These Dutch designers presented their SS23 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week

In light of the Paris Haute Couture Spring 2023 season, we revisit the shows and performances from some of the most high-profile couturiers featured on the official schedule. All of them, by no surprise, brought up on Dutch grounds. Here is the official Paris recap of the SS23 collections of Iris van Herpen, Ronald van der Kemp, and Viktor & Rolf.


Viktor & Rolf
It is quite unusual to see perfectly normal tule gowns walk down a Viktor & Rolf runway. The Dutch designers are masters when it comes to defying the traditional, always exaggerating and enlarging, most of the time with a hint of political messaging or societal commentary. It is however, in a context of banal fashion display, even more unusual to see these sculpted gowns hold its shape when removed from the body; distorted, as if we’re looking at a runway through a glitched screen. Whereas V&R showed shoulder structures shifted from the actual body in a previous season, their SS23 collections takes it up a notch. A beautiful powder blue Cinderella dress is flipped slightly to the left, revealing a nude corset body with a sweetheart neckline underneath. A white ballgown with sparkling tule and a matching fitted jacked is turned 90 degrees, as if the model is walking the catwalk holding a lost gown without a wearer across her body. The most impressive and in all probability most viral look was a sky-blue gown with striped detailing at the bottom, flipped upside down, thus covering the model’s vision entirely. Surreal and wacky, but an immaculate display of craftsmanship nevertheless.

Courtesy of Viktor & Rolf

Ronald Van der Kemp
Introducing the brand’s newly developed couture fabric “Trashure Trove”, Ronald van der Kemp hosted a physical gathering of grandeur and upheaval. For Wardrobe 17, he used discarded scraps of silk, lamé, or leather to create new exciting fabric creations, entirely made out of what initially would be viewed as trash. To showcase these treasures, the designer rallied up a closely-knitted group of admirers and friends. Amongst them walked a human rights lawyer specialised in discrimination and LGTBQIA+ cases, an art and culture theorist, Dutch model Marpessa Hennink, and Broadway producer Jordan Roth. The same Kim Kardashian recording that was used at his presentation during AFW Edition 2022 played in the background, whilst guests arrived at the Dutch Ambassador’s residence in Paris. Immediately making a statement about overconsumption and the negative influence a person such as Kim K has on the industry and its audience, RVDK showed the crowd how fashion should be done “the right way”. Displaying the possibilities of crafting sustainably, various styles and characters appeared in front of the audience. From apocalypse chic to couture futurism, full glam, modernised regency, just to name a few. As if the designer matched up the vibe to each of his chosen brand representatives. A red halter dress made entirely of diamond shaped leather scraps, attached to each other with gold links was beautiful, a pair of reworked jeans in black and grey tones, patched up with rope and detailed embellishments equally impressive. This might be the best mixture of van der Kemp’s craft, skillset and vision we’ve seen in a long time.

Photographer: Marijke Aerden / Courtesy of Ronald van der Kemp

Iris van Herpen
With fashion film ‘Carte Blanche’, Iris van Herpen presents an ode to the ongoing resilience and strength Iranian women have shown during the demonstrations in Iran. The Dutch Couture designer collaborated with French dancer and choreographer Julie Gautier on an underwater performance, showcasing the SS23 collection at the bottom of the Y-40 pool in Italy. The setting was chosen as a metaphor for female protest, as according to the designer, going underwater requires a different strength and takes away your voice. Van Herpen’s masterpieces entirely submerged in the body of water, take on the weight of the current and flow according to Gautier’s movements. Laser-cut cell structures form bodices that serve as a base for draped silk and Japanese organza. In a corset with embellishments that remind us of a phoenix’s wings, and strands of red human and synthetic hair that tie around her limbs, Gautier ends her battle with the water and starts screaming. Eventually, she returns to the surface of the water; a beautiful display of a woman’s body unleashed and a powerful portrait of van Herpen’s finest creations.

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