Factory Girl

Saturday, 13 March 2010

I've been trying to write this post all week, but I just had too many words to say and ended up having a small breakdown. Don't worry, I'm ok now, but following on from my breakdown, I'm thinking that the best way to write about this particular topic is to break it down... (you see what I did there? I am just SO street!)

First, let's all share a moment and look at this;

I know, I know, crazy/epic/mental/ridiculous/fabulous/insane right? But what's even more exciting about this is that moments before this photo was taken, that gigantic ruff/cloak thing was actually this skirt;

How Franki? How? And why? And also what? And who? And when? But mainly how? Explain all, please, for we are so confused by these images of strange and wonderful things.

Well children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoering, also known as Viktor & Rolf, the crazy-cool Dutch design duo, have always been known for their whacky but wonderful approach to fashion. I've mentioned them briefly in previous posts but not really gone into great detail about them... that is UNTIL NOW, because, having been rendered completely and utterly dumbfounded by their Fall 2010 show, I have to comment.

Imagine the scene; a fashion show. The runway is completely plastered with images of cogs, gears and screws and the music is layered with the mechanical sounds of a factory. The lights dim. Kristen McMenamy (a popular face of the 90s... I've never heard of her) heads down the runway wearing a ma-hoo-sive fur and tweed cape. The designers follow her and the three of them stop on a rotating circle in the centre of the runway, where Viktor and Rolf then proceed to remove said ginourmous cape from the model, who is standing as still as an extremely still mannequin (that's VERY still). Another model appears on the runway, steps onto the magical rotating bit and the designers dress her in the cape, which, with a few minor adjustments, becomes a coat. This process is repeated again and again as it is revealed, on removal of the giant cape, that McMenamy is actually wearing several layers of coats and jackets, which are each removed in turn, transformed into another garment through the magic of drawstrings, zips and fasteners and then placed onto another model, who then carries on down the runway, while McMenamy is STILL STANDING STILL!

You want a cape or a coat? Voila! You can have both!

Once all the layers are removed and McMenamy is stripped down to nothing but a nude bodysuit, the process starts again, this time in reverse, with models wearing various dresses, which are then removed, turned into yet more coats and placed back onto McMenamy, who, believe it or not, is STILL STANDING STILL! Is she a robot? Possibly.

First it's a dress, then it's a coat. Ah, the things you can do with a drawstring.

Basically, the whole thing was insane. I don't know what I was more impressed by; Viktor and Rolf's ingenuity and precision when removing/transforming/replacing garments or Kristen McMenamy's ability to wear twelve million layers of clothes while maintaining an air of zen-like coolness.

But what was the reason for all this? Are Viktor and Rolf telling us that layering is going to be such an important aspect for the Fall season that we should just wear all our clothes at once? Were they taking tips from that video of the 1930s future fashion predictions where they thought we'd all be wearing clothes which could adapt for day and night? Or did they just want to play dress up with a life-sized Barbie doll? (Don't we all?)

No. Don't be silly, it was none of those things.

The show was entitled "Glamour Factory", the runway (I think) represented a conveyor belt and the designers were like the two little workers, busily producing new garments. They were also playing with the concept of "Ready to Wear", as the pieces were somewhat extreme but, with a few tweaks, became instantly wearable.

I'll be honest, I don't really get where McMenamy and her layer upon layer of coats came into it all, but I'd like to think she represented a big stylish onion, which could be peeled to reveal more and more lovely things.

Regardless of what it all meant, I think it was brilliant, simply because it's a nice change to see a runway show which involves something a bit more than models just walking. Even so, having read several reviews, it's clear that the spectacle and theatrics of the show managed to overshadow the actual clothes, which is a shame because they were really gorgeous;

Those circle-lens sunglasses do remind me of Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? though;

Anyway, Viktor & Rolf have to be commended for the brilliant design features which utilised a simple drawstring to conceal or reveal volume, allowing garments to transform effortlessly from one thing to another. It was never a case of "oh that coat looks a bit like a dress now"; the coat was DEFINITELY a dress.

I also think it's great to see the designers taking an active role in the show, as usually, designers don't seem keen to enter the runway at all. I'm hoping that next season, designers will take their cue from Viktor & Rolf and we'll see Karl Lagerfeld whipping out a sewing machine on the Chanel catwalk and making all the clothes from scratch, right there and then. Brilliant.


  1. Great post (and blog!)

    Will definitely keep reading :)


  2. hey ! first time i come across your blog, love it so inspirational, check ouy my daily collages inspiration on my blog boubouteatime if you have some time, a bientot !
    Bouchra xx


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