In Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2015 Haute Couture collection, the two have demonstrated the value in taking time off to develop a craft. Like Jean-Paul Gaultier, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren decided to stop producing Ready-To-Wear (RTW) collections and instead (re)focus their efforts on haute couture.
And these designers have made valid choices.
Especially in a society sped up by technology, social media feeds, and continuous pursuit of the new, the fashion industry has never been more frenetic. The cyclical movement of the fashion industry seasons (forever changed by fast fashion) has created a schedule that has left the industry in an embittered struggle against rapid competition and the continual need to churn out new products.
“Too many clothes kills clothes… Fashion has changed. A proliferation of clothing. Eight collections per season — that’s 16 a year. The system doesn’t work…” -Jean Paul Gaultier discussing why he stopped RTW.
Everything has become a race. The imperative to produce more, accumulate more, and consume more demands brevity in designing and producing inventory. However, increased quantity does not always correlate with quality for some. Designers like Gaultier and Viktor & Rolf have had difficulty keeping up with this pace of overwhelming deadlines, mounting pressures, and increasing competition.
And with too much on your plate, sometimes you have to say no. You have to delve back into finding substance and doing what you do best.
Viktor & Rolf expressed their motivations for ending their RTW line in a similar manner like Gaultier,
“We feel a strong need to refocus on our artistic roots. We have always used fashion to communicate, it is our primary means of artistic expression. Ready-to-wear (with its fast pace, many deadlines and fierce competition) started to feel creatively restricting. By letting go of it, we gain more time and freedom”.
The duo displayed the efforts of their newly found time and freedom in “Wearable Art”— a collection that did not disappoint.
Set in the Palais de Tokyo, the show ended with the ensembles on the wall as art pieces. The two designers created a connection between couture and performance art by pulling the garment off a model and draping it onto the wall. The two mastered the art of deconstruction by bending silhouettes and dresses into paintings and triptychs.
With a beautiful show that had the fashion insiders buzzing, Viktor & Rolf demonstrate that we need to refocus on what’s important to us. We need to let go of something that is constraining in order for us to create a masterpiece that demonstrates our creativity and innovation. With this freedom, we will have more time to develop new concepts that people will be talking about long after the last model walks down the runway.