Viktor & Rolf is now officially the couture-only venture announced Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren on Tuesday morning. The Dutch duo who have founded the brand over two decades ago decided to focus solely on high fashion "to gain more time and (creative) freedom."
It really is a very interesting turn of events to see yet another house concentrating on unique and hand-made rather than ready-to-wear collections giving couture more credibility and a a new lease of life - a sign that, despite numerous journalistic remarks of "couture being dead", it's very much here and in demand, thank you very much.
Yes, the demand will certainly be limited in numbers for there are only selected few who can really buy hand-made garments costing anything between £25000 and £250000 (feel free to correct me) just as regularly as most of us would go about purchasing a cartoon of milk, but the fact is that couture is not about the profit margins and has been this way for years.
Since the 1950s the financial success of any successful maison was not really measured by how many dresses were ordered, but the sales of the fragrances that generated fast and solid profits: the Chanel case may be a good and tired example to use, but the fact is that the No. 5 that costs around £75 sells every 30 seconds.
Did Viktor and Rolf think of leaving ready-to-wear world when creating their sensational Flowerbomb? Maybe not, but they certainly got their own fragrance and accompanying line to rely on. As well as the beautiful Fairy Tales book that would make a wonderful addition to any library.
Some journalists have already mentioned the pressure the designers are about to face, but frankly, I think that the only real pressure is the one generated by the press constantly looking for sensations and scandal and, apart from the selected few, is not really there to talk about the wearable beauty of ready-to-wear or the understanding of couture and what it takes to send it down the runway.
From where I stand it seems that Horsting and Snoeren, as well as Gaultier (and Alaia) found their happy place where they can "do what they love, love what they do" and be welcomed and appreciated by people who adore their work. Pressure? The pressure ends when the creativity is released and allowed to reign in its glory - isn't it the ultimate idea of fulfilment? The journey to happiness is about to begin...
Photo source: Viktor & Rolf Spring 2006, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren at Viktor & Rolf Fall/Winter 2008, Magdalena Frakowiak wearing Viktor&Rolf in Dazed & Confused February 2010 (photography: Josh Olins, styling: Katie Shillingford), Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren at Viktor & Rolf Fall/Winter 2014 via stylebistro.com