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Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have easily slipped into the New York vibe. First they hosted a fifth anniversary party for their Flowerbomb fragrance in the West Village Wednesday and tonight they will be climbing into bed at Saks Fifth Avenue as part of Fashion’s Night Out and inviting the entire city to join them.
The quirky duo will be holding court on a mattress in Saks Fifth Avenue’s Manhattan flagship from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., accompanied by tunes spun by DJ Damian Kulash of OK Go.
“It will be a huge bed with us in it,” said Horsting with a roguish grin. “We are there, people can join us in bed and get their picture taken.”
“And we can be lazy and sit back and relax,” said Snoeren with a laugh.
Such outside-the-box thinking typifies the designers’ approach to life, fashion and fragrance. Clad in comfortable shirts paired with faded jeans embroidered with navy blue eyeglasses (Horsting) or plaid pants (Snoeren), the duo freely discussed their viewpoints on both fashion and fragrance. For instance, they expressed amazement that Fashion’s Night Out has already been institutionalized into its own acronym. Snoeren observed, “It’s a great initiative.” Horsting added, “It feels like it has always been there.”
Snoeren continued, “I love how it’s already been abbreviated FNO.”
Also they seemed enthusiastic about the vitality of new talent bubbling up in the New York fashion scene. “It’s really surprising how many young, new designers emerge [at New York Fashion Week] in these waves, and in a way we wonder how is that possible, businesswise,” Snoeren said. “You can put up a show a couple of times, but to sustain that and become a brand, that’s not easy.” He noted that, with the possible exception of London, there are fewer new designers emerging in Europe.
“It’s so important to persevere,” added Horsting. “It’s probably the biggest quality you have to have in fashion.”
Originality also tops Horsting’s list of most necessary attributes. “What we feel is always needed [in fashion] is originality — and your own point of view. Originality-wise, [the industry is] not on a high [note] in fashion history. I think we are all talking very much about how we’re going to market on the Internet and e-commerce and social networking and celebrities — which is all very important. In our case we try to focus on substance — or at least not forget it.”
“Fashion shows today are very different from the past,” said Snoeren. “We started to love fashion, because there was mystery. We have the feeling that that is hard to find sometimes now.” Horsting added, “It’s great that it’s so accessible, but by the time you’re in Paris Fashion Week you feel that it’s all old news. It’s exhausted.”
The designers also take a dim view of all the fashion-themed reality shows: “It’s a very warped, twisted vision of fashion,” said Horsting. “It’s a show about Tyra, not about models. It’s fun. We try to participate, but it’s well to keep some sort of mystery. Otherwise, it’s not good.”
Their penchant for originality is also reflected in the startling success of Flowerbomb, which is still going strong after five years in a market where products sometimes die after their first birthday. The Viktor & Rolf scent ranked fifth in the overall U.S. fragrance market in July and ninth on a year-to-date basis, according to The NPD Group figures quoted by executives at L’Oréal USA, the design duo’s licensee. The fragrance has been top ranked in the specialty store channel for some time. Although the company would not quote figures, industry sources estimate Flowerbomb generates retail sales of about $30 million annually in the U.S. alone, the fragrance’s top market, which represents more than one third of the global total.
The creative process began with the name. “We had the word, Flowerbomb, and thought it should be an explosion of flowers,” said Snoeren. “It shouldn’t be one flower, and it shouldn’t be a timid scent. It should be big, explosive, sparkling. But it shouldn’t be just flowers — it should have an edge and it should be very recognizable.”