If you’ve seen just one look from Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, chances are it was one of Viktor & Rolf’s eye-catching colorful gowns emblazoned with bold typography. The catchphrases on the gowns—inspired by memes and Instagram captions— ranged from Frida Kahlo’s quote, “I am my own muse” to “Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come” to “Go to Hell.” Immediately after the January 23rd runway show, the eighteen-piece collection, appropriately titled “Fashion Statements,” went viral, sparking a multitude of memes and tweets on the relatability of the collection, bridging the gap between high fashion and pop culture.
Despite the playfulness of the gowns, Victor & Rolf’s designs proved to be a fresh take on a couture collection. The tulle gowns featured avante-garde silhouettes and intricate detailing like bows, pleating, and layers of ruffles. Additionally, they reflected Spring 2019 trends, including exaggerated shoulders, ruffles, and pastels—which have been seen on the runways of other designers like Valentino, Balmain, and Giambattista Valli during this past fashion week.
Viktor & Rolf is no stranger to media attention or pushing the boundaries of haute couture fashion. Models walking in their Fall 2017 Paris Couture fashion week show wore oversized doll masks with their dresses. During the preview of this year’s collection, designer Rolf Snoeren remarked that the purpose of “Fashion Statements” was to create a “strange contradiction” much like “the kind of message you find on social media, with the same instant feeling. All these statements that are so obvious or easy— there’s a lot of banality on Instagram and social media in general—are counterbalanced with this over-the-top, shimmery, romantic feeling.”
The collection’s memorable phrases also proved to be the perfect way for Viktor & Rolf to promote their brand among the mainstream population. Though haute couture is often reserved for the fashion-obsessed or elite, these gowns have been turned into a multitude of memes, including “The Signs as Viktor & Rolf Spring Couture” and shared across virtually every social media platform. While Paris Couture Fashion Week is over, these dresses won’t be leaving your Instagram popular page any time soon.