Viktor & Rolf’s personalized waxed seal depicts the intimacy of a first embrace. Just as one’s emotions teeter on the brink of discovery when opening a long awaited love letter, the designer’s powerful artistic aesthetic arouses the senses. When breaking their waxed seal, one encounters a world of paradox where subtlety is fused with compelling and dramatic imagery.

  • Considered to be one of the most daring and provocative fashion artists of the 21st century, this unique and talented dutch duo seem to always visualize the full force of fashion. Whether it’s the performative conception of their haute couture and prêt-à-porter runway shows or their innovative exhibitions at museums and art galleries, the international luxury fashion house of Viktor & Rolf chiefly embodies unorthodox and experimental methods. Oscillating between the duo’s vision of art and fashion, there comfortably sits the presence and expectancy of spring: Flowerbomb Bloom. Viktor & Rolf’s latest evolution in transformative fragrance is synonymous with the bloom of the first season; the transitional period between winter and summer, when nature reawakens and the world smells fresh and renewed.

  • Flowerbomb Bloom, the next chapter of the now iconic Flowerbomb story is born from the desire to create “an airy fragrance with a birth of fresh flowers”. Bloom explores new olfactory possibilities to push the boundaries of the floral bouquet and to take on a sparkling, fresh and sensuous tone. an interview was scheduled in order to discover the motivations in conceiving the descendant of Flowerbomb royalty. I was recently privileged to gaze into the creative world of Viktor horsting and rolf Snoeren when I spoke to them from their historic amsterdam mansion-cum-atelier, a stunning 17th century former mayor’s residence looking over herengracht (considered to be the most important canals in the city and an appropriate locale for such an impressive property). I first asked Viktor & Rolf why they chose to live and work in amsterdam rather than other more traditional fashion capitals such as Paris, Milan, New york or london. “We prefer to be removed from the fashion world and can choose to enter it when we want to. We work best in the more isolated atmosphere of amsterdam”. Although rolf mentioned that they once lived in the fashion capital of Paris, “we barely look at the work of others, and have never really followed any trends. We don’t use moodboards and no one designer has influenced our work. We think of fashion more as an archive”. Viktor captured the duo’s direct and self-assured simplicity when he chimed in affectionately with a simple “amsterdam is home”.

  • The fact that Viktor & rolf choose to live and work in amsterdam may explain their friendly and unpretentious demeanour. they were both charming and entertaining, possessing a refreshing sense of humour. this aspect of their personality can be perceived as a contradiction in terms when we consider that Viktor & Rolf are essentially radical artists who push the boundaries of their chosen field. This ambiguous relationship between the artist’s temperament and their work is reflected in the mere naming of the 2005 successful Flowerbomb. Why did Viktor & rolf choose this name before matching it with the appropriate scent? “We like to start with language. Words are powerful. We thought that Flowerbomb was powerful and described an explosion. It seemed appropriate for the perfume we wanted to create”.

  • To concur with the designers, words are indeed very power-ful. an example can be best illustrated by this iconic naming of Flowerbomb, an oxymoron that reflects the beauty of nature set against a destructive device. Flowerbomb is an exotic explosion, one in which the senses are awakened with an annihilating effect. today, Viktor & rolf astonish us yet again by introducing the daughter of Flowerbomb, Flowerbomb Bloom. While inheriting her predecessor’s addictive imprint, she is more aerial having been freshly infused with an unexpected pure air molecule. This subtle touch of living liquid air brings a fresh and aerial mountain breath to create a surreal bouquet of scents.

  • Flowerbomb Bloom was conceived during the tenth anniversary celebrations of its prototype, the original Flowerbomb. Domitille Bertier, senior perfumer and mastermind behind Bloom’s exclusive scent recalled its beginnings, “We both knew where we wanted to take Flowerbomb next, ten years after the first chapter. Keep the signature floral explosion but transform it into something even more sparkling. the two key ideas were the pomegranate and the living liquid air”. Since Viktor & rolf can be described as avid logophiles, their love of words is demonstrated once more. Grenade in French simultaneously means both pomegranate and grenade in English. This homonym (a word which has the same spelling and pronunciation, but has different meanings), provided the inspiration to discover the fruity burst of flavour Bertier was hoping to create. “It’s fruity, new with perfect symbolism, perfect to burst in the Flowerbomb Bloom fresh and fruity top. to keep a very natural and generous feel, we actually worked with a fine flavour pomegranate”.

  • In order to avoid a heavy sugary feel, the perfuming trio wanted to create the ideal scent of a mountain’s summit. “The way to capture this scent” Bertier described, “is very Viktor & rolf, very innovative since we literally captured it with a headspace device set on a mountain top. It was very interesting to keep working as a trio on this new version; everybody brought new fresh ideas to this creation”. Bertier, who claimed to have always enjoyed working with Viktor & rolf, expressed her fondness for such an innovative collaboration, “they have a true understanding of their brands and fragrances, and -they dare to go further which is very important when you are creating something new. Since we started collaborating, we’ve always shared the desire to create something different, new and beautiful”.

  • Learning of the expertise and collaborative effort in selecting unexpected ingredients, how did Viktor & rolf choose to showcase their new floral scent? They elongated the previous diamond cut grenade to produce a more slender transformation, a bottle to capture what rolf described as “the growth in spring. Like a flower, she grows towards the sky”. a beautiful concept when one considers the upward motion of not only a growing springtime blossom but the airiness of the scent and the infusions of an invigorating breath.

  • A range of emotions and desires are attached in choosing a fragrance, what is it about Bloom that will entice women? In answering this question Viktor offered a simple yet profound retort, “You’ll have to ask them”. When a woman does decide to follow her instinctual response towards a fragrance, her individuality is reflected in her choice of perfume. Flowerbomb Bloom will more than satisfy the woman, who seeks to discover the awakening of springtime vigour; it shall endure to be the standout fragrance for fresh and new beginnings.

Narcisse Magazine - Issue 6