Spring 2017 Haute Couture: The Art of Kintsugi with Viktor & Rolf


According to the Japanese philosophy wabi-sabi, there is beauty in the imperfect or old and so the art of kintsugi aims to showcase flaws, using a lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum to highlight the repair of broken ceramics.

In the world of fast-fashion, reusing old garments or “up-cycling” to create couture pieces has been regularly revisited by Martin Margiela. Last season Viktor & Rolf delved into their old collection, deconstructing to reconstruct and create a very chic “vagabond” look. For Spring 2017, the two couturiers (Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren) pieced together another “up-cycling” collection, this time using other designers’ vintage garments found in thrift stores.

Inspired by the Kintsugi technique, they used thick gold thread embroideries to highlight the re-piecing. Down their catwalk, punctuated with giant flower installations, they sent a poetic collection titled “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” that had a certain prettiness to it, in particular the final Cinderella ball gowns.

Existing dresses, oftentimes damaged or with visible signs of wear, were taken apart and then pieced together with extra materials to create surreal collages, in a very Viktor & Rolf way, with a play on opposites and asymmetry.

The focus, according to the designers’ note, was “placed on finding value in missing pieces, cracks and chips – bringing to light the scars that come from life experiences. Acknowledging the beauty of imperfection is a positive reinforcement which ultimately renders the original into something more beautiful and more valuable, essentially transforming the imperfect into a thing of beauty.”

Their “conscious designing” reused meters of pretty pastel tulles to create beautiful manipulations of dégradé frills to shape garments or embellished them. The garments were molded onto the body and still voluminous, while the pastels were enhanced with patchworks of burgundy, raspberry and green.

While Viktor & Rolf couture is only for the boldest of fashionistas, there were plenty of feminine shapes, such as the ruffle skirt of the opening look in a dégradé of blue and pink tulles, and their fairytale gowns with their full, layered tulle skirt in dégradé pastels embellished with “shards” appliquéd on top.