EYE CANDY

Viktor & Rolf’s Wildest Wearable Art From the Past 25 Years Show Fashion at Its Most Performative

02_Viktor&Rolf_The_House_At_The_End_Of_The_World, 2005, chromogenic print © David LaChapelle Studio.jpg
© David LaChapelle. Collection Han Nefkens Foundation / promised gift to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

To cynical eyes it might look like Instagram bait these days, but the riotously avant-garde looks that the Dutch designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren consistently showcased under the name Viktor&Rolf were decades ahead of that notion. Indeed, it’s a testament their avant-garde leanings that while fashion rejected them at first, the art world has accepted them with open arms since they started out in 1993. And their new exhibition “Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years,” which is on display until September at the Kunsthal Rotterdam, is hardly from their first museum showing. Curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, the 60 or so works from their couture collections show exactly why Viktor & Rolf’s clothes are often referred to as “works” rather of “designs.” The pair have so embraced the concept of “wearable art” that they once transformed paintings into haute couture and then back again, even hanging up the garments models walked in and then stepped out of on a white wall right on the runway. And while stars like Tilda Swinton and Tori Amos have appeared in their shows in the past, it’s usually the designers or the works that they’ve dreamed up in their 17th-century headquarters in Amsterdam that are doing the performing. Remember the time when they tapped Maggie Rizer to walk their 1999 Russian Doll show and then completely obscured her in nine layers? Or when they put another model in an ultra-luxe portable bed? Take a look inside the exhibition and its catalogue to see those and more of the designers’ most out-there creations over the years, here.

1

The House at the End of the World, featuring Heather Marks photographed by David LaChapelle, 2005. Featuring Viktor&Rolf, Bedtime Story, ready-to-wear collection, AW 2005, and featured in the exhibition “Viktor &Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years,” up until September at the Kunsthal Rotterdam.

2

Viktor&Rolf, Performance of Sculptures, haute couture collection, SS 2016.

3

Viktor&Rolf, Action Dolls, haute couture collection, AW 2017.

4

Installation view of Viktor&Rolf, Wearable Art, haute couture collection, AW 15/16, featured in the exhibition “Viktor &Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years” at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2016.

5

Model Yumi Lambert, seen walking Viktor&Rolf, Van Gogh Girls, haute couture collection, SS 2015.

6

Viktor&Rolf, Hana, Bedtime Story collection, AW 2005.

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Installation view of Viktor&Rolf, Performance of Sculptures, haute couture collection, SS 2016, featured in the exhibition “Viktor &Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years,” up until September at the Kunsthal Rotterdam.

8

Viktor&Rolf with Tori Amos, Paris, 2005, photographed by Uli Weber for Vogue.

9

Installation view of Viktor&Rolf x Bob Wilson’s stage costumes ‘Der Freischütz’, presented at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, April 2009, featured in the exhibition “Viktor &Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years,” up until September at the Kunsthal Rotterdam.

10

Installation view of Viktor&Rolf, Action Dolls, haute couture collection, AW 2017, featured in the exhibition “Viktor &Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years,” up until September at the Kunsthal Rotterdam.