Viktor & Rolf’s edgy new jewellery.
Viktor & Rolf turn their attention to pretty, sparkly things.
viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren of Viktor & Rolf are the Gilbert and Sullivan of fashion. Or at least they were a decade ago, when their ready-to-wear shows had all the theatrical verve of a full-fledged operetta. But whether the pair were tap dancing down the runway in top hats or sending out a single model wearing nine looks layered one on top of the other, their clothes and accessories were always impeccable, even classic. That has always been the paradox of this Dutch duo: They’re avant-garde yet accessible. Weird yet wearable.
“What people love, what they write about in a magazine,” begins Snoeren—“is not what they buy,” finishes Horsting. Since about 2000, the designers have embraced the art-versuscommerce conundrum: They took up ready-towear, left the art-and-museum circuit and struck deals with mega-brands such as H&M and L’Oréal. They’ve wooed the mainstream, but, like Sinatra, they’ve done it their way.
The duo’s latest collab is with Swarovski, for whom they’ve created a limited-edition capsule collection called Velvet Rock. The last time Swarovski asked Horsting and Snoeren to create a collection, the designers had the crystals painted matte black. It’s not the most promotional thing one can do to a product, yet Swarovski has come back for more. This time, Horsting and Snoeren thought up a line of pleasingly hefty cuffs, earrings, rings and a choker encrusted with Swarovski crystals that have been “flocked”: completely covered with tiny glued-on velvet bristles in grey and black— the designers’ favourite non-colours. “We had to send the samples back several times,” says Snoeren. “We wanted grey mélange—not purplish, greenish or bluish grey. We said, ‘Please, no colour.’” A few crystals here and there escaped the flocking; they were left bare and sparkling, creating a mysterious-code effect. The pair assure me, however, that there is no secret message in the jewellery. “It was a conceptual idea we found interesting,” says Horsting. “You have something precious and sparkling and then you cover it.” ■
Crystal and velvet-coatedcrystal jewellery from the Atelier Swarovski by Viktor & Rolf collection (swarovski. com): Small ring ($335); triple cuff ($735); chandelier earrings ($485); chandelier choker ($1,550)