Viktor & Rolf’s Meta-Fashion for 2010
Viktor & Rolf have made it to the top of my list of watched designers since my late introduction to the aesthetics of identity through fashion. Many designers since the 1990’s, V&R among them, should rightfully be called theorists practicing in visual media.
This season, V&R blew my mind. Their show became simultaneously the literal creation of and an allegory of fashion. It was constructed around the idea of one central model wearing the entire collection on her body, which Viktor and Rolf would unwrap a layer at a time, and use to dress a new model on the runway. We could see the process of creating and outfitting that is often kept beneath the glossed surface, so that we can see the labor of it. We also understand that this can be read as an allegory of the work of a fashion designer as one who creates a clothed subject. We witness the unravelling of an identity (if you think of clothes as constructing the self), then the the re-construction of these layers, given a new identity when applied to a new figure. The layering, the interchangeability, the exchange of what is interior/exterior, the dismantling of a heirarchy and order to clothes (underthings on bottom, outerwear on top)–these make me think of linkages, multiplicity, and Deleuze.
It helped that Kristen McMenamy, a 90’s supermodel, was the central icon bearing the entire collection. There was a sense of regenerative continuity that is so central to the flows of fashion.
And the clothes in themselves are technical genius. Drawstrings might be the new iteration of draping and of sculpting negative space.