PERFECT ALCHEMY Viktor & Rolf’s creative maestros Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have reinterpreted their chart-topping debut scent with the new Flowerbomb Bloom.
Viktor & Rolf has reinterpreted its chart-topping debut scent with the new Flowerbomb Bloom.
When we reach the pinnacle of success, it’s human nature to question what will follow. Will success be fleeting? A one-hit wonder? Or will it be the start of something brilliant? Consider a designer’s breakthrough fashion season, a critically acclaimed novel, a charttopping power ballad or, in the world of beauty, a fragrance that earns cult status. It’s a pressure familiar to Viktor & Rolf ’s creative maestros Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, who, off the back of the success of their widely adored scent Flowerbomb, have been tasked with the rather difficult assignment of reimagining it.
“It is hard, but what a great act to follow,” says Snoeren, one half of the Dutch duo. “We wanted to give Flowerbomb a sister,” adds Horsting. “Fashion artists” as they are mutually dubbed, Snoeren and Horsting have always expressed their creativity by carving out an uncharted path.
In 2015 they made the atypical move of turning their back on ready-to-wear to focus solely on haute couture and fragrance, affording them a sense of freedom with their brand. Likewise, for their debut scent – which celebrated its 10-year anniversary that same year – the pair challenged perfumers to produce a floral scent like no other. The brief? “The romantic and the aggressive all mixed in one,” says Horsting. “We started by going to Grasse in the south of France to smell all the different ingredients and noticed we were very drawn to flowers. And not just one specific flower: flowers in general. So we said: ‘How can we give flowers a punch and how can we make it more modern?’” says Snoeren of the fragrance that helped transition the Viktor & Rolf brand from fashion and art circles into a modern woman’s morning routine.
Horsting and Snoeren apply a similar creative process to fragrance as they do fashion. “It starts the same way: it’s us talking and verbalising the idea that we have in mind and also visualising the idea.”
For Flowerbomb Bloom, the newest addition to the Flowerbomb family, the duo still imagined florals, but with a lighter touch. “We wanted it to be like Flowerbomb, but a bit more airy, a bit more light,” says Horsting, who met Snoeren while studying fashion in the early 90s. The new juice, housed in an almost identical flacon to the delicate yet strong grenade-inspired Flowerbomb bottle, is still respectful of its predecessor, but has a newfound punch. With a floral bouquet at its heart – jasmine and peony accord spring to life on application – there’s a delicate burst of freshness via pomegranate, which seems to effortlessly slice through the powdery centre. It’s as if someone’s lifted the lid off the original – it dances on the skin, soft and sweet.
I speak to Snoeren and Horsting in Sydney the day after the official opening of their exhibition Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria – an archival deep dive into the pair’s body of work.
The pair – who talk, look and even write almost identically – speak as affectionately of fragrance as they do of fashion and art. While designer fragrances occasionally fall short of a maison’s fashion offering, seeming detached, uninspiring, even obligatory, theirs feels characteristically measured. “Fragrance was really the reason why we became interested in fashion in the first place. As teenagers, independently from each other, we were both inspired by perfume advertising,” says Horsting, noting that the glamour and mystery surrounding scent sparked their creative pulse. Snoeren adds: “What I like about fragrance ads is that they are without the difficulties of clothing or fashion: they are only beauty.”
“WE SAID: ‘HOW CAN WE GIVE FLOWERS A PUNCH AND HOW CAN WE MAKE IT MORE MODERN?’”
VIKTOR & ROLF FLOWERBOMB BLOOM EDT, 100ML FOR $190.