Viktor & Rolf to Summer in London

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They’ve sent bedding down the runway, done a brisk business in wedding dresses at H&M, and created a lone boutique in Milan that resembles a series of upside-down James Casebere photographs. They’re avant-garde fashion designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (better known as Viktor & Rolf), and they’re coming to London. The Dutch twosome is the subject of an exhibition opening June 18 at the Barbican Art Gallery.

“The House of Viktor & Rolf” will show the designers’ signature pieces from 1992 to the present in a specially-commissioned installation that dominates the entire gallery. Among the highlights will be the pair’s famous 1999 “Russian Doll” collection, in which model Maggie Rizer was dressed in a series of nine jewel-encrusted dresses until she was wearing 150 pounds of haute couture. “We intended this presentation as an ode to exclusivity and unavailability, the things that give fashion its aura,” wrote the designers. “Once occluded by the next layer, the previous layer remained present on stage, but impossible for the audience to see.”


Taking a cue from last fall’s shoppable Takashi Murakami exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Viktor & Rolf exhibition will transform the Barbican’s gallery store into The House of Viktor & Rolf Shop, where visitors can purchase “a range of Viktor & Rolf-designed accessories, clothes, and a special edition perfume” as well as “a wide spectrum of designer objects, accessories, books, and curiosities” selected by the designers.

Meanwhile, we’ve got our fingers crossed that the show gets its own Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes. You’ll recall that the irritable newsman was recently befuddled by the duo’s Flowerbomb fragrance, and the exhibition will likely include their first fragrance, “Le Parfum.” Launched in 1997, the limited-edition bottles were sealed with a wax cap that could not be removed. According to the designers, “The perfume can neither evaporate nor give off its scent, and will forever be a potential: pure promise.”