The Haute Couture Collections

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Viktor & Rolf brought an intellectual approach to the fashion process via art. They pursued haute couture because they found it to be "the most sublime" aspect of fashion. With Dutch government support and the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands, as their sole client, Viktor & Rolf were able to develop creatively without the pressure of maintaining profitability that most young designers experience. In their second spring/summer 1998 collection at the Thaddeus Ropac Gallery in Paris, Viktor & Rolf created their signature "atomic bomb sil-houette"—exaggerated on top and pencil-skinny on the bottom. The clothes were dedicated to the millennium (fit either for the biggest celebration ever or apocalyptic destruction) and were deformed with silk balloons, streamers, and other brightly colored party elements. The Viktor & Rolf label was recognized by the Federation de la couture, the umbrella organization that oversees the Parisian haute couture houses and their events. This prestigious invitation for inclusion occurred even though Viktor & Rolf did not conform to the organization's rules and guidelines. Viktor & Rolf presented their entire fall/winter 1999-2000 collection on the shoulders of one model, Maggie Rizer. As she stood on a revolving platform, Viktor & Rolf layered, in nine successive stages a la Russian-doll style, precisely-engineered jute dresses decorated with Swarovski crystals. Through this mechanism they attempted to showcase their feelings about haute couture as a precious and unattainable jewel.

Viktor Rolf Haute Couture
A model poses in an outfit by Viktor and Rolf. Critical of the twentieth- and twenty-first century's fashion industry, Dutch designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren tackle the stereotypes of fashion. © Reuters/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.

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