Why Viktor & Rolf Give Up on Ready-to-Wear
Unfortunately, it’s already official, but what is the reason behind this decision? Why do Viktor & Rolf give up on ready-to-wear after 15 years?
After the shocking news we got in fall 2014 that Jean Paul Gaultier also ceases RTW after 38 years of activity and now Viktor & Rolf, we’ve started to ask ourselves: what the Hell is going on in the business of fashion?
The truth is there’s been a long story and a lot of experiences along the way that drove the designers to this ultimate decision, so let’s go a little way back to understand.
Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren go way back when they tied a strong friendship during their childhood. Their collaboration began right after graduating from the Netherlands’ Arnhem Academy, but they began their journey in the art world.
The duo entered the spotlight in 1993 when they won a grand prize at the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in France. The real deal was five years later though when they hosted a show during Paris Couture Week in 1998 with bombshell clothing in the shape of atomic-bomb clouds featuring ruffles and bells details.
The designers have always seen something more in fashion as Rolf declared in 2000 when the Groninger Museum hosted an exhibition in their honor:
Fashion is a lot more than a jacket on a hanger in a store. I think there’s a lot more to it. It’s a broader phenomenon than just buying clothes.
But the same year they launched women’s RTW, following men’s wear in 2003 and a series of signature fragrances starting from 2005 with L’Oréal.
After Rosso’s OTB acquired Viktor & Rolf in 2008, the designers expressed their real problem that was bugging them from the start. They were hoping that this deal would release them from the business pressures and would give them complete freedom to focus on design.
And their frustrations were expressed loud and clear in their line from Fall/Winter 2008 when they presented a series of clothing items with 3-D letters saying “No.”.
And although in December 2013 the duo opened their 5,400-square-foot store in Paris calling it the first of “at least five”, it seems the stars haven’t aligned for them after all as they announced two weeks ago, on February 3rd, their ending to RTW and retail and that they will further concentrate on couture.
Viktor and Rolf explained that “we feel a strong need to refocus on our artistic roots”, but the real problem that stood in the way their entire career was still there as they further said:
Ready-to-wear started to feel creatively restricting. By letting go of it, we gain more time and freedom.
Some speculate that the trouble with the Dutch brand is that “It’s difficult to keep a business alive without a profitable accessories and footwear division”, but the industry consultant Jean-Jacques Picart made things clear in a declaration for WWD, also considering Jean Paul Gaultier’s abandon on RTW:
It confirms that the rhythm and the pressure of a worldwide fashion industry are too strong.
So, given the facts, the designers are going to skip the runway next month at the Paris Fashion Week and will present their final RTW collection by appointment.
But in the end, it seems to be a good decision for the duo as Renzo Rosso – that holds a majority stake in Viktor & Rolf – says it is “a strategic decision to position the Viktor & Rolf brand in the highest luxury segment of fashion”.
And the two seem to finally be at peace with this final decision and declared that:
We are extremely excited to push the boundaries of our vision in new, unexpected territories
What do you think about Viktor & Rolf‘s decision?
Do you think they’re better in the couture scene?
Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to share it further!