The vampire frenzy of the 21st century isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — except, perhaps, to Paris Fashion Week. For Spring 2022 Couture, Viktor&Rolf’s collection was given the Bram Stoker treatment, drawing inspiration from the iconic Dracula cape for a series of surreal evening gowns.
One of the most recognizable silhouettes in cinema — Dracula’s gothic cape, with its sharp, elongated silhouette — serves as a launching point for the collection, which takes shoulder distortion to an extreme by adding playful ruffles, structured silks, and even puff sleeves into the vocabulary of haute horror.
Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren referred to their 1993 Hyeres collection for the vampiric look, reimagining the high-shouldered, over-exaggerated dress to reflect the idea of fear in a modern context, evoking the thrill and suspense within the gauzy gowns.
The Dutch fashion house took inspiration from old-Hollywood, too, bringing a glamorous vibe to the Draculanian looks. Shoulders of couture gowns reach models’ ears in the posture of a permanent shrug, obscuring their necks nearly entirely, a somewhat ironic detail when taking into account how Dracula actually kills. And, though inspired by the Count himself, the hunched-shouldered looks recall a more visceral fear: the act of curling into oneself in self-defense, a protective posture that hides the vulnerable neck.
The palette of the haute couture looks play further into the Dracula theme, with muted tones being punctuated by crimson, cream, and stark black. Dracula’s tuxedo is even revisited in a cropped blazer look, where a ruffled white shirt collar is reminiscent of the infamous vampire’s classic look. Even the most playful of gowns — a hand-embroidered baby pink dress with wilting flowers, or a one-shouldered, silky blue look with a giant bow at the waist — has a chilling look about it, with the elongated, raised shoulders adding something supernatural, or something distorted.
They might not be doing it out of bloodthirst, but still, Viktor&Rolf are clearly coming for our necks.
Photos courtesy of Viktor & Rolf
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