Document offers a look backstage at the Spring 2023 presentation—corsets, bows, crinolines, and all

Couture isn’t designed for daily use. One wear is enough—a statement so loud that it need not be repeated. It’s excessive, impractical, and absurd. It revels in play, and resists practicality. Viktor & Rolf delivered that sentiment, each of the 18 garments it presented for Spring 2023 embedded with its own unique brand of unattainability and insanity.

The avant-garde house quite literally turned Paris Haute Couture Week on its head, presenting voluminous dresses jutting out at all angles, markedly askew, mirrored, and inverted. Their fabrics defied gravity, holding shape as if worn upright, even when positioned completely upside down. The gowns were gorgeous in their own right: delicately jeweled, imagined in sweet pastel tones, shaped like cupcakes, bound by corsets, and constructed from soft-moving textiles. But their beauty was undoubtedly overshadowed by their technical and conceptual prowess.

The tailoring of Viktor & Rolf’s dresses has been likened to a Photoshop mishap. It teases at the ease of digital perversion, our ever-increasing affinity for warping our faces and bodies—and consequently, our sense of reality.