Embrace “Change”: Viktor&Rolf A/W 2020 Haute Couture Presentation

Embrace “Change”: Viktor&Rolf A/W 2020 Haute Couture Presentation

Viktor&Rolf, the designer duo known for their dramatic aesthetics, released their A/W 2020 haute couture capsule collection via a short video clip on July 8th. This collection, titled “Change”, consists of three wardrobes with nine outfits total. Each wardrobe is inspired by a different mindset triggered by the incidents in 2020. Although it’s almost been a month since the release of the collection, “Change” is still highly admired by both loyal customers and fashion critics.

The wardrobes are all compromised of only a negligee, dressing gown and coat, typical garments ordinary people wore during quarantine at home or going out. The first wardrobe embodies a somber mood, a feeling of sadness and anger that most people felt at the beginning of the pandemic. Represented by a color palette of navy, warm and cool greys. The rain cloud motif is made of several delicate laces encrusted together, indicating a gloom in the air. The coats still followed Viktor&Rolf’s use of dramatic volumns in their previous presentations, however the concept of social distancing gives the designs new relevence. The PVC spikes on the coat communicates that there is a lot to feel angry about, also guarantees that “you will remain in your own safe zone while venturing out into the world.”.

Part I: Anxiety. The rainclouds on the negligee are made of different laces encrusted on the skirt. Photographed by Tomek Dersu Aaron.

The second group of outfits signals the conflicting emotions we experience. In the society today, social media’s perplexing hypnosis puts our stability at risk, luring us from the banal to plain horror and back again. Pink and canary yellow are used as primary colors for the garments, people usually perceive them as colors of femininity and joy. Viktor&Rolf destroys this harmony with the use of asymmetrical silhouettes, contradictory emojis, a row of gradually growing bows and maximalist glittery pleather accents to emphasize confusion and chaos.

Part II: Confusion. Viktor&Rolf’s signature bows are present on the dressing gown. Asymmetry is used to show as much chaos as possible. Photographed by Tomek Dersu Aaron.

Finally, the last three garments radiate love for “Change”. Think white satin, large quilted bows, a halo of multi-colored hearts. The lace encrustations are used in an opposite effect as before. With heart shaped motifs being widely used in this wardrobe, quarantine never felt so sweet. Change is necessary. Melancholy eventually becomes serenity, doom and gloom transitions to a mixed sensation then resolves in love.

Part III: Love. Heart motifs are heavily used to emphasize “love”.  Photographed by Tomek Dersu Aaron.

I watched the presentation video a couple of times and my keyword to define it is ‘mesmerizing’. Aside from the soothing orchestral music in the background, a narrative gives every garment an explanation, directing us to details we might overlook. Compared to traditional haute couture shows, Viktor&Rolf greatly decreased the number of outfits in the collection to eliminate unnecessary costs and let viewers focus on the concepts and emotions behind the collection, which creates an intimate experience.

“If only we could change ourselves as easily as we do our outfits, who wouldn’t choose love? Because love conquers all.” Is a beautiful quote in the video’s narrative which in my opinion perfectly sums up “Change”. During the pandemic when fashion is forced to slow down, Viktor&Rolf takes advantage of the situation to create a collection full of imagination and optimism that requires the audience to sit back, relax and take time to enjoy.





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