The Protection of the Viktor &Rolf Fashion-Art Trademark

By Lígia Carvalho Abreu, Pamela Echeverria and Susy Bello Knoll
Photos: Viktor & Rolf and Rijksmuseum
Left: Vagabonds (Couture Fall/Winter 2016/2017), those characters of Charles Dicken´s literary are reworked and replaced by a “new order”.  “The past is looked at in a new light and used as a stepping-stone for the new, the more durable. As such, recycling is used as a means of expression rather than a goal in itself, reflecting a thoughtful attitude and a focus on conscious designing”[i]. Right: The Hunt (RTW Fall Winter 2004)
We know that each age establishes a definition of art and also a definition of fashion. But each time, both art and fashion have something to say about people´s culture, history and their feelings. Fashion builds parameters of visibility and any kind of art, thus constructing a visual world. Instead of the painter’s personal way of thinking, creation shows others a particular vision that generally expresses the situation of society. Because of that, this art helps us to understand the history as Plato once explained in chapter ten of the Republic.
Nowadays, art refers not only to beauty and the aesthetical concept of change between traditional paradigms. The entire fashion system barters along the years and nowadays fashion is the closest thing to Art Museums.
The first National Museum of Art was the Louvre opened in 1793. Around two hundred years later in 1994, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (Viktor & Rolf) presented their work in a contemporary art exposition at the Modern Art Museum in Paris. Since then, they have been building a Fashion Art trademark based on the free experiment of ideas. Consequently, they belong to a exclusive group of creative people who give life to new ways of understanding fashion design. 
As a contribution to contemporary fashion history, Viktor & Rolf showed their creations in 2000, in the exhibitions curated by José Teunissen and Ida van Zijl called “Droog & Dutch Design” at Utrecht´s Central Museum of Dutch modernism, and in 2003 they participated in their retrospective named “Fashion in Colours” at the Galliera Palace Fashion & Textile Museum in Paris. Within the same year, in “Woman by”, they expressed their own vision of the feminine ideal in fashion and their idea of femininity. In 2004, in an exposition they focused on the history of fashion at Kyoto Customs Institute. Some of Viktor & Rolf’s pieces in recent Haute Couture Collections, such as Wearable Art and Van Gogh Girls, have been purchased by Art Collector Han Nefkens to be donated to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. For both Dutch designers, there are no differences between art and fashion as a way of personal expression and creativity. Fashion is art and art is fashion. There is no division between them. Art is Wearable.   
Wearable Art (Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016). Everything was made of fabric, even the golden frames, the paintings are woven, they are laser cut, the images are based on Dutch Golden Age paintings of the 17th century, such as The Threatened Swan’ by Jan Asselijn, 1650 (Rijksmuseum) 
The movement that puts fashion into the Museums is not only about museology but also anthropology, indicating that something happens with regards to our the way we dress. It has an important symbolism to share and it also invites reflation.  It is part of the question of who we are.