When looking for things to do before my recent trip to Melbourne I stumbled upon the Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Being a lover and enthusiast of their spectacular avant-garde approach to fashion, I simply had to go to see the showcase of the innovative garments by the Dutch duo in the flesh.
Walking into the exhibit, I approached a series of spinning mannequins displaying a series of looks created for their haute couture Russian Doll collection of 1999; which was appropriately named as the feature of these looks was the development from little clothing to being engulfed by the likes of the cocoon-esque coat displayed last.
Throughout the rest of the exhibition was a display of the remaining 40 or so looks paired with matching looks on hand crafted dolls, visual presentations of past shows and a more interactive and playful display of a doll fashion show. When entering the show, that was played in 15 minute intervals, the atmosphere was set with lights and music, the doll then walked down the runway wearing an outfit from one of Viktor & Rolf's recent collections.
Viktor & Rolf's designs showed an obvious development through their avant-garde design style, exploring elements of darkness and mystery in an gray trench embellished with a 3D NO across the chest and a series of black oversized coat dresses, then a more playful side in garments such as the colourful crystal embellished mini dress and the infamous peach tulle gown with cut out holes from their Cutting Edge Couture collection of 2010. Some of the designs also aired on the humourous side like the quilted, almost robe type dress with cushions emerging from the back of the neck or the white cartoonish three person tall dress, providing an insight into the designers' conceptions of the world of avant-garde fashion.
“Viktor & Rolf stretch the definition of both fashion and art,” said National Gallery of Victoria's director Tony Ellwood. “Their boundary-pushing designs challenge the way fashion is developed, presented and disseminated with masterful craftsmanship, intellectual rigour and an ironic sense of humour.”
From dresses made from frames that literally explored the concept of 'wearable art', to looks that engulfed the model in tulle or that were hung by light fixtures, every look was a successful interpretation of the presence of art in high fashion.
The Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artist exhibition gave an intimate look at these amazing creations, showing how far the boundaries between art and fashion can be pushed, in an extremely creative atmosphere, which surely left everyone who saw it feeling amazed and inspired.
Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists will be on at the National Gallery of Victoria until Febuary 26.