Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists at the NGV from October 2016

The National Gallery of Victoria has had some amazing fashion exhibitions over the years (Jean Paul Gaultier anyone?) and they will not be disappointing fashion lovers this year with the announcement that they will be showcasing a world-first exhibition entitled, Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists. Set to open October 21, 2016, the collection will look at Viktor&Rolf’s notion of wearable art.

As self-confessed outsiders of the fashion world, since forming their artistic partnership in 1992, fashion artists Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have gained critical acclaim for their rebellious approach to design, technical virtuosity, and deep knowledge of fashion history. Throughout their illustrious twenty-year career, Viktor&Rolf have carved a contradictory identity that pushes the boundaries between art and fashion, often contrasting romance and violence, exuberance and control, classicism and rebellion.

The duo have become renowned for their experimental runway shows, including their 1999 ‘Russian Doll’ runway show in which model Maggie Rizer was progressively dressed by the designers in nine different layers and 2003’s ‘One Woman Show’ fashion collection inspired by actress and muse Tilda Swinton, in which the actress herself appeared amidst a runway of models made up in her likeness.

The design pair will also be visiting Australia to take part in, Viktor&Rolf: In Conversation, to talk not only about their avant guard designs but their practice and work within the NGV exhibition Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists.

The exhibition is set to include over 35 haute couture pieces from the designers’ collections, presented alongside earlier designs from the Viktor&Rolf 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.

“We are extremely excited to be working in collaboration with the National Gallery of Victoria on this exhibition and highlighting the craftsmanship involved in creating our wearable art,” said Horsting and Snoren in a joint statement. “It is an honor for us to bring our designs to the Southern Hemisphere.’

“Viktor&Rolf stretches the definition of both fashion and art,” said Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV. “Their boundary-pushing designs challenge the way fashion is developed, presented and disseminated with masterful craftsmanship, intellectual rigour and an ironic sense of humour. This exhibition will be a rare opportunity to experience the unconventional creativity and technical brilliance of this innovative Dutch duo.”

“With exquisite craftmanship and dreamy silhouettes, sometimes made from tinkling bells or red carpet, the Dutch fashion artists Viktor&Rolf have been creating wearable art for the past twenty years in a unique, singular style,” said Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Curator, Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists (who also curated The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at the NGV last year).

Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists will be at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia from 21 October 2016 – 26 February 2017.