“With exquisite craftmanship and dreamy silhouettes, sometimes made from tinkling bells or red carpet, the fashion artists Viktor&Rolf – a real Dutch national treasure – have been creating wearable art for the past twenty-five years in the most unique and singular style”
- Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator of the exhibition
For the past 25 years the symbiotic collaboration between Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren has led to works of uncompromising beauty and extraordinary collections. It is impossible to trace the results of their collaboration back to individual contributions. In their own words: “ We often play with the idea of two people being one, or both of us being of one mind, and we play with our image to express that. ” The recent portrait of Viktor&Rolf, especially shot for the exhibition by the Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn, is equally revealing in a visual sense.
Radical conception of ‘wearable art’
The exhibition ‘Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years’ shows Viktor&Rolf’s radical conception of ‘wearable art’ and explores the elements that make their designs unique in the contemporary fashion world. Throughout their illustrious career, Viktor&Rolf have carved a contradictory identity that pushes the boundaries between art and fashion, often contrasting romance and rebellion, exuberance and control, classicism and conceptualism. Around sixty works from Viktor&Rolf’s haute couture collections give an insight into their unconventional and conceptual approach, also showing that they have never shied away from criticising the fashion industry (of which they are a part themselves). With regard to form and materials – the interplay of lines, volumes, bows, collars, ruffles etcetera – their creations are stunningly beautiful and technically perfect.
The Viktor&Rolf fashion shows are like powerfully eloquent ‘performances’. The 1999 Russian Doll show, for which Viktor&Rolf draped nine layers of clothing around a single woman, top model Maggie Rizer, meant their international breakthrough. Subsequently many other high-profile haute couture shows followed. Creations from collections such as ‘Bedtime Story’ (2005), ‘The Fashion Show’ (2007), ‘NO’ (2008), ‘Cutting Edge Couture’ (2010), ‘Red Carpet Dressing’ (2014), ‘Wearable Art’ (2015) and ‘Van Gogh Girls’ (2015) can be seen in the exhibition, as well as pieces that have never been shown before from their newest collections, ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ (2017), ‘Action Dolls’ (2017/18) and ‘Surreal Satin’ (2018).
The exhibition includes 25 handmade examples from the ‘Dolls’ series which consists of replicas of antique dolls dressed in some of the fashion artists’ most iconic designs. Each porcelain doll is dressed in an haute couture creation that was exactly scaled-down on the basis of the original patterns, a meticulous and extremely labour-intensive process. Even the fabrics have been woven to scale, and the miniature model’s hair and make-up are exact copies of the runway styles.
One of the special loans is the wedding gown that Viktor&Rolf designed in 2004 for Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Friso. It can be admired alongside its miniature ‘Doll’ version, a special loan from ING Art Management. Other remarkable works include the garment Viktor&Rolf designed for Madonna, to be worn during her 2016 benefit concert at Miami Art Basel, and the theatrical costumes for the Dutch National Ballet production of ‘Dutch Doubles’ (2014).
Nai010 publication 'Viktor7Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years'
The exhibition is accompanied by the anniversary publication 'Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years’, compiled by guest curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot and published by nai010 publishers. The book includes an exclusive recent interview by the curator with the designers, a fascinating glossary of Viktor&Rolf and a rich iconography with images by leading artists and photographers such as Cindy Sherman, Andreas Gursky, Herb Ritts, Anton Corbijn, Mert & Marcus, Annie Leibovitz, David LaChapelle, Tim Walker, Nick Knight and Inez & Vinoodh. [paperback |design Dirk Hiscock voor NGV Melbourne / cover design and update by Paprika, Montreal |17 x 24 cm | 212 p. |300 ills | ISBN 978-94-6208-438-4 |English |€ 39.95]
Next to the jubilee publication, a special, limited edition will be published with signed C-print of a sketch design by Viktor&Rolf. More info soon.
‘Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years’ is based on the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne exhibition, developed in collaboration with Viktor&Rolf and guest curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is dedicated partner of the exhibition, with thanks to the Han Nefkens Foundation.
ING Group N.V. is a globally operating financial institution of Dutch origin.
Van de Ende Foundation
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