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[whitespace] Amsterdammer Anarchy

Viktor & Rolf are mad as hell and they're not going to wear it any more

By Katy Bell

Ok. so nothing happened at the stroke of midnight 2000 ... and there I stood, outfitted in my most practical gear surrounded by gallons of unused water like a girl stood up by her prom date. Forlorn! Let down! Duped!

Now that the millennium madness has proven to be a million pounds of horse shit in as many wheelbarrows--a capitalist consumptive grand strategy--I declare fashion anarchy. Shrugging convention and practicality, I embrace lawless modes of dress. There is no real need for sensible shoes. I am devoting myself to all nonsense. And my new gurus, Viktor & Rolf, are keeping my sights set conceptually high.

A pair of 30-year-old, Amsterdam-based designers, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are busy thumbing their noses at international fashion politics. Reared and schooled in liberal Dutch environs, they're now pushing big ideas. The end product is an illustration of their devotion to a philosophy based in ideas and craftsmanship, concept and ideals. A far cry from ready-to-wear, Viktor & Rolf walk a line between installation art and fashion, maintaining only a few clients in addition to their professorship in the Fashion Department of the University for Applied Arts in Vienna.

Viktor & Rolf's last four couture collections--characterized as extreme and challenging--have earned them a reputation for shocking originality. Past favorites have included the "atomic bomb" costume with the model's head resting atop a huge mushroom form, a chiffon blouse inflated with brightly colored balloons, jackets with neon mink dots, and a black-and-white collection shown under scant neon light in a darkened room.

Their latest effort, a comment on the exclusivity of couture, involved one model revolving on a Lazy Susan while the two designers piled on 10 consecutive outfits of burlap and Swarovski crystals until the model was bloated with fabric and rocks.

In another venture, Viktor & Rolf issued 250 limited-edition bottles of "Le Parfum" in sealed vials not meant to be opened. They have designed their dream-world couture for Barbie. Their class last spring consisted of two student groups working in separate rooms, one group working under red lights, with red materials, drawing utensils and patterns, and the other working in all blue with the atmosphere enhanced with separate looped soundtracks. The results ranked from destruction of the material to actual pieces of clothing.

At www.firstview.com/designerlist/ViktorandRolf.html, you can check out Viktor & Rolf's latest collection. Let them inspire disorder within. Incite local style riots against conventional expression! Look for me on the street--I'll be the one wearing a converted detergent box miniskirt with my nipples covered with electrical tape and bricks strapped to my dainty feet.

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From the January 24, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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