Blurring The Line Between Fashion & Art – Viktor & Rolf FW15 Couture
I was once told that a fashion designer is not an artist. An artist has a canvas with myriad of possibilities while a fashion designer has a fabric with heaps of restrictions. An artist’s expression of his/her creative realm can decorate a wall or an empty space, but a fashion designer’s creativity is adorned by flesh and bones. It’s the term functionality that clearly demarcates design from art. So, can fashion qualify as a form of art? Few fashion designers think so. They are the same designers who constantly push boundaries and supply infinite source of inspiration to entire fashion industry. Fashion designers Viktor & Rolf are one such pioneer who consistently combined their garment construction skills with absurd ideas to produce undeniable artistic forms. Viktor & Rolf are the kind of designers who manage to churn out myriad of possibilities within the given restrictions.
For Couture AW15 show, fashion designers Viktor & Rolf transformed broken picture frames of fabric into haute-couture gowns by taking them off a wall and draping them over models. The designers once again dealt with the existential question – is fashion a form of art? It’s a question they’ve relentlessly tried to answer with garments that are often unique pieces of art. The visuals of voluminous layers of gentle chiffon ruffles which were cut, slit and sliced into couture worthy garments from Viktor & Rolf RTW SS10 are still fresh in my memory. Of course, couture is where Viktor & Rolf belong and they rightfully announced earlier this year to cease their RTW line to direct everything towards haute couture line.
Viktor & Rolf duo unswervingly dealt with art by taking cue from the expressive landscapes of artist Vincent Van Gough for their SS15 couture line. For AW15, the translation got even more literal when they reconfigured the gilded frames of “paintings” onto models in front of live audience. The frames contributed to exaggerated hemlines on denim dresses featuring paint splatter motifs. As the show progressed, fabrics featured Dutch Golden Age paintings of the 17th century with raw and spontaneous splatter patterns. The show had plenty of action, on the garments and the ramp. According to Viktor & Rolf’s show notes, “a dress transforms into an artwork, back into a dress and into an artwork again. Poetry becomes reality, morphing back into fantasy.”
We live in a world where most people grasp what’s definite but then there are a few who by nature deal with the indefinite. Is fashion a form of art? Or fashion can be a form of art? There is no definite answer.
IMAGES FROM VIKTOR & ROLF FW15 COUTURE