Viktor & Rolf Introduction:
Is it fashion? Is it art? Is it wearable art? This is a dilemma nearly everyone faces when viewing the Dutch designer duo Viktor Horsting & Rolf Snoeren’s work. Viktor & Rolf are avant garde, provocative and rebellious. Yet their creative genius and technical virtuosity is overpowering.
Paisley Deidaa Viktor & Rolf:
Viktor & Rolf Fashion Artists exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria features 35 garments from the designers’ various collections. An entire collection, originally presented by a single model, is inspired by the Russian Babushka dolls. It begins with a hessian dress and culminates in an elaborate floral cape. What catches my eye is a double layered coat dress dotted with intricately embroidered paisley motifs. It is amazing how the paisley motif continues to inspire designers and craftsmen, be it Viktor & Rolf or be it Deidaa. This humble tear drop shape originated in Persia, traveled to South Asia and found immense popularity in the royal courts of Europe in the 19th century. The paisley is a fashion classic and regularly re-emerges on the fashion runways.
Viktor & Rolf Collections:
The Viktor & Rolf Fashion Artists exhibition features garments from the duo’s Cutting Edge Couture, Red Carpet Dressing and Wearable Art shows. The Cutting Edge Couture collection combined masculine structures with feminine details like pleating. Jackets were volumious and ball gowns sculptural with parts missing. Faced with economic downturn, Viktor & Rolf perfected the art of destruction – cutting corners and slashing budgets.
The Red Carpet Dressing collection was a sarcastic comment on the practice of stars getting paid to wear designers’ dresses at red carpet events. The coat dresses, capes and strapless dresses were fashioned out of heavy duty nylon carpets.
The Wearable Art collection featured garments that were fashioned out of fabric from broken picture frames on the runway at the Paris’ Haute Couture Autumn Winter 2015 fashion week. This collection completely blurred the line between fashion and art work.
The exhibition features the series of dolls commissioned by the duo on the occasion of their solo exhibiton at the Barbican Art Gallery in London. The dolls were dressed in replicas of their original work.
The wallpaper that adorns the walls of the exhibition hall is a digital collation of Viktor & Rolf’s working sketches.This wallpaper has been specially created for the exhibition and is available for purchase. Open till late February 2017, this exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to view the surreal and cerebral work of Viktor & Rolf.