How This Luxury Brand Will Stay Relevant Over the Next Decade

The incredibly intricate and spectacular avant-garde designs of label Viktor & Rolf are on display in Australia for the first time at the National Gallery of Victoria. The designers behind the iconic fragrance Flowerbomb Eau de Toilette 50ml ($130), Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, worked closely with the gallery to launch the exhibition—keeping in line with their strict brand vision.

The designers are known for creating ‘wearable art’—everyone remembers the brands’ famous ‘NO’ coat, and exquisite cut-out dress that seemed to float on its model. The exhibition, Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists, features 40 of the Dutch design duo’s most show-stopping creations, alongside a video gallery of runway footage.

To celebrate the exhibition, we sat down with the designers to find out what inspires them, and their views on the future of fashion. Keep scrolling to find out, and peep a snapshot of the exhibition.



Who What Wear Australia: How was the organisation of getting all the clothes in from Europe to Melbourne?

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren: It was really fantastic to have everyone support us on that. We were surprised that we were able to do it in a relatively short time, we expected it to take longer.

WWW: What is your first memory of each other?

VH & RS: It was at the entrance exam for the fashion department of arts and there was a group of 40-50 people that had to do a group assignment. Out of those people they made a choice of 20, and we were in the same room doing our assignment. That's our first memory.

WWW: How are your roles different in the creative process?

VH & RS: There is not so much difference, we have one desk in one office and we basically share everything. We will finish each other’s drawings, and it’s basically an ongoing discussion from there. It sounds unorganised but it works for us. It's how it went from the start, so we don't analyse it too much because somehow it goes well.



WWW: Advice for upcoming young designers on staying relevant but being original in this age of celebrity and social media?

VH & RS: The answer is being original. You need time. In the first five years of our career we had no one—we were seeing our work and we were just working for ourselves. With social media, everything is just so immediate. It takes some time to find your own voice.

WWW: The next decade of fashion will be interesting because it’s changed so dramatically, everything is beginning to look and feel very similar. What does losing that love affair with design mean to you?

VH & RS: Our reaction to fashion changing is stopping on ready to wear and to focus on doing something unique. Skills are so important. It's an art but also a craft. It takes time to learn skills, you cannot just be a fashion designer, just like that.

WWW: What does couture mean to both of you?

VH & RS: For us it is a celebratory of ideas, a place where we can experiment and where everything is possible.



WWW: One fashion memory that sticks out to you?

VH & RS: Several come to mind... I think the opening of Melbourne will stay with me a long time. I was very impressed.

We have worked with a lot of museums but this museum is incredible. Super professional and at the same time very passionate. Not always the obvious combination.

 WWW: Where is an unlikely place you both find inspiration?

VH & RS: Inspiration can come at any moment and there's no recipe. In our case we always find it hard to make mood boards, because it's so about language in our case. We understand each other's language but in order to communicate with our team we need to visualise it to explain it to them. We like to work with as little visual reference as possible.



WWW: So instead you use words?

VH & RS: Or we sketch.

WWW: What do you love about Australia?

VH & RS: In Sydney we were overwhelmed with the Opera House, we were standing in front of it and it is very impressive. You know it from visuals but it suffers from the postcard syndrome. It is intimate and soft, it's really a masterpiece.

WWW: Do you have a memorable moment of a particular celebrity wearing Viktor & Rolf?

VH & RS: When Natalie Portman won the Golden Globes—that was great. It is great when you can dress somebody like that and that she wins, that's always fantastic.

Shop Viktor & Rolf online and then buy tickets to the exhibition in Melbourne.

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