The contemporary designer whose design philosophy best reflects Evan’s analysis of McQueen’s representations on the theme of ‘Victimisation’ is the label Victor & Rolf. Victor & Rolf’s design philosophy is ‘originality and traditions, glamour, avant-garde, conceptual- couture’ (FashionTraveler. com, 2011:1). The Victor & Rolf collection I have chosen from is Autumn/Winter 2008/2009 in order to illustrate my views and compare to Alexander McQueen’s work mentioned under ‘Victimisation’ in Evans (2004). Just like Victor & Rolf, Alexander McQueen can be described as original, glamorous, avant-garde, and conceptual.
Alexander McQueen has encompassed a theme of Victimisation where he uses his fashion to confront issues about women being abused, mistreated and made into victims by men. He plays on the stereotype of women being taken as weak and defenceless in the shadow of a man. Alexander McQueen’s collection titled ‘Nihilism’ from 1993, created the image that Alexander McQueen ‘has a view that speaks of battered women, of violent lives, of grinding daily existences’ (Hume, 1993: 29). In McQueen’s show titled ‘Highland Rape’ in 1995, he displayed military jackets, tartan and moss wool, well fitted jackets, ripped lace dresses and skirts (Evans, 2004: 22).
In McQueen’s collection titled ‘It’s A Jungle Out There’, he focuses on how women have been made victims by animals and been attacked by them. His theme surrounds the idea of being born into the world and how one can be taken out of it just as easily, and how human life should be valued. Victor & Rolf’s fall RTW collection also brings their message across by literally pasting it on their models. The clothing has the words ‘no’, ‘dream’, ‘dream on’ and ‘wow’ sewn, sequined and assembled onto them in 3D, also using staples which looks very severe and harsh giving off the impression of a grinding existence.
The models look like they have been victimised and attempted to put themselves back together. One coat from Victor & Rolf’s collection looks like it has been torn down the centre and has staples on the ‘torn’ seams, which is similar to how McQueen cut into and tore the garments in his collections. This shows that the woman has been abused and mistreated by her clothes having been torn down the middle. The models are heavily dressed resembling the baggage they now carry emotionally due to the victimisation they have been through.
The models have black eye makeup with severely pulled back hair making them look like empty shells walking the runway. They also wear large boots that look somewhat like shields, possibly to hint on needing protection from outside forces. In conclusion, Victor & Rolf do possess similar elements to Alexander McQueen when portraying the theme of Victimisation on their runways. Both designers have used broad visual means of putting across their points. Their designs are both harsh and bold, yet fall into the theme perfectly. Victimisation is apparent in both designers’ works in conceptual ways and in a sense of couture.