Redefining Recycling in Haute Couture Fashion - Reflecting on Three Seasons of Viktor&Rolf
There are few designers that have explored recycled materials in haute couture as thoughtfully and successfully as Dutch duo Viktor&Rolf.
You may recall the Autumn/Winter 2016 collection ‘Vagabonds’, a Dickensian journey of forgotten wonderment told through reclaimed garments, materials, hand weaving and collage. Add to that, the Spring/Summer 2017 collection ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’, which evolved from Vagabonds and explored conscious design and upcycling, touching on Kintsugi, (the Japanese principle of pottery repair).
Fast forward one year and we went there again as the Autumn/Winter 2017 collection ‘Action Dolls’ presented a patchwork of couture created from up-cycling, uniting and embellishing fabrics old and new.
With the interest for creative recycling peaked we are about to see Viktor&Rolf collaborate with online fashion platform Zalando in a range called ‘Re: cycle’.
Lets take a closer look at the Haute Couture collections of Viktor&Rolf and also the upcoming Zalando collaboration 'Re:cycle', a collection set to cement garment recycling into a mainstream trend.
The 'Vagabonds' aesthetic is deliberately handmade, with raw and ragged edges, giant weaves and mixes of tailored and tied details.
Materials and trims are reclaimed from vintage archive garments and past season collections resulting in a melting pot of old and new design.
Images: Courtesy of Viktor&Rolf
// Viktor&Rolf Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 2016 - Vagabonds
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Acknowledging the beauty of imperfection is at the heart of 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' as dilapidated cocktail and evening wear is re-built to tell a new story. Similarly to Vagabonds the art of recycling is at the forefront, especially repair.
Kintsugi, the principle of Japanese pottery repair provides design and colour details in the form of gold accents and embroidery outlines on seemingly 'chipped' patchworks.
Images Courtesy of Viktor&Rolf
// Viktor&Rolf Haute Couture - Spring Summer 2017 - Boulevard of Broken Dreams
The power of transformation is communicated through the humble bomber jacket in 'Actions Dolls'. Set off against a patchwork of old and new fabrics, the bomber jacket is given a feminine and decorative appeal.
A key message of harmony and unity is achieved through the process of patching diverse garments together.
Images Courtesy of Viktor&Rolf:
// Viktor&Rolf Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 2017 - Action Dolls
On February 1st 2018 Viktor&Rolf will launch the collection 'Re:cycle' in collaboration with online fashion platform Zalando.
Re:cycle explores garment recycling from overstock and environmentally conscious design marking something of a mainstream finale to the pioneering work Viktor&Rolf have done in the area of 'conscious design'.
Images: @Marijke Aerden
Haute couture design may be seen as a symbol of excess in fashion. With its exclusive calender, exuberant materials and lavish settings the idea of parading second hand clothes and vintage garments would once be rejected.
Viktor&Rolf have proved through creativity in recycling that we can keep that feeling of newness and theatre even when the source of our material is not new. They have proved we can be more thoughtful and clever about the way we express our design ideals.
When Conscious design is elevated to haute couture status and classed as an expression rather than a goal in itself we can be witness to recycled materials with a superior creativity. It would be hard to communicate themes like transformation, unity, not belonging and the delicate art of repair through any other medium than recycling. Just imagine what other creative possibilities and stories recycled materials can offer us...
Do you have a story to tell through a garment or object you have repaired or re-made?
Leave a comment below or tag us with #tactiletrends on social media to start the conversation.
To read more articles from our recycled materials month click here, we will be adding to the collection throughout January so be sure to check back or sign up to our newsletter for the full update at the end of the month.