas painting.
Gold dust seemed to have been scattered over Elie Saab’s signature fairy tale princess gowns this season, as his luxurious embroidery took an antique turn. The unexpected hints of fur, Baroque roses and lace did indeed embellish the grand soir gowns that Saab is best known for.
Last but not least, Stéphane Rolland remained faithful to his architectural tailoring with goddess-like sculpted golden busts, necklace-collars, jewel belt buckles and sensual mermaid gowns. This season, his penchant for modern art took the form of a Pop Art-inspired grass green jumpsuit and several geometrical 70’s inspired motifs in earthly colours as well as a spectacular golden plaited skirt in the shape of the Eiffel Tower!