Art + Fashion: Viktor And Rolf Spring 2010.

Rihanna, Katie Perry and a few other adventurous celebrities were catapulted to the top of innumerable “worst dressed” lists and criticized by thousands of fashionista bloggers after they wore creations from Viktor and Rolf’s Spring 2010 Collection. And while I can’t disagree with some of the criticism (really, who could concentrate on Katie’s MTV Europe awards performance when wondering why her dress looked like a chunk of swiss cheese?), I thought the entire collection was kind of fantastic.

 I deeply admire Victor and Rolf’s creativity and absolutely LOVE the fact that they sent these ludicrous creations down the runway. There are many reasons why I believe that these creations have crossed the fine line between fashion and art, and have their  place in a museum or gallery next to contemporary artist’s works. And I’m not talking about them belonging in one of those fashion exhibits, but real hard-core conceptual art that makes the commoners yell “WHAT the FUCK is that???”.

One can’t disassociate the art production from the social context. When asked about the Swiss Emmental dress (sorry I can’t help myself) the designers stated that “With the credit crunch and everybody cutting back, we decided to cut tulle ball gowns,” ( I thought it was clever of them to comment on people’s “cutting back”. Because let’s face it, if people are going to be cutting back on something, it’s going to be luxuries like couture fashion. I love a hint of Irony.

My claim that these creations are art is based on more than just this astute commentary about the current social and economical climate and consumer attitude. I simply love an artist that challenges the very nature of a medium, and that’s what happened here. One usually associates spring/summer collections with soft, feminine silhouettes and fluid materials. And while part of the collection embodies these ideals, the most noticeable pieces were the ones that completely ruptured with these expectations. The models came stomping down the runway wearing what appeared to be solid masses made out of net-tulle ruffles. This unconventional use of the material gave us a taste of the unusual and completely challenges our expectations of what fabrics should look like when they are worn.

I believe Viktor and Rolf were able to create pieces that challenged one’s perception of the space that clothes are supposed to create around the body. We expect clothes to unite with the body, compliment it, move with it and create a unified space around it. Here, the masses refuse to surrender to the body’s shape or movements, conflicting with it in every way.

The designers pushed the envelope even further with they’re “credit crunch” dresses. Clothes have been naturalized by society as being part or a continuation of the human body and that’s why these dresses create such an unsettling optical illusion, they seem unnatural.

In my esteem, these pieces are artworks because they explore alternate possibilities that a traditional medium can offer as well as challenging the viewer’s expectations of what clothes should do around the human body. And they did so all while being part of an absolutely breathtaking fashion show.

Before I end this post I would like to point out that the color palette in this collection is beautiful and that it’s time to remember how flattering pastels can be! I would wear some of the lingerie inspired pieces in a heartbeat! But I’ll let you discover those by watching the entire show on the Viktor and Rolf website….

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