Article: Christopher George
The 25th anniversary of Viktor&Rolf couldn’t be better displayed than at the Kunsthal Museum, Rotterdam. The duo exhibited works spanning through extreme and unique career.
With Rotterdam barely an hour’s flight from the UK, it’s just as easy to pop over to the Netherlands as it can be travelling across London to see any exhibition. Personally, I find journeying to Rotterdam a far more enjoyable experience than battling the crowds and congestion of smoggy London. It has so much to offer with its wealth of chill time, architecture, arts and entertainment.
Recently, some of the biggest contemporary artists have opted to show their exhibition in the city of Rotterdam. Such as Jean Pail Gaultier in 2013, Peter Lindbergh in 2015, and most recently, the Viktor&Rolf Fashion Artists exhibition. Their 25 year retrospect at the Kunsthal Museum was curated by Canadian Thierry Maxime-Loriot.
Fortunately, 55 has managed to attend all the above exhibitions. One reason being, we love these contemporary artists and their unique vision of the fashion and art world. These artists often push the boundaries of acceptability and fashion itself. Also, we love Rotterdam and we will find any reason to spend a few days in this Utopian City. In fact, we even arm wrestle around the board table at 55factory to see who will bag the Rotterdam trips these days. And yes, I have been working my biceps out especially for the opening of the Viktor&Rolf Fashion Artists at the Kunsthal Museum. (It helps to be creative director).
75 spectacular items on display covered 25 years of the Viktor&Rolf fashion house. The Kunsthal Museum, with its ethos to make art accessible to the public, are exhibiting exclusive fashion to the public. Much like the Gaultier exhibition in 2013, (also curated by Thierry Maxime-Loriot), this new exhibition highlights Viktor&Rolf with huge video installations from the infamous duo’s legendary catwalk shows.
Viktor&Rolf are more than creators of pretty clothes. They are innovators of ideas through which they tell their stories. Each of their collections over the past 25 years are completely different to any other collection they have ever produced.
Working with obscure narratives, it remains clear who the designers are with their unique take on fashion, art and ideas.
The Viktor&Rolf collaboration began in a classroom at school in a small village, far, far away from the dizzy heights of hi-fashion and its exclusive culture. Both coming from simple working families, and equally solitary and reclusive characters, it is a huge contrast and achievement to be where they are 25 years later. Their unique story and stability in their relationship and creative friendship is inspiring to young, introverted designers globally.
In response to 55 asking the duo if the idea of working independently was something they would like to explore, and if working together for so long has had its issues... they replied:
“We have a great friendship and a hugely successful creative relationship for 25 years in fashion. We have our own individual private life of course, so its not like we are always together. But for us to have such a successful creative relations that has evolved from when we were children is unique, and we are both extremely fortunate to have this. At school we would dream of working together, and it is something we have done now for many years”
For Viktor&Rolf, art always has and will continue to be before fashion. Before entertaining and entering the fashion industry with their first show in 1993, the first 5 years in their initial collaboration completely revolved around experimental art and installation. Creating conceptual and avant-garde fashion shows, the pair changed the path of contemporary fashion forever.
Using their personal emotions and the opposition of fashion to be their creative inspiration. Language has also always been vastly important to Viktor&Rolf as their starting point. The visualisation of an idea only comes once the duo have eliminated items over long discussions. Neither being argumentative; it is a matter of finally agreeing over time with level-headedness rather than agitation.
After gaining everlasting fame at the beginning of the Viktor&Rolf fashion house journey, their name 'Viktor&Rolf' only became the brand due to the pair not actually having a brand name. On receiving prestigious awards in a short period of time as emerging designers, they were introduced as Viktor&Rolf and the rest is history.
With a wealth of over 25 years producing elaborate style and exotic design, they are known as much for their art as they are for their fashion. Often going against the grain of the norm and causing the best kind of friction within the fashion industry.
This has been a lifetime together, continually growing as a creative partnership.
For the luxury experience of the exhibition and an overnight stay in Rotterdam visit ‘The Viktor&Rolf VIP arrangement’ at the 5 star hotel Mainport. This offer includes an overnight stay in a City XL room, entrance to the Kunsthal ‘Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years’, a signed catalogue of Viktor&Rolf, a poster, champagne breakfast buffet, access to the spa, swimming pool and fitness centre and free WiFi throughout the hotel.
The offer is 144.50eu per night until the 30th September.
Book via Mainport hotel here