Dutch Designers Viktor & Rolf Translate Runway Looks into New Art with Exhibit

By Rose, Lauren La | The Canadian Press, April 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

Dutch Designers Viktor & Rolf Translate Runway Looks into New Art with Exhibit


Rose, Lauren La, The Canadian Press


Viktor & Rolf exhibit fuses style, visual art

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TORONTO - As if conceiving of and crafting their creations wasn't enough of an undertaking for Viktor & Rolf, the inventive label has channelled its avant-garde designs into a new form of artistic expression.

What started as work for a fashion retrospective for a London gallery has become a self-described labour of love for Dutch designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, the collaborators behind the famed fashion house.

For years, the bespectacled duo has been meticulously replicating iconic looks from each season of collections for placement on antique Victorian dolls roughly 70 centimetres tall that are styled to resemble models from their respective shows, right down to the hair and makeup.

"What we wanted to emphasize with the work that we make (is) even though they're separate collections and every season is something new, at the same time to us, our work is also one whole," Snoeren said in a recent interview alongside Horsting at the Bay's flagship downtown Toronto location, where their line is carried.

Canadians will get a firsthand glimpse as "Dolls by Viktor & Rolf" makes its North American premiere at the Royal Ontario Museum beginning June 9.

The exhibit is set to feature a cross-section of at least 30 porcelain dolls in signature looks mined from the pair's extensive catalogue.

Past memorable runway looks translated into doll-sized form include a shirt stuffed with helium balloons designed to mimic a mushroom cloud. Another presentation which saw models carry their own sound and lighting equipment while teetering on clogs is also reinterpreted.

Horsting said it's much more work for them to create the doll dresses than life-sized designs. But they embrace the effort as a unique way to add longevity to their creations.

"What appeals especially to us about these porcelain dolls is that fashion is so disposable nowadays. It goes so fast. And it feels like we are freezing time by making all of these dolls."

"(It's) emphasizing the fact that an idea or a garment, if it's beautiful, it doesn't go away. It lasts," added Snoeren.

The "Dolls by Viktor & Rolf" exhibit will be unveiled at Luminato's inaugural Big Bang Bash. The design duo have a close relationship with the Toronto festival's artistic director, Jorn Weisbrodt, and his husband, singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, creating custom suits for the couple's wedding last year, which they also attended. …

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