Through the Eyes of Viktor & Rolf



Four eyes, one vision.

Between them, they say, there have always been words. And with time, words have become almost imperceptible, as though mutual understanding has become an unmarked path. This year marks the 30th anniversary of their brand. What will their birthday cake look like? A slightly slanted cake?  Probably not. One by one, Viktor and Rolf foil all the traps: those of the retrospective, those of the celebration, and those of haute couture, whose heritage they are defending precisely by twisting it. By attacking its stereotypes, they are right, where three decades could have led them to a more academic approach.

With a keen eye, they play with and divert the technique of these hand-sewn dresses in the great tradition of the bustier, the petticoat, the corset, and what they call, “the lovely colours.” To them, this is “conceptual glamour,” a way of pushing all the clichés, as well as the dresses, into the multidimensional world of the mind. “Upside down,” they say, at once smiling and phlegmatic. These bodies crossed by other bodies, this “gown” put on backwards; this disconcerting meta-lesson, meta-demonstration.

A lesson that comes through an uncompromising perception. Where so many diligent students get their feet caught in flawless execution, they make a point of honour to look up to the sky, their hands firmly on the wheel. As if to reiterate with Sartre that the absurd “is the impossible.” But also: “It is contradictory.”