Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ball gown

Design House:
Viktor and Rolf (Dutch, founded 1993)
spring/summer 2010
polyester, silk/synthetic
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2011
Accession Number:
Not on view
Self-proclaimed “fashion artists” Viktor & Rolf are celebrated for their distinct brand of irreverent yet introspective design, aptly dubbed “metafashion” by cultural critic Olivier Zahm. For more than two decades, the duo has regularly presented collections driven by sophisticated concepts and supported by formal experimentation and refined techniques. This ball gown from their “Credit Crunch Couture” collection responds to the global market crash of 2008. The striking sculptural form subverts the tradition of a feminine 1950s-style dress, bisecting densely stitched clouds of tulle with a flourish intended to evoke the swipe of a chainsaw. Although the designers brandished the aforementioned instrument in a feature staged for Women’s Wear Daily, in reality the delicate work was carried out by hand, using the sharpest of scissors and almost two hundred yards of fine and stiff tulle. Other pieces in the collection were cleverly devised to repurpose the salvaged bits of fabric.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion," November 18, 2016–February 5, 2017.

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