Guys and Dolls: Viktor & Rolf Toy with their Legacy

Rolf Snoeren (left) and Viktor Horsting

Part of the genius of Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren is that the Dutch design duo continue to snub the conventions of the fashion machine, not simply with their inventively elegant clothes but also by way of their showcases. So it's nothing short of inspired that the pair decided not just to present a lot of banal mannequins and pretty pics at at the 15-year Viktor & Rolf retrospective opening this week at London's Barbican Art Gallery, but porcelain dolls dressed in meticulously made versions of their greatest hits.
There are life-size porcelain figures, too, dressed in the 55 looks on display. But it's the mini-me counterparts that are mindblowing, in a kind of freaky and fabulous way. There's a Viktor & Rolf shop, too, filled with touristy takeaway likes scarves and their Flowerbomb perfume, but it's the billed "curios" they've assembled that's piqued my interest. That they also went ahead with a gallery, instead of a museum, and one that has never before hosted a fashion-related exhibition, was also in line with their maverick path.
The guys have always maintained that fashion represents a "fairytale world made real." Welcome to the Dollhouse, indeed. So much lip service is paid to the art of fashion. But these two really think like artists.
I'm now rethinking our decision to skip London entirely on our way to Ireland at month's end.

Photo: Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm/Barbican ArtGallery

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