aspirations, rendered in miniature form. included
were original couture outfits worn by dolls, a mini
design studio, a catwalk and a boutique made of
MDF and wire and a perfume bottle. The collection
was simultaneously a road map and a gauntlet
thrown. Just you wait, it whispered, just you see.
Twelve years later, it has all come to pass. Viktor
& rolf show twice yearly in Paris, own a string of
eponymous stores and have been the subject of
numerous museum exhibitions, including their recent
retrospective held at London’s Barbican art gallery.
The House of Viktor & Rolf is a souvenir from
the Barbican exhibit, offering a visual journey that
illuminates how the designers officially arrived.
included is every Viktor & rolf collection, from early
pieces such as the ragged, layered Hyères dresses to
their autumn/winter 2008-9 no collection, which
featured the words “no,” “Dream On,” and “Wow”
sheared, embroidered, and scrawled across the
garments and models’ faces.
Such theatrical qualities mark Viktor & rolf’s work,
which plays with proportion, silhouette and scale.
after all, these are the men who once sent their clothes
down the runway twice, once inflated with layers of
silk padding, and then, again, without.
Viktor & rolf’s trajectory has been unusual for
a commercial clothier: The duo was embraced by
museums before achieving marketplace success. and
this is why House is so important. Few of the label’s
pieces have been mass-manufactured, so much of the
designers’ output remains unknown. The book fills
in the blanks of Viktor & rolf’s evolution, providing
a crucial documentation of the duo’s oeuvre—and
what an oversized tale it has been n Julie Taraska,
The House of Viktor & Rolf, by Caroline Evans and
Susannah Frankel, edited by Jane Alison and Ariella
Tedgar, hardcover, Merrell, merrellpublishers.com