Designers Viktor (right) and Rolf during a secret visit to the NGV last month. Picture Jay Town.
AVANT-GARDE fashion designers Viktor & Rolf are bringing their iconic and unorthodox creations to the National Gallery of Victoria in a world-first exhibition as part of its spring summer program announced this morning.
The Dutch duo, famous for their provocative and rebellious approach to design, technical virtuosity, and deep knowledge of fashion history, visited Melbourne in March to get a feel for the city and the NGV space ahead of the exhibition opening on October 21.
Featuring iconic designs from their archives and international museum collections, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren will also create new pieces for the Melbourne show, which will include an interactive children’s exhibition as well as an instillation in the NGV’s Federation Court entrance area.
“It’s great to be here and be invited to create a show of our work,” Snoeren said.
“It is a bit early to talk about it, we are developing it, but it will be showcasing the pieces that are the most sculptural. We like to look at them as more wearable art.
“We are working on a special instillation especially for the NGV and the design will be informed by the spaces we have for the exhibition.”
The exhibition ‘Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists’ will feature some of their most show-stopping and innovative works, including more than 35 haute couture pieces from the designers’ collections, presented alongside earlier designs from their archive and international museum collections. Also on display will be a selection of their work-in progress “Dolls”: replicas of antique dolls dressed in the designers’ most iconic looks.
The Autumn/Winter 2015 “Wearable Art” collection will also be on show, inspired by paintings in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, which saw models literally dressed in paintings taken off the wall.
Curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot, who also brought the successful The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition to the NGV two years ago, says Viktor & Rolf are not simply fashion designers but true artists.
”They express themselves through art and their art is using clothes,” he said.
“It’s quite incredible how they can work with materials that are not meant to be. Frames and canvas or flowers or bells. They did a whole collection out of red carpet that was beautiful and sophisticated well-cut dresses. I don’t know any other fashion designers like that, they stand alone.”
A Victor & Rolf design to be included in the exhibition.
NGV director Tony Ellwood said Viktor & Rolf stretches the definition of both fashion and art.
“Their boundary-pushing designs challenge the way fashion is developed, presented and disseminated with masterful craftsmanship, intellectual rigour and an ironic sense of humour,” he said.
“This exhibition will be a rare opportunity to experience the unconventional creativity and technical brilliance of this innovative Dutch duo.”
Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists opens at NGV International, on St Kilda Rd, on October 21 and runs until February 26.