Viktor & Rolf creates rotated ballgowns for Paris Couture Week

Dezeen_ Dutch fashion house Viktor & Rolf presented "surreal" tulle ballgowns that feature striking sideways and upside-down silhouettes for its latest collection at Paris Couture Week.

The Haute Couture Spring Summer 2023 show took place yesterday afternoon in an opulent room within Paris' Intercontinental Le Grand hotel – a historic city landmark that opened in 1862.

Called Late Stage Capitalism Waltz, Viktor & Rolf created a collection of 18 ballgowns crafted predominantly from tulle, which intend to recall the "golden days" of mid-20th-century haute couture, according to the brand.

While the show began with a series of familiar evening looks, as the presentation went on, the models displayed gowns that had been flipped in various directions to create unconventional silhouettes.

Traditional garments including a pale yellow dress topped with a Swarovski crystal-clad bodice gave way to a coral-belted lilac gown with a mille-feuille skirt, which was tilted dramatically at a lopsided angle across the model's body.

The structures were 3D-printed in collaboration with mannequin manufacturer Hands Boodt Mannequins.

Another look displayed a powder-blue "upside-down dress" characterised by an upright tulle skirt that appeared to defy gravity and concealed the model's head and upper body, revealing only a structured corset that finished at the top of their thighs.

"A singular and narrowly defined 'fashion ideal' is presented and artistically manipulated to put itself into question," said Viktor & Rolf of the inverted ballgowns.

"The dress, while retaining its idealised shape, antagonises, alienates and frees itself from the body in a surreal way."

Other unconventional gowns in the collection include a pastel-hued floor-length dress cinched at the waist with a silk bow.

Only subtly attached to the neutral corset on the model's body, the gown was designed to give the impression that it was floating alongside the model.

"The body, while retaining the 'dessous' that sculpts its silhouette – traditionally an integrated part of the structure of a couture dress – moves away from the garment," explained the brand.

"The familiar becomes strange, as the mundane transforms into the absurd and vice versa. This collection visualises the sense of alienation the collection title refers to."

Viktor & Rolf took cues from the work of 18th-century French painters François Boucher and Antoine Watteau for the dresses' overarching pastel colour scheme, while the Swarovski crystals that adorn many of the gowns intend to echo the evening looks of the mid-20th century.

To complete their outfits, models wore mesh and satin-encrusted Christian Louboutin stilettos.

"With its delicate atmosphere, the collection appears to set the tone for an almost stereotypical vision of haute couture as an anachronistic dream of soft femininity," concluded Viktor & Rolf.

Collections launched at Paris Couture Week have been causing a stir. On Monday, French fashion house Schiaparelli presented a catwalk of models wearing gowns adorned with faux taxidermied lion, wolf and leopard heads.

In previous years, Viktor & Rolf emblazoned delicate dresses with bold, kitsch slogans while the brand's Autumn Winter 2020 collection channelled coronavirus with "unapproachable" coats defined by spikes and tubes.

The images are courtesy of Viktor & Rolf.