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Viktor & Rolf
Viktor & Rolf | Dutch designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren. The designers were spotted at a French talent contest in Hyres in 1993, a year after they had graduated from the Netherland's Arnhem Academy of Art in 1992. Horsting says that his only induction to fashion was a German television program called "Neues vo, Kleidermarkt" (news from the clothing market). Yet they decided from this blank fashion space to invent their own Viktor & Rolf aura, famously creating in 1997 a fragrance bottle, which did not open, as an ironic comment on fashion branding. That perfume is in the exhibition. And the show also recreates an art gallery installation from 1995 when gaudy, gilt outfits have Peter Pan shadows of real clothes, while a roster of supermodel names is chanted on a soundtrack to signify, in Horsting's words, that "fashion was focusing on everything around clothes - but not the clothes." That is often the impression from "Viktor & Rolf by Viktor & Rolf, first decade" (until Jan. 25): that the clothes are not always as intriguing as the message from the designers running on the video. There may be the extraordinary mille-feuille layers of sculpted collars, shown six months ago on an alabaster white clone of actress Tilda Swinton. But Viktor and Rolf are to fashion what conceptual and performance artists are on the contemporary scene. Their shows have featured balloons blown up and deflated inside garments; model Maggie Rizer wearing layers of different outfits like a Russian babushka; and bells tinkling from inside clothes. Those garments look more impressive in the display windows than when they emerged from a foggy darkness.
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