Viktor & Rolf recycled old gowns into brand new couture creations, basically the luxe version of hand-me-downs

Viktor & Rolf has a thing for cutting up ballgowns. That is, designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren tend to deconstruct gowns, and then reconstruct them into new exquisiteness.

For their spring 2010 collection, they used chainsaws to chop off whole swaths of tulle.

For their Spring/Summer 2017 show at Paris Fashion Week, they debuted vintage gowns upcycled into couture collages.

According to the show notes, the designers were inspired by Kintsugi, a type of Japanese pottery where broken pieces are repaired and dusted with gold or silver.


The designers took pieces that were aged and/or damaged and reassemble them into stunning displays of shape and color.


We detect hints of Romanticism mixed with the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the results.


Upcycling, like it’s source material, isn’t new. Indie designers have employed the technique for decades, refashioning hand-me-downs and thrifted fabrics.

Yet, we’ve seen little of it in haute couture. But here we are, looking at high fashion cut-outs, Matisse and Calder in dress form. When art meets fashion, we drool. Next, we hope Viktor & Rolf will employ the technique on their bridal line.

It seems upcycling couldn’t possibly progress any further in the fashion world. Has upcycling moved ‘up’ as far as it can?

We don’t know. But are we digging through our closets with scissors in hand and sewing machine at the ready? Indeed.