If you are in Melbourne and have a spare afternoon, do yourself a favour and pop into the National Gallery of Victoria and see the incredible VIKTOR AND ROLF exhibition. I checked it out a few weeks ago and was amazed at the ingenuity of these two Dutch Designers.
For the first time in Australia you can expect to see over 40 pieces from their spectacular collections over their span of 25 years in the fashion world. Their most sculptural and extreme pieces are all out on display from their most iconic and innovative collections such as the amusing 'Wearable Art' collection and the 'Red Carpet Dress' to their sensational 'Flower Bomb' collection.
They are known for their witty approach to couture and with most on display you will also see some runway footage of their past collections, exhibiting the complexities of their runway shows which are closer to an art performance rather than a fashion display.
This exhibition celebrates their 25th Anniversary in the world of fashion. It explores and highlights how they have pushed the boundaries of fashion, their journey to being renowned 'fashion artists' whilst incorporating the elements of the world and news around us in every collection.
A little background history of Viktor and Rolf....
Viktor and Rolf is a Dutch luxury fashion house. Founded in 1993 by designers and Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren. Viktor and Rolf met while studying fashion at the Arnhem Academy of Art and Design in The Netherlands. They began working together upon graduation. In 1993 they won a talent contest at the Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in Hyères, and moved to Paris in the same year. With their strong friendship and similar visions, Viktor & Rolf started making ready-to-wear clothes in the year 2000 and surprising the fashion world season after season with their avant-garde collections and sculptural ideas in their reign as fashion artists.
Did you know in their 2014 haute couture spring show they used ballet dancers from the Dutch National Ballet Company to model and launch their perfume Bonbon?
In 1998, Viktor & Rolf put on an unauthorized fashion show during Paris Fashion Week to attract members of the press. In a show called "Russian Doll" they got model Maggie Rizer to walk out on to a turntable on stage where a pair of shoes was waiting for her. She revolved like a ballerina in a music box and the two designers proceeded to dress her in the eight layers of couture dresses, piled on top of one another. By the end she was enveloped in more than 70 kilograms of couture. As a finale, she was worshipped as a goddess with the two designers placing a 6 metre garland of flowers at her feet. It became one of the most irreverent and original haute couture shows ever presented in Paris. Here displayed at the NGV exhibition we get to see the eight layers of couture from the Russian Doll show.
I just loved their spring/summer 2010 collection depicting the economic credit crunch.
"With the credit crunch and everybody cutting back, we decided to cut tulle ball gowns," Snoeren said. And these were not empty words, they actually used chain saws to cut back into the tulle ball gowns creating tunnelled holes front to back, chopping the edges away and slicing a good six inches between the body of the skirt that seemed to defy gravity just to highlight tough times in the industry.
Viktor and Rolf continues to push the boundaries between fashion and art. Challenging the idea; it is only fashion if it can be worn and art if it should be hung on a wall, their 2015 fall haute couture collection expresses that it could be both. This collection called 'Wearable Art' displays the integration of hinged frames on coats and dresses which can be worn and also transformed into hung artworks. Crazy yet remarkable.
One of my favorite ideologies behind Viktor and Rolf's extensive collection is their 2014 Fall couture 'Red Carpet'. This collection was made entirely out of... well, red carpet!
The message behind this collection of wearing red carpet on the red carpet was that both Dutch designers wanted to take the opportunity to comment on the modern obsession with celebrities and how it took a toll on its theatrics edge. The obsession with Hollywood galore and celebrity infatuation was made into a “meditation on a cultural phenomenon,” according to Rolf Snoeren, their idea of what the red carpet should appear to be.
The message was as bold as the catwalk itself tainted in all that mocking rouge, a reflection of the overpowering craze for the Hollywood fame that has overrated the Red Carpet into todays society. The result however is a visually beautiful ridicule, draped and inspired by some humour and wit from their take on the red carpet obsession.
Here are a gallery of some of my other favorite pieces from this exhibition....
This is such a wonderful exhibition for anyone fascinated in fashion and art. The Viktor & Rolf exhibition at the NGV goes till the 26th of February 2017, make an afternoon of it and experience for yourselves how this Dutch duo has marked their own stamp into the fashion world over the last 25 years!
All photos taken by me, apart from the exception of no.2 - found online and no. 1/11/ 21 - courtesy of my lovely friend Brodie James.