VIKTOR & ROLF

Double or Nothing

In light of Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists, a landmark exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, VAULT considers the output of Viktor and Rolf, the Dutch iconoclasts who’ve been schooling the fashion world in the joys of sartorial rigour and exaggerated proportions for the last 25 years.

By Inga Walton

After winning three awards at the annual Festival International des Arts de la Mode in Hyères, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren moved to Paris and founded their eponymous fashion house in 1993. From the outset, the Dutch duo signalled their intention to pursue a non-conformist aesthetic that opposed the mainstream. Truculent, subversive, and somewhat impractical, their emphatic designs generated a vigorous new dialogue within contemporary fashion. Outlandish flourishes, excessive volume, unusual fabrics, and a plethora of bows all became recognisable motifs within the expanding Viktor & Rolf vernacular. “A[nd] complexity, we hope. Exaggeration certainly is a hallmark of our style. It comes from a desire to be clear, to communicate a clear message. Also, we simply find a certain degree of exaggeration beautiful,” Snoeren explains.

The duo met at the entrance exam for the Arnhem Academy of Art and Design (ArtEZ), graduating 1992. The interpersonal dynamic between the pair seems to be both intuitive and remarkably harmonious: a 'seamless' collaboration, in fact. “This is something that just happens... from Day 1, we worked together in a very organic way, without really dividing too much who does what. It works for us and we try not to analyse it too much,” Snoeren asserts. “We don't bicker or argue. If we disagree it means we are not there yet and we need to work some more. We talk. If we disagree we talk some more,” Horsting concurs. “The fact that we don't fight, doesn't mean that we always agree! Everything we do is combined, but the basis is the fact that we're best ... Subscribe to read this article in full

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